DIVISION 19

Cert 15 93mins Stars 2

This ambitious dystopian sci-fi doesn’t lack for interesting ideas, but is guilty of terrible incoherence, a near terminal over-serious tone and lacklustre action.

In the near future the government keeps the population under control through strict surveillance and identity control.

Prisoners are now reality TV stars used by companies to sell consumer products to the citizens. This is a great satirical concept and is deserving of a far better movie.

Division 19 is the underground resistance who exist off the security grid, and plan to rescue the world’s most popular prisoner to dent an evil corporations profit-swelling expansionist plans.

Jamie Dravin is a sadly anodyne hero, Linus Rosche riffs on Alan Rickman as the sheriff of Nottingham in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the film’s one undoubted bright spot is Alison Doody’s immaculate and villainous CEO.

The abandoned areas of modern Detroit make for a suitably apocalyptic backdrop and has featured in many films previously, notably in Ryan Gosling’s 2014 directorial debut, Lost River, which was shot concurrently.

But there’s no sense of geography or distance between locations, and while low flying skyscraper-sized satellites fill the skies, the quality of the CGI makes they seem tacked on rather than organic part of the world. In a similar manner robots appear briefly and randomly, and seem to be there to offer fleeting comic relief, but it’s hard to be sure.

Meanwhile the roof-hopping parkour action is leaden and dated, and the downtrodden masses are conspicuous by their absence.

From Westworld to Mad Max the influences are obvious, but this feels like a clumsy fan-fiction low-budget episode of the Divergent franchise.

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