In a futuristic world, Michelle lives everyday battling with DNA Hackers who use their skills to hack into people’s bodies and kill them. She is an assassin, battling her past demons and trying to keep her younger and extroverted brother, Jackie, out of trouble. When Jackie gets involved in a petty crime of robbery, he propels himself into the world of DNA Hackers, Shylocks (Loan Sharks) and Gang Fights. Wanting the respect that the world has never given to him only makes it harder for Jackie to peel himself away from the underground trades, against the hopes of his sister, Michelle. Michelle always wanted to leave the city and lead a calm and quiet lifestyle. As emotions and gunfire get into the way, Michelle and Jackie soon find themselves battling between their lives and finding out that in an immoral world, love can still survive. Blood is thicker than water.
Bai ling stars in this new sci-fi/horror/action/thriller titled: “The Gene Generation”. Instantly from the get-go we find ourselves deep into familiarities and new territories all at the same time. With obvious influences ranging from “Blade Runner”, Lovecraft, “Matrix” and ..well even the mostly forgotten Van Damme feature “Cyborg”, The Gene Generation is immediately intriguing. The DVD front cover states the film that inspired the DNA Hacker Chronicles comic book series. I’ve never read the series, but can see how the idea could blossom into a world of off-shoots and underground scifi city missions. Director Pearry Reinald Teo pulled it off. The concept was strong and the rest followed.
Our setting resides in a futuristic time of urban decay and high tech gadgetry. Not too unlike the Richard Stanley masterpiece “Hardware”. The difference here are accomplished by several CGI city shots that are firmly influenced by the Blade Runner meets Giger school of thought.
In fact, the organic building structures lavish in reptilian anatomy meets fortress setting is a tribute to Giger himself whether realized or not. The CGI is apparent of course, though I felt that fans would overlook the negative aspect of that statement and welcome it with acceptance in helping sell the idea of the film. While we are on it, CGI is a major player in this film! I thought it was effectively executed and professional to really add the flair the film needed. Without it, it would have been hard to make the keep points of the film work. The FX work effects is helmed by Worldwide FX, that breaks down into a huge list of individuals involved. I’ve seen FX done badly and this team surely knows what they are doing. The FX focus was on a huge number of tentacle CGI shots that are present through out the entire film . In fact so much that they could by easily considered a pseudo actor on screen . Highly mpressive as they snake around, slither , and invade with the ease of a alien octopus.
Now getting on with the story. Our films stars Bai Ling who plays the assassin for hire Michelle, and her loser on screen brother Jackie played by Parry Shen. DNA is at a level where with the proper equipment it can be controlled to the point of reversing ailments, diseases and other human defects. The problem is, that its unpredictable at times changing the genetic code of the user. Josephine Hayden, a cameo or 2 by Faye Dunaway discovered the hard way. She was transformed into a living mass of tentacles and left over body parts. Alec Newman the scientist in charge lives now in obscurity trying to perfect the damn device after his company went under due to a few mishaps.
Bai Ling the stand out actor in this film moves with the grace of Milla from Resident evil as she kicks ass, flips around and takes out bad guys and DNA hackers without breaking a sweat. Though even with the tall cash she makes from assassin jobs, she lives in squalor as her brother can’t seem to keep from spending her money on bad bets and other underground activities. In the background we have the loan sharks, gangs and seekers of the transcoder (the device used to alter DNA) who fill in the action sequences of the film. The “DNA hackers” as they are called, stand for those who steal DNA and kill others by hacking into there genetics.
So with all this going on we follow along as the sister and brother try and cope with issues, Michelle falls in love, bad guys get badder, a few skulls get crushed, and the scientists plot and the make a mess of things. The drawback for me was slowdown that came out of the emotional struggles going on in the film. Though luckily it would pop back in place with some pretty ass kicking ninja moves per way of Bai. Other mentions go out to the appropriate Combichrist music that plays throughout the film against the background score.
In short, the film had a pretty industrial vibe through out that worked for me.
It’s not Blade runner, but it is pretty inventive and has alot going for it. A nice release from the Lions gate label.