Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

They make so many movies nowadays that there are many flicks that we never even get the chance to see my friends. I don’t know how it works for you but for it goes kind of like this for me: I review a movie say like the gawdawful movie ‘Toxic’ and notice it has Bai Ling in it. So I click on Bai Ling’s name in the ol’ IMDB to see what she’s up to, because what kind of freak doesn’t dig Bai Ling? So I see this movie ‘The Gene Generation’, read the synopsis and I’m like ‘damn, this looks like something that I really need to see’. But that was like a year ago so it goes in the growing pile of movies with certain actors names attached to them that I like to look at, that will never see the light of day. But today is a good day my friends because ‘The Gene Generation’ has seen the light of day and though I didn’t really know what in the hell was going in this movie, I am glad that I finally got a chance to see it.

Actor Alec Newman narrates this tale, at least for a little while, playing the character of geneticist Dr. Christian, informing us about this crazy radical new technology that the corporation he worked for was able to develop. Pioneered by one Dr. Josephine Hayden (Faye Dunaway) this crazy technology was able to manipulate DNA at the gene level to cure all kinds illnesses almost instantly. There was one minor side effect of this in that it caused some rather wild mutations which turned the recipients of these treatments into writhing snake monsters or something. It’s probably more complex than that, but that’s what I got out of it. The next thing you know the lab explodes and this is about the time I started to get completely confused.

Dr. Christian continues to talk about folks called DNA hackers, though I really didn’t get the gist of DNA hacking. I did recognize that it’s a bad thing which brings us to the star of the movie Bai Ling who plays Michelle, a paid for hire DNA hacker assassin. Michelle only does this so she can scrape up enough loot so that she and her troublesome brother Jackie (Perry Shen) can get on a bus out of this broke down city they live in, at least when Jackie isn’t gambling away all her hard earned money.

Now Dr. Christian also lives in this ramshackle complex that baby brother and his hot big sister stay at, and he has in his possession a DNA transcoder which does some stuff of which I have no freaking clue. Again I do know that a worm infested Dr. Hayden and her brothers want this transcoder because it will somehow make her less worm infested and that Michelle’s brother, who is way more trouble than he’s worth, has stolen this thing from Dr. Christian’s apartment.

On the periphery brother Jackie is also in hock to brutal loan shark or something who pisses in his face, Bai Ling will show us some rather impressive martial arts and gunkata skills, there’s quite a bit of killing and of course Bai Ling gets naked which shouldn’t surprise anyone because if you haven’t seen Bai Ling naked by now then you really haven’t seen much of Bai Ling. And then it all ends and I’m not to sure if it resolved much of anything.

‘The Gene Generation’ is one helluva of ambitious production for director Pearry Reginald Teo, particularly taking into account the relatively small budget the man was working with, all of which I read about in my most recent issue of ‘Post’ Magazine. Based on his own comic book which consists of something which I guess is called ‘bio-punk’, this is one gloriously visual exercise. With a lot of the sets being of the digital variety, ala ‘300’ or ‘Sin City’, the movie is striking to witness and fantastic to listen to. There was a lot stylized violence in the movie and Bai Ling, or at least her stunt woman, performed in some nice looking virtuoso action scenes as well, and I can certainly say that at no time did ‘The Gene Generation’ ever get dull or boring.

Now it’s a damn good thing that director Teo has a pretty solid gift as a visualist and has a pretty decent grip on how to pace of movie because if I were relying on the narrative of this thing to carry me through I probably would’ve shot myself in the head long before it was over. It could be that I simply wasn’t paying close enough attention and I was distracted by Bai Lings lips and nipples, but I have seen those before so I should be very well used to them by now, but then I am just a simple man so you never know.

Initially everything was Windex clear. Gene manipulations causes mutations. I get that. Then the worms kick in and things are still kind of making sense but after the lab explodes then things start to get a little murky. The DNA Hackers are introduced but not much is done with them except to get us to Bai Ling’s Michelle, but it was set up as if this was going to be a major part of the movie, then the movie drastically shifts tone and turns into an episode of ‘The Cosby Show’ from hell with Theo completely screwing up while Denise constantly bails him out. The movie shifts its focus yet again as it tried to develop a love story between characters of Christian and Michelle but if there was any real relationship between the two outside of their sex scene it was left on the cutting room floor so it was hard to buy into that as well. And I was never completely sure what Dr. Worm Lady and her brothers were up to with the transcoder angle, what purpose the transcoder served and why they needed it so badly, just completely baffled me.

But despite the fact that ‘The Gene Generation’ was muddled and convoluted it wasn’t confusing to the point that one couldn’t pick up enough to understand why that guy was getting a bullet through his head or this guy was getting pissed on or why that guy was absorbing a round house kick to his face or why this woman was getting all nekkid. You got me on the worms though. In the final analysis this was still an imaginative and entertaining movie, well worth the time, and an admirable accomplishment for all involved.


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