Friday, 28 July 2017
626 Evolution (2017)
Two young women - one a badass parkour ninja, the other a middle schooler with a terrible foster dad - are secretly under surveillance by a shadowy organisation. Neither is initially aware of this, but as things in each of their lives begin to spiral out of control, it is only a matter of time before they find each other ... and the truth about who they are.
One of the main things that I liked about Arrowstorm Entertainment's Survivor, which I reviewed several years ago, was that it had a (mostly) very capable female protagonist who was played by an actor who had the physical chops to convincingly pull off the role. No "really, Kate Beckinsale is an action star!" awkwardness here.
Said actor was Danielle Chuchran, so when the same production company launched a kickstarter in which they promised a science fiction thriller were "Dani's back in fighting form, kicking butt and taking names", well I figured it was worth dropping fifteen bucks to check it out.
There are three main problems with 626 Evolution. The first is the omnipresent and very annoying narration. I'm sure it is supposed to be sardonic and witty, but mostly comes across like a 14 year old desperately trying to be sardonic and witty, and utterly failing in the process. To be fair, the narrator is a 14 year old character, so I guess it could be deliberate. It's still awful, though.
Then there's the action scenes Much of the parkour and fist-fighting stuff is fine, but there are some gunfight scenes that are ... really not good. The use of CGI in place of more costly and difficult practical effects is really obvious, and the action has no flow.
Third, there's the acting. The performances - including from Chuchran, who I have seen be capable in other works - are uniformly poor. They're not helped by some occasionally murky sound, either. Some of the problem might be the film's use of a lot of POV shots, which means characters are often talking directly at the camera, but I also wonder if the filming schedule was highly compressed. It would explain the lack of polish on the delivery.
Ultimately, 626 Evolution is a step backward for both Arrowstorm and Chuchran.