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Virtuosity
Virtuosity
Actors: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Kelly Lynch, Stephen Spinella, William Forsythe
Director: Brett Leonard
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
R     1999     1hr 46min

He's a composite of some 200 personalities, each and every one a notorious killer. He's Sid 6.7, a virtual reality creation designed to put L.A. police officers to the test. But Sid isn't playing games anymore. He's escape...  more »
     
     

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Movie Details

Actors: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Kelly Lynch, Stephen Spinella, William Forsythe
Director: Brett Leonard
Creators: Gale Tattersall, B.J. Sears, Gary Lucchesi, Gimel Everett, Hawk Koch, Robert McMinn, Eric Bernt
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/25/1999
Original Release Date: 08/04/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 08/04/1995
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 46min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Lewis P. (Turfseer) from NEW YORK, NY
Reviewed on 9/12/2010...
Denzel and Crowe embarrass themselves in this vapid, derivative, so-called techno-thriller

*** This review contains spoilers ***

Both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are 'A-list' actors who have been in some top-notch pictures during their careers. But even big stars are not immune from taking the attitude that they always must be working in order to make a buck. That's basically what happened here with their decision to be a part of this hopeless enterprise known as 'Virtuosity'.

Set in a futuristic Los Angeles, Denzel Washington plays former police Lt. Parker Barnes, imprisoned for life after murdering a terrorist who kidnapped his wife and child. It seems during his failed attempt to rescue his family, not only does he kill Grimes and his associates but a pair of newsmen covering the story. Barnes is called upon (along with another inmate), to test out the Law Enforcement Technology Advancement Center's (LETAC) new virtual reality program, designed to improve officer's tracking skills by hunting down SID 6.7 (played by a one-note Russell Crowe), a virtual reality entity whose personality is a composite of the 200 worst criminals in history. During the test, SID figures out how to raise the sensitivity calibrations in the virtual reality program, which ends up killing one of the inmates who's been participating in the program test.

As a result, the Commissioner in charge of the program wants to shut it down but the program's originator tricks his brainy co-worker into turning SID into a real-world regenerating android (similar to the android in Terminator II). SID then escapes and is determined to murder as many people as possible in the real world. Barnes, who proved his mettle during his virtual reality encounter with SID, is now given a chance to earn his freedom by tracking the sadistic criminal down and eliminating him. He's joined by Dr. Madison Carter, a psychiatrist, who acts as a consultant to LETAC.

The bulk of the movie involves Barnes chasing SID in various venues in Los Angeles. In contrast to Terminator II, where Arnold Schwarznegger used a high powered shotgun to create large bullet holes in the android he's trying to subdue, Barnes shoots SID with an ordinary handgun, resulting in less dramatic smaller holes that regenerate every time SID is shot. I guess Virtuosity's budget wasn't as big as Terminator II.

It appears that SID can really kill Barnes anytime he feels like it and at one point he frees him from a locked armored car as Barnes is being transported back to prison. We're told that SID does this because he simply enjoys the sport of Barnes chasing him. But if Barnes is SID's main impediment to creating more mayhem in the city, why doesn't SID dispatch Barnes right away? Obviously, you wouldn't have much of a movie left if Barnes is eliminated too soon.

Finally, Dr. Carter leaves her daughter 'home alone' which allows SID to conveniently kidnap her and threaten to kill the child on national TV. Barnes tracks SID down at the TV station and continues to fire bullets at him that only temporarily impede his movements. Eventually, Barnes has a face-to-face fistfight with SID on top of a high-rise. Despite the fact that SID has superhuman strength and could probably kill Barnes with one blow, their confrontation lasts a couple of minutes, eventually leading to SID's demise as he falls through a glass ceiling and is impaled on shards of glass. As he is about to regenerate, Barnes takes the crystal software program from the back of SID's head which effectively shuts him down. Using the crystal, Barnes tricks SID into revealing the location of Dr. Madison's kidnapped daughter inside the virtual reality world, and then saves the little girl. End of movie.

What could have been a fascinating journey through a virtual reality dream-like world, turns into an ordinary cop-criminal encounter featuring a series of dull chase scenes, once SID becomes a real-life android. The similarities between Virtuosity and Terminator II are obvious but the latter movie has much more class. Yes, Virtuosity does have a 'plot' but it's much more laughable than suspenseful. Denzel and Russell Crowe do collect their paychecks but really should be embarrassed to have been part of this vapid, cheesy production.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jen L. from RALEIGH, NC
Reviewed on 6/21/2009...
Russell Crowe absolutely makes this movie. Fantastic movie. I caught it first on one of those Saturday Movies on network television but it has beautiful acting and this DVD shows scenes that were missing from the TV spot. Everyone should watch this movie!
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jennifer F. (KnJFisher) from GILLETT, PA
Reviewed on 5/24/2008...
For the most part, "Virtuosity" is basically another virtual reality-themed movie so full of action that it almost hurts. But interestingly enough, there is a little bit of a plot here. Denzel Washington plays Lt. Parker Barnes, who has to help find SID 6.7 (Russell Crowe), a virtual serial killer who has escaped into the real world in 1999 LA.

Yes, that certainly sounds like it could degenerate into the kind of garbage that Hollywood usually turns out. Much of the movie is in fact vaguely reminiscent of movies like "Demolition Man". But maybe we can interpret the movie as looking at the dangers of letting technology get too powerful, like what "2001: A Space Odyssey" looked at. Obviously, this isn't even remotely in the same league as that one, but given that it was released in 1995, it almost seems like a prediction of how computer-centric the world would become.

Not a masterpiece by any stretch - both Washington and Crowe have done much better work (and now they're both Oscar winners) - but worth seeing, if only once.

Movie Reviews

Clear demonstration of where star power can carry a movie
Patrick L. Randall | Silver Spring, MD | 06/07/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Virtuosity" is by no means a great movie. Simply put, it is a typical late-summer, action-thriller, popcorn flick. But, it's a case where the performance of the lead actors transcends the quality of the story. The story itself involves a cop named Parker Barnes who has fallen on hard times after being unable to stop his wife and daughter from being murdered and accidentally killing innocent civilians in pursuit of the man who committed the crime. His attempt at redemption comes at the hands a computer program that is the composite of profiles of several hundred serial killers and mass criminals (including the one who murdered Barnes' family) called Syd 6.7. Syd 6.7 somehow managed to break free of his computer-generated environment and is wrecking havoc on the general populace. Only Barnes seems to have the ability to defeat him. It's an interesting premise, but its execution is pedestrian at best. What keeps the movie afloat is the perfomances of Denzel Washington as Barnes and Russell Crowe as Syd 6.7. Washington effectively portrays Barnes as a man who's struggling with the demons of his failure years earlier and who wants desperately to defeat Syd as a kind of salvation for himself. Crowe, who was a relative unknown at this point, plays Syd with as a bit of an over-the-top psychopath (which is to be expected given the characters psychological makeup), but also manages to do so with a bit of wit and charm that makes Syd seem like an almost likeable anti-hero. Denzel Washington's credentials as one of the best actors in the business were well known prior to the making of "Virtuosity". He had won an Best Support Actor Oscar for "Glory" and should have won the Best Actor Oscar for "Malcolm X". His known strengths allowed him to transcend less-than-stellar material to make this movie enjoyable. Afterwards, he went on to memorable roles in "Courage Under Fire" (for which he should have been nominated for an Oscar, but wasn't), "The Hurricane" (for which he should have WON the Oscar, but didn't), and "Training Day" (where he finally got his due with a Best Actor Oscar, ironically by defeating Russell Crowe).Russell Crowe was practically unknown the public's eye at the time of this movie. He had made a memorable impression as a Neo-Nazi skinhead in "Romper Stomper", but few had seen this flick. His handling of the Syd 6.7 character demonstrated an acting ability that hinted at the promise of a long movie career. He subsequently followed "Virtuosity" with his first truly star-making role as tough-as-nails cop Bud White in "L.A. Confidential". His acting range continued to show itself in roles such as corporate whistle-blower, Jeffrey Wigand, in "The Insider", and as Roman warrior, Maximus, in the Oscar-winner "Gladiator" (for which Crowe, himself, won a Best Actor Oscar).While nothing more than summertime confection, "Virtuosity" is a fun watch if for no other reason than you get to see two of the best actors around perform their craft well together to help a mediocre movie become a entertaining one."
Crowe steals the show
Mike T. | Rockford, IL | 01/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Russell Crowe is fantastic and steals the spotlight away from Denzel Washington who also does a fine job in this futuristic movie. I will be the first to admit that the storyline is not the greatest but the entertainment value is excellent. Russell Crowe (Sid 6.7) is a computer generated bad guy who needs all the attention that he can find. The only man for the job is Denzel Washington who is sent on a mission to find and destroy Sid 6.7. That is a tough problem because Sid can rebuild himself similiar to the Terminator.The more attention that Sid receives the more outrageous he becomes. Kelly Lynch also stars as Denzels partner.DVD sound and picture is very good."
Better than most of the 1995 crop of cyber-spam
Mike T. | 08/11/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Virtuosity isn't a brilliant movie, but it is at least somewhat innovative and entertaining from end to end. More than can be said for similar fare like "Hackers" or "The Net." Denzel Washington, as always, is a very good actor, and Kelly Lynch is competent if flaky, but the movie is stolen by Russell Crowe's psychotic performance as Sid 6.7. His antics make Virtuosity worth watching, especially the Saturday Night Fever reference."