Science fiction thriller 'Beta Test' needs tech support

  • Kincaid (Linden Ashby) aims to turn American gamers into an "absolute controlled militia."

    Kincaid (Linden Ashby) aims to turn American gamers into an "absolute controlled militia."

Posted7/21/2016 5:15 AM

In the near-future science fiction thriller "Beta Test," video game wizard Max Troy (producer Larenz Tate) receives a mysterious package: a first-person shooter game in which he must accomplish violent goals on deadlines while operating a shockingly realistic on-screen avatar.

He doesn't know that the avatar is a real man named Orson Creed (Manu Bennett), who has been implanted with a motor-neuron transmitter hooked up to the game console. Max doesn't realize that whatever he makes his game alter-ego do, Orson must do for real.


"Beta Test," directed, written and produced by Nicholas Gyeney, squanders a brilliantly inventive action premise with a comically silly disregard for necessary realism.

Need to break into a bank? Just slip through an open window. Need to get somewhere fast? No traffic, no problem. Need to punch out a kazillion bad guys, run a few miles and never get exhausted? Press an energy button, I guess.

"Beta Test" resembles an amateur action film made by a teenage boy with no clue how to write women (Sara Coates' Abbie and Brandy Kopp's tech girl only serve as distressed damsels who must be saved) or how to direct actors with the personalities of nunchucks.

Distributor Mirror Images picked an unfortunate week to release a movie in which an active shooter invades a school and wipes out students. And for what?

So that a crazy one-percenter corporate boss Kincaid (Linden Ashby) can turn American gamers into an "absolute controlled militia."

"The tree of liberty has to be replenished with the blood of patriots!" he sputters. With dialogue like this, it's game over.

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