MOVIE REVIEW: Guy Pearce as a gruff cop in “ZONE 414”

Last Updated: September 4, 2021By Tags: ,

Directed by Andrew Baird

Starring Guy Pearce, Travis Fimmel and Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz

In 2012, Guy Pearce started in the sci-fi film “Lockout,” The actor played a man who was going to prison but is offered his freedom if he rescued POTUS’s daughter who had been kidnapped by inmates of a prison. (Sound familiar?)

Director John Carpenter thought so and successfully sued the screenwriter (filmmaker Luc Besson) for plagiarism. The court found the film to be more than too close to Carpenter’s “Escape From New York” and sided with him.

Not that “Lockout” was any good but film’s reputation was forever tarnished.

Now Guy Pearce returns to the land of the wannabes in a film that is a manifest rip-off of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (and a little “Westworld” as well).

“Zone 414” is the new sci-fi/action film hitting cinemas and On Demand that is almost nothing more than a checklist of “Blade Runner” plot points.

Pearce is a gruff retired policeman (sound familiar?) who is hired to locate the daughter of a corporate billionaire who creates androids (ditto?)

The issue is that the mogul’s daughter went missing inside Zone 414, a community populated by androids who blend in with human beings.

Police presence inside the zone could upset its good reputation for being a peaceful place to exist. This is, of course, a façade. Pearce must find the girl and bring her back, as quietly as possible.

Bryan Edward Hill’s screenplay sets a noir tone that more than just echoes Hampton Fancher and David Webb People’s “Blade Runner” script. It is frustrating to find the screenwriter going scene by scene with nothing but homages that snowball into an ersatz of the Ridley Scott’s classic. Hill’s work here has no trace of a unique voice.

Music video director Andrew Baird tries to make up for the supreme lack of originality by working with his production designer Phillip Murphy on the film’s look.

The sets are bathed in dark neon lights and shadows, thanks to the work of cinematographer James Mather. Does it all look too much like the sets from both “Blade Runner” films? Pretty much (especially the “Blade Runner” sequel), but it looks good and is the only positive aspect of the entire film.

Guy Pearce seems completely checked out in the lead role. Usually a solid actor, Pearce plays it stoic and determined but the performance lacks depth or charisma. It ends up being completely dull.

Travis Fimmel doesn’t do any better as the villain who is crafted as a more psychotic Dr. Eldon Tyrell from “Blade Runner.” The actor is all creepy eyes and faux-sinister mannerisms. Fimmel’s ham-fisted portrayal damages his performance.

Any mysteries regarding the girl’s disappearance are revealed before the film fully gets going, leaving the film to merely imitate. It is disheartening to witness this work’s desperate crawl to its unsatisfactory ending.

Director Baird fan-worships Scott’s eighties sci-fi classic to the point of absolute annoyance, rendering his film devoid of anything interesting.

“Zone 414” is a sloppy and uninspired snooze fest that does nothing but make its audience remember (and long for) the brilliance and creativity of “Blade Runner,” the masterpiece this film so desperately desires to be. So much so that Ridley Scott should take out a restraining order against it for stalking.