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Debug

Year: 2014
Production Co: Copperheart Entertainment
Director: David Hewlett
Writer: David Hewlett
Cast: Jason Momoa

This might be among the last couple of low budget movies we see Jason Momoa appear in. He's conquered TV as the warlord Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, and over the next few years he's going to join one of the biggest franchises of the big screen in 2017's Justice League and 2018's Aquaman (he's also said to be showing up in next year's Batman Vs Superman along with fellow DC hero Wonder Woman).

Here he plays a small but effective part as the human-like face of a computer virus that might be just very clever or might be actually evil, a role his perpetually angry eyebrows and deep, threatening voice suit perfectly.

It's the far future and a team of convicted computer hackers are bought to a derelict ex prison ship in deep space. Their mission is to clear all the old code and rogue programs out of the system (many of which think they're human after mutating for so long) and reboot the entire network to make the ship ready for operations again.

But as the small team goes about its mission, a program the team assumes is a security protocol shows up, at first mildly tricksy, but soon becoming all-out deadly.

The program (Momoa), which calls itself the decidedly Biblical name 'Iam', shows up on screens as a menacing human face, teasing the occupants as they go about their work and eventually steering them towards grisly deaths in order to protect the secret behind its existence.

Debug isn't shy about showing a bit of blood and even a hint of sex, which is welcome in a story this original. The only downside – which is entirely budgetary and was probably out of writer/director David Hewlett's control – is that the exterior scenes of the craft in space are pretty cheap and video gamey. It's a shame, because the moody way the virtual camera whirls slowly around the outside, tracking slowly across the surface of blinking lights and panels, reminds you of the opening scenes of Alien.

It's a good effort but you can see some of the joins in several aspects, everywhere from the effects to the acting. If someone gives Hewlett enough money to really stretch himself he has the makings of a great sci-fi director.

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