Virtuosity isn’t a great movie by any stretch but I don’t think it intended to be taken seriously. While Denzel Washington plays it safe with a steady if not forgettable performance, Russell Crowe is an absolute hoot and goes over-the-top and was easily the film’s saving grace to go along with a thin but entertaining plot. The Blu-ray released through Warner is rather basic with no bonus material while the video and audio transfers are at least well done.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action
Warner Home Video | R – 106 min. – $14.98 | July 7, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.25/5
Plot Summary: Sid 6.7 (RUSSELL CROWE) – Sadistic. Intelligent. Dangerous. He’s a composite of some 200 personalities each and every one a notorious serial killer. A virtual reality creation designed to put L.A. police officers to the test. But Sid isn’t playing games anymore. He’s escaped the bounds of cyberspace and is able to take a licking because he can regenerate his silicon-based body parts.
Meanwhile, Parker Barnes (DENZEL WASHINGTON), once a Los Angeles cop convicted of multiple murders after attempting to take down a domestic terrorist who killed his wife and child, now carries the fate of the city in his hands: his job is to shut down the virtually unstoppable Sid and in exchange gets a full pardon. If he fails, he goes back to prison to serve out the remainder of his 17 year sentence.
Quick Hit Review: I have to admit when I last saw Virtuosity some odd years ago, probably on DVD as I own a copy, I wasn’t that enthralled. Perhaps I didn’t appreciate the campiness or what, but I have to say, this is one fun ride of a movie. Is it that good? No, not really with a plot that is interesting but doesn’t take it anywhere. However, the cast is impressive.
Denzel Washington, albeit the headliner, really sleepwalks through a role that isn’t written all that well, same goes for the second billed Kelly Lynch, but instead the highlight of this sci-fi action-fest, with some “primo” visual effects, is with a then unknown Russell Crowe who apparently took his cues from Wesley Snipes from Demolition Man (released two years earlier), camping up the screen every chance he got and even goes above and beyond once Sid 6.7 gets into the real world. When you watch an actor go all out, it’s hard not to have fun watching them and Crowe milks his outlandish and ridiculous character to the max. It’s a shame the current Russell Crowe is too serious…
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
Unfortunately no features were included on this release. The original DVD did come with the theatrical trailer.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Warner Home Video distributes Virtuosity (originally released by Paramount) onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a good, albeit not great, 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). Considering this movie is now 20 years old, I actually was somewhat impressed with the transfer. Colors tend to be nice though not overly vibrant while detail levels are respectable enough but especially sharp for close-ups.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The movie has been given a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel track which makes good use of the action oriented scenes for which there are several, beginning with the opening within the cyber-world (a.k.a. the Matrix) to the finale and climax between Washington and Crowe. But even beyond the action, dialogue levels were impressively crisp and clear and I didn’t notice any instances of hisses or pops. This is certainly a fine upgrade over the DVD release.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Virtuosity isn’t a great movie by any stretch but I don’t think it intended to be taken seriously. While Denzel Washington plays it safe with a steady if not forgettable performance, Russell Crowe is an absolute hoot and goes over-the-top and was easily the film’s saving grace to go along with a thin but entertaining plot. The Blu-ray released through Warner is rather basic with no bonus material while the video and audio transfers are at least well done, though this is only a purchase if you can find it in the $8 range.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.