The Gene Generation
Directed by Pearry Reginald Teo
Starring Bai Ling, Faye Dunaway
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Usually when I write a review, I try my best to highlight the good and bad of each film. But for a film like The Gene Generation,
shit poo is still poo no matter how much you shine it. Now, I know this is a harsh statement to make but bear with me, dear reader. I will have all the answers for you in time but first a little background on the film.
Starring Bai Ling, The Gene Generation is set in cliché post-apocalyptic future where hackers are not just breaking into computers anymore: They are breaking into DNA. It seems that in this bleak future a few with a specific type of DNA get to live the high life and for the have-nots, hijacking strands of DNA seems to be the only way to a better life, but it comes with a price. DNA hacking basically kills the victim and those hacking also risk running into assassin for hire and DNA hacker killer Michelle (Bai Ling).
Now while the premise of the movie sounds intriguing, the execution of this project is far from it. Rather than placing the idea of DNA hacking as the main story, screenwriters Zhang Ping Li and Keith Collea opted instead to focus on Michelle’s family life, which consists of her no good brother Jackie (Parry Shen), who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and steals the original DNA hacking device. Yes, this all sounds very convoluted to say the least and gets even more confusing as you watch it. Who does Michelle work for? Why does she kill DNA hackers for a living? Well, none of these questions gets answered. Instead, viewers get to see Michelle fight off her brother’s enemies and get caught up with the whole battle for the DNA hacking device.
The movie just feels a lot like other science fiction movies I have seen before but less interesting. I have never had trouble staying awake to watch any movie, no matter how bad, but for this movie, it took all my strength to stay awake. Most of the actors seem to coast through their lines and seem to be in it for just the paycheck. I have no idea how the producers were able to grab Faye Dunaway for a cameo appearance but needless to say, her acting chops are squandered on this film. The worst actor out of this whole bunch is the main protagonist, played by Ling.
I have nothing against Bai Ling. I am pretty sure she is an all right actress but she is extremely miscast in this role. In order for viewers to relate and even feel for the assassin with a heart, we need to be able to believe that a character like this exists and Ling just does not have the acting chops to pull it off. Most of her lines sound like she is reading off a card and with her accent; it is hard to figure out what she is trying to say. I still do not understand why they couldn’t just cut her lines in half. This would have added another layer to the badass assassin persona the writers wanted her to be in the first and focus on the things she can do well like the action scenes.
She does pull off the action scenes well enough but with the bad camera work and the terrible choreography, the action scenes seems amateurish at best and tend to highlight uneventful scenes. Like when Michelle is attacked in her house, she kicks one of the attackers out of a window. The director chooses to slow down the glass breaking. Yes. Just the glass cracking. Now what is the point of that?
The DVD is loaded with a lot of features with concept art, deleted scenes, and even some interviews. If you actually enjoyed this DVD, you would appreciate these extras but for someone like me, it was pretty much irreverent.
I really cannot recommend this film to anyone. Gene Generation is just a film full of wasted potential. If you just want a bad movie to rent for fun, there are plenty of movies that fit that bill. Do not even waste your time on this mess.