In an alternative world similar to our own, in the fictional city of Lincoln, up to 4% of the population are born with unique powers. Marginalized from the citizens and feared, these superpowered beings are constantly under watch and harassment by the Lincoln City Police Force and their army of robotic drones. Connor Reed (Robbie Amell), a 26-year-old with electric powers, is doing everything he can to earn an honest living so he can care for his ill mother, Mary Reed (Kari Matchett). However, with his career options growing slimmer, and his mother’s illness growing worse by the day, Connor finds himself seeking employment from a ‘different’ crowd as he catches the eye of Garrett (Stephen Amell), a telekinetic who runs a crew of superpowered beings who commit crimes.
“Code 8” is an interesting story that seems to borrow elements from stories like “District 9,” “X-Men,” and even a bit from the classic George Orwell story “1984.” In any other story, whenever a person creates a world with people who have powers, it’s usually the standard ‘use powers for heroics or villainy’ shtick. “Code 8,” however, takes the concept in an interesting and quite possibly more realistic direction.
Yes, the idea of having a world with superpowers sounds cool and all, but we need to face the hard truth. Humanity is a superstitious and mistrusting species, and if we had people with special powers walking around, of course there would be classism, persecution, and bigotry.
Not only that, but powers or no powers, they still need to pay the bills. Sure, you can argue having a person who can make flames with their hands would be good around a construction site, but would you be comfortable having them in your house? Around your personal possessions? Near your family? Probably not.
It’s a fascinating concept that “Code 8” introduces right from the beginning. It’s a form world–building that’s done right—it’s quick and to the point. You introduce the world, throw the audience into it, then give them a main character(s) to follow as we see them interact in the world created.
In fact, another factor I have to comment on is the law enforcement in “Code 8.” Usually, in stories about superpowered figures, the cops are depicted as weaker or helpless against such powerful individuals. That’s not the case, however. Because even with powers, they still can’t survive bullets, and with the law enforcers high-tech drones constantly watching them, it’s the cops that are depicted as the bigger threat. Keep in mind, the film is not trying to paint law enforcement as the bad guys. In fact, we see both sides of how the law views superpowered people. Some mistrust them, some sympathize with them, but at the end of the day they will enforce the law, and they have the technology to do so. Which brings me to my next compliment about the film: the special effects.
For a film that was probably an independent production, the effects in “Code 8” are downright impressive. It’s not flashy or explosive like how a Marvel Movie shows characters with powers, but that’s what I like about it. We see just enough, and when the film has to show a character’s abilities, it’s handled well. However, my favorite part of the movie was the robots. The drones used in this movie blur the line between science fiction and realism. Their design and function is interesting, plus they come off as a creditable threat in the movie. Sure, they’re not invincible, but they’re still a deadly and efficient form of law enforcement in the world of “Code 8,” and something I could envision future law enforcement one day using.
If there’s something I must critique about the movie is that the story, while decent, could have used a bit of punch up here and there. That, and the ending is… a bit underwhelming. It’s not terrible, it just feels some details were missing to completely wrap things up. Then again, this was an independent production, so I can be more lenient on its faults.
“Code 8” is Not Rated. For the first time, I’m covering a film that possesses no rating because the movie was never submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for one. However, with its content of mild nudity, moderate violence and gore, drug use, and severe profanity, the film should be considered somewhere around an R rating. Despite that, the special effects and world–building alone make this film something worth viewing. Plus, it’s a rather short movie—clocking in at around 1 hour and 38 minutes. Not only that, but there are rumors that there might be a spin-off TV Series on the horizon for “Code 8.” If they can maintain the same level of visual effects as the movie, then with a more broadened storyline there’s a great deal of potential here. Which is why the final score for “Code 8” is a 7.5 out of 10.
Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author.