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This "Implanted" Flick Is a Flash Drive Not For Saving
Any finished film is a miracle of effort. But...
For a movie like Implanted - about an A.I. chip that takes control over a person’s life - to be made a little after the bigger budgeted film of a similar premise, Upgrade, must’ve been a tough one to swallow for the cast and crew, as their project will forever be compared to an already well-received thriller. Through much perseverance though, and the luck of having finished shooting just before the Covid lockdowns, this small indie came to life, and is now available to stream. Automatically, it’s accomplished.
However raw the making of was and how worse it could’ve been, and no matter the achievement of being completed, Implanted is a confusing and confounding watch.
I will not contrast the film with that of Upgrade, though such parallels would only be natural to draw. Set in a grungy and industrial New York City, the story gets going rather quickly. Too quickly, in fact. The opening credits roll, then suddenly stop for a collage of glitch art and words flashing on-screen, like “malfunction,” “intelligence,” and "money.” This is after the title has been scrolled and before any traditional end to the initial text has happened. Immediately, we’re thrust into the protagonist Sarah’s world, where she’s been living with this A.I. for a few days now. She’s homeless and eating breakfast on the street, but is comforted by the program called LEXX… until all hell breaks loose, just a few minutes later.
There’s apparently no time to waste or breath in Implanted, as the conflict hits asap. Thievery, murder, and health checkups are on LEXX’s agenda, all the while reminding Susan how in control her programming is. Straight up, around every corner, and in every nook and cranny, LEXX just blurts out that she has all the power, and not Sarah. There’s little for the actors to work with, so most settle on either their own instincts or some form of overly-heightened emotion, usually with an f-bomb or two dropped. The evil of LEXX is never really explained, other than she (or it) wants to be free. There is a duo of corporate suits who exploit terms and conditions when signing on desperate people to the operation of installation, and it is suggested that they know more than they’re letting on, but there is no discovery or revelation made, and no deeper motive explained.
There’s just LEXX, and there’s just her "in control.”
Absolutely empty and awfully repetitive, Implanted is a sheer trial to watch, and a disappointment across the board. For a premise with such potential, it succumbs so easily to anxious editing and second-guessing. Still, anytime a film is done, it’s worthy of some accolade. And considering the odds, Implanted deserves what it can get.
Man, Upgrade was a good movie. 1.5/5