Code 8 Part II

Code 8 Part II
Code 8 Part II
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Released in the spring of 2020, Jeff Chan’s science fiction film “Code 8” is an anti-police action movie that went largely unnoticed despite its topical themes. A Netflix-backed sequel has brought the franchise back to life after a reboot series died when Quibi fell apart. “Code 8: Part II” uses high concept sci-fi like its predecessor to analyze violent tendencies within the militarized police world order, especially in relation with respect for privacy.

Robbie Amell stars as Connor, a small-time criminal who recently got out of jail five years after the first movie ended. Garrett played by Stephen Amell, was Connor’s partner in crime when they tried to save their dying mother together and failed. Both are Powers – one of only four percent of Lincoln City population with superpowers (as per the film). These are basically second class citizens who live in poverty and are heavy policed.

The first film saw oppressed powered individuals either suppress their abilities or resort to a life of crime just for survival. These powers have also been used to create a drug called Psyke from them whereby it is obtained from their spinal fluid. This leads to trafficking and deals with bent cops.

In this story, Connor crossed paths with Officer Park (Sung Kang), an upright cop whose eyes were opened to what he considered as endemic corruption within his own police system. “Part II” goes further into this graft by bringing new character Sergeant “King” Kingston (Alex Mallari Jr.), who has spearheaded establishment of robotic K9 program instead of more lethal robotic “Guardians” which killed powereds indiscriminately from previous movie because they were becoming more violent over time. He also has involvement in Psyke business too.

King attempts community outreach by holding a block party at which one unit named Piper is made acquainted with K9 robot cops. However, it is evident that these dogs can be commanded by human officers to kill when one kills one of Garrett’s runners, Tarak (Sammy Azero). His fourteen-year-old sister Pavani (Sirena Gulamgaus) does so too. Pavi wears a transducer that disrupts and shuts down the K9 unit, which also transmits its incriminating footage proving that the police lied about using non-violent means in maintaining order within Lincoln City.

King wants her killed and Connor must join forces with Garrett to protect her. There are more twists and turns as Garrett continues his double game between his drug operation, community support, and keeping off the police. Officer Park does not appear in this film, but Davis appears as his partner (Aaron Abrams). In this case, he is grossly miscast and putting him on the side of Connor et al., doesn’t help clarify any stance on law enforcement taken by filmmakers. Is it just one bad cop or a corrupt system? This question is still unanswered as the movie rushes towards its climax.

The problem partly lies in the fact that the plot is not as concise as it was in the prior movie with only Chris Paré being its writer. In this case, he gets credited alongside Chan, Sherren Lee and Jesse LaVercombe, who may actually make too many cooks spoil a good broth. Nevertheless, Chan’s visual world-building continues to shine. Whole film has big, old Rust Belt feeling from Conor working as a janitor at run-down community center to meeting Garett at a greasy spoon diner. Here everything is gray and cold and bleak.

Despite all of this there are still some cheesy action scenes which are also fun had both Amells having gone all in for them moving things using their minds or summoning lightning seriously. One standout sequence has Tamera (Jessica Allen), who can erase memories through supernatural means. A new character called Mina (Jean Yoon) who can repel bullets is also introduced here.

Unfortunately “Part II” never takes time to let us connect with these characters like we did with the original film where they were given space between his mother and Connor’s heist plot line. There is nothing here except one conversation after another that helps either drive plot forward or explain what must be going on next . The two brothers do their best but since their characters lack enough time to evolve further beyond that point of mere surface depthness they fall short. A sudden shift at the end which focuses on King comes out of nowhere leaving an extra critique about assimilation rather than community that I would have preferred had been put across more systematically before.

However noble “Code 8: Part II” might be trying to take on a militarized police state—and copaganda films themselves—it relies on one idea for its very last scene: revealing damning footage of corruption and state sanctioned violence will lead to those officers being punished and systemic changes taking place within it. If nothing else has become clear during the past four years, it is that neither of these things are going to happen. I do not know if this says more about the world or films itself, but it is striking how unrealistic it is to see such a city defunding its police and channeling the money towards a community center instead. Or maybe that’s just the kind of hopeful speculative fiction we need right now.

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