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Review: There’s nothing radical in the leaden sci-fi noir ‘Virtual Revolution’

Mike Dopud in the movie "Virtual Revolution."
(Gravitas Ventures)

The indie sci-fi noir “Virtual Revolution” posits a time not too far into the future when most of the population, homebound and tethered to virtual online worlds of fantasy swordplay and monster vanquishing, have abandoned reality altogether.

That’s just how omnipresent game corporation Synternis likes it, except when rebel terrorists kill players as a political protest, which is where cynical private investigator Nash (Mike Dopud) comes in. The rebels want to force reality on the citizenry.

Reality, though, in writer/producer/director Guy-Roger Duvert’s stodgy mix of cyberpunk and detective yarn, is a yawning mix of “Blade Runner”-cribbed visuals (rain, neon, grime, steel) and characters who talk in long, expository thematic monologues while standing or sitting perfectly still. (Better to appreciate the low-budget movie’s admirably high-yield digital effects work and moody cinematography, one supposes.)

If Ridley Scott is one obvious influence, “The Matrix” is the other, with Duvert tweaking that film’s consciousness peril so that the public’s enslavement to “connected” existence is chosen, not enforced. That idea is never satisfactorily explored, however, beyond its use to the plot. Cinematic life, on the other hand, is in short supply in this ambitious but leaden cautionary tale, which tries to pep things up with energetic fight scenes in the avatar worlds, but can’t escape the wooden acting and zipless storytelling.

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‘Virtual Revolution’

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Unrated

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Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood

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