What I like most about Corridor Digital is that they manage their goals wisely. They know how to get the most out of a shot. When working within the confines of ten minute videos for the past several years, they've developed an impressive knack for shot-efficiency and editing that should be envied by every single studio in Hollywood. So when they set a goal to make a "cool sci-fi show," I had no doubt that's what I'd get.
I was immediately enraptured by a sense of nostalgia as it took me back to my days of staying up past my bedtime to watch Olivier Gruner and Rutger Hauer sci-fi B-movies on Showtime. The film meets the requirements of any self-respecting low-budget sci-fi action extravaganza by having a neat premise, a charming wise-cracking protagonist, a love-interest who may or may not need to be in the movie, a hardassed by-the-book boss who will stick his neck out for his best agent/cop/employee/pet, and a mixture of advanced futuristic technology and low-tech gadgets that will probably be outdated by the time this review posts, and a series of events that could be mistaken for a plot.
The film follows Charlie (Tanner Thomason), a special agent in some government black ops division that suffers a security breach and is about to be shut down. The sci-fi flip is that Charlie is a clone...kind of. He can download his thoughts and memories into an infinite number of new "shell" bodies and continue kicking ass just as before. It allows him to travel to different continents in the blink of an eye and survive horrific beheadings. He has to stop a virus that became sentient and took over an ultra-secure network due to a rather clever collection of mishaps.
The concept of memory transfer has been around for decades, but after Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, The Matrix and The 6th Day within the last dozen or so years, it's hard not to notice the modern popularity. Sync has unique moments, but it doesn't have the mind-blowing originality of Brazil or Being John Malkovich.
The movie is opposite of pretty much every mainstream movie in that it takes the time to focus on small things that Hollywood movies often neglect. As opposed to feeling tacked on, Charlie's love interest has a direct influence on his motivation. It even informs the outcome of the film. Action movies like this don't really need a love story, but if they're going to have them, they should feel important. I particularly liked the relationship between Charlie's boss, Griggs, and Grigg's ex-partner, a surprisingly reasonable mad scientist Dr. John Wyatt (Jai Koutrae). Despite turning into enemies, they have a shared fondness for one another. One could certainly argue that the story is all over the place, unfocused, disjointed, which is probably a side-effect of publishing the film in ten-minute sequences, but those little detours from the main story tend to help fill in science-fiction worlds, giving the viewer a sense of stability in the fictional landscape.
The action scenes are all well-choreographed and beautifully filmed and, more importantly, limited. This isn't a non-stop action extravaganza that wears on our senses. The action scenes allow the characters to reach important destinations and retrieve vital information, a lot like video games. The action isn't there for action's sake. Action is correctly treated as an obstacle to a goal. The most important scenes in the film revolve around conversations and emotions instead of martial arts and gunfire, much like the climax of the Matrix Reloaded.
When cruising Youtube, we used to just want for a few fleeting seconds of entertainment before moving onto something more substantial. Things are different now. With ambitious projects like Kate Madison's Born of Hope, FreddieW's Video Game High School and Corridor Digital's Sync, Youtube has matured. Check out the full film below. Bottom line, it's good.