Movie review: Guns Akimbo
You have to admire Daniel Radcliffe. He has emerged from the cauldron of childhood mega-fame unscathed and uses his Harry Potter dosh to take only a variety of odd roles that interest him.
Arguably roles that an actor in need of the cash would take.
But for every Swiss Army Man, there is a Guns Akimbo.
Radcliffe is fine in this - the best thing in the film.
Do not go in expecting too much. This will play perfectly well when it hits streaming. It will probably go well with a few beers too. But as a sober experience?
It would be a lot more fun if it did not feel so out of time.
Director Jason Lei Howden has created visual effects for big name films such as The Hobbit, The Avengers and War For The Planet Of The Apes - cutting-edge stuff.
So why does this action comedy feel so dated?
Outside of the phones and drones, the technology appears very 2000. The 90s film Hackers is a more credible take on online culture and they get online using payphone dial tones.
It all looks so borrowed.
The idea of ordinary people pitted in a murder game that is broadcast far and wide? We have seen that in Death Race 2000 (1975), Battle Royale (2000) and Series 7: The Contenders (2001).
The guns bolted to hands is a nod to the torture porn of the 00s.
A stylised, maniacal chase filled with edgy characters with scant regard for society? Say hello to Crank (2006).
And this needed the octane blast of Crank.
Instead, it never quite gets into gear - neither camp enough nor nasty enough.
Probably because it does not get its subject. It all feels like it is created from second-hand knowledge.
The bad guys look like they are acolytes of 00s bete noire Marilyn Manson.
The online hecklers are closer to traditional sports commentators than the Twitch crowd.
It does not help that for a global phenomenon, we only see three to four of the same spectators watching Skizm.
The on-screen graphics, scoreboards and comment sections lack the detail and style cult films thrive on.
If Guns Akimbo is meant to be a satire of gamer culture and cesspit comments sections, Black Mirror has done it more often and to much greater effect. - 2/5 Ticks
FILM: Guns Akimbo
STARRING: Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Ned Dennehy, Rhys Darby, Natasha Liu Bordizzo
WRITER-DIRECTOR: Jason Lei Howden
THE SKINNY: A comments section spat pulls timid game developer Miles (Radcliffe) into real-life murder game Skizm. He is kidnapped, has guns bolted to his hands and is pitted against reigning champion Nix (Weaving). Can he unleash his gladiatorial side in time?