The Gene Generation (2005)

Rating: *
Review Date: 1/11/14
Director: Pearry Teo
Fight Choreographer: Jeff Imada
Cast: Bai Ling, Parry Shen, Alec Newman, cameo by Faye Dunaway

Michelle (Bai Ling) is an assassin in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, where genetic hacking is a common form of crime and terrorism. She justifies her line of work as a means of earning enough cash to get herself and her irresponsible brother, Jackie (Parry Shen), out of the ghetto and off to some rumored paradise far away. Jackie gets himself into serious trouble when he steals a dangerous gene manipulation device from a reclusive scientist, and soon everyone wants him dead. Fortunately, Michelle is there to save his ass time and again, and she finally takes the fight back to its source in order to end her troubles.

Unfortunately, the film is a complete mess, both visually and narratively. Bai Ling has awesome hair and wears a number of sexy outfits, but her action scenes are weak and she isn't a very good actress. Still, she's the best thing the film has to offer. Parry Shen is actually a decent actor and does a good job with the material, but his character is so dislikable that you can't sympathize with him in any way. Apart from a couple of cramped alleyways, all of the exteriors are computer animated environments that look like they were taken straight from a fantasy video game. The architecture and geography make no sense, and the sweeping camera movements only bring attention to how outrageous, illogical, and inconsistent the space is. The story is weak and disjointed, the dialog is awkward and juvenile, and the characters are never developed or given any sense of direction. Much like the world that they live in, they're illogical and inconsistent. This is exemplified by a pointless and completely inexplicable love scene in the middle of the film, that exists for the sole purpose of getting Bai Ling topless. The presentation actually reminded me a lot of "Ultraviolet" (2006) in its disregard for logic and common sense. It's a shame that Bai Ling's action potential was wasted, as it could have given the film a much needed boost.