The Gene Generation – DVD Review
By Frankie Dees Feb 4, 2009, 21:47 GMT
In this futuristic world, DNA hackers use their skills to hack into people\'s bodies to kill them. But Michelle (Bai Ling), an assassin with her own moral framework, presents a problem when her younger brother, Jackie, becomes involved in a petty crime. He propels himself into this world of hackers, loan sharks and gangs. To protect him she must call upon all he rresources, and battle against her own demons ...more
The Gene Generation is a film relying almost exclusively on lead actress Bai Ling's sexual appeal (certainly not her acting prowess) which is set against the backdrop of a PS2-era post-apocalyptic 'Blade Runner'ish world. It sports some OK ideas, but gets overpowered by the trappings of DTV limitations.
Based on a cult comic series, 'The DNA Hacker Chronicles', director Pearry Teo's 'The Gene Generation' is one of those low-budget straight-to-video flicks that would have probably benefited from a larger budget and more capable cast (unlike most DTV fare where nothing would have helped); the pic is set in a cyber-punk world of DNA hackers and assassins, where a DNA experiment goes horribly wrong and leaves the human race in a crime-ridden, dank shambles.
We meet one of these specialized assassins Michelle (Bai Ling ‘The Crow’) who chase corrupt DNA hackers in skimpy black leather and who has to constantly keep her gambling, borderline retarded brother Jackie (Parry Shen) out of trouble. When they come into possession of a powerful DNA device, the Transcoder, which holds the key to the human race's salvation or destruction, they have to fight to keep alive and protect a doctor who knows the secrets of the Transcoder's immense power.
Just a bare minimum of exposition explaining this world is presented, with the film just opting to throw you in the world and let you drown. A short cameo by Faye Dunaway, of all people, in the intro shows us how this world has come to exist but 'Blade Runner' or 'Brazil' this ain't. While the CGI expectedly leaves something to be desired (but cool in spirit), the set design is surprisingly accomplished with murky, steamy closed-in sets.
Bai Ling is okay in the lead role, but is certainly more competent in the asskicking and sex/shower scenes than she is in when trying to y'know...emote.
The supporting cast, however, is pretty terrible with Parry Shen being a constant irritation with all other characters either not making an impression at all or calling attention to the clunky dialogue.
The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and sports a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. A healthy selection of extras starts off with a couple of commentaries, the first from director Pearry Teo, and actors Bai Leng and Perry Shen and the second with Teo and producer Keith Collea.
We also get about half an hour of 'Cast and Crew Interviews', a 'Storyboard to Screen Comparison', 'Visual f/x concept art', about 20 minutes of 'Deleted Scenes', a digital edition of 'The DNA Hacker Chronicles', an obnoxious music video 'Get Your Body Beat' from Combichrist and a trailer gallery. No real making-of doc which is kind of odd, but a nice mix of extras nonetheless.
The pic is admittedly a step up from sci-fi channel fare and most DTV pics so despite some obvious failings, this may be worth a look for sci-fi fans that know what their getting themselves into; Bai Ling does get naked after all.