Virtuosity (1995) Poster


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Frustrating film
james_cunnington22 May 2001
You can't help but like Crowe's gleeful portrayal of a schizophrenic nano-bot serial killer in this ridiculous film, and with futuristic fascists, pervey programmers and a bucket loads of virtual reality cyber nonsense, this should really be a winner in the style of The Demolition Man or the Robocop series. But where other films in the genre have used such tools as wit and plot to keep the more intelligent of the viewers amused, this film, um, hasn't.

The script is terrible. The acting (excluding Crowe, who only gets away with it thanks to a camp smile and some fortunate direction) is wooden. And the plot is illogical and frustrating.
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Worth a second look
inkblot1122 August 2003
In the near future, Parker Barnes (Denzel Washington) is an ex-cop who has been sent to prison for murder. The circumstances surrounding his crime are disheartening and elicit empathy. Now, he is offered a chance at freedom from prison. Parker must hunt down and destroy a murderous cyborg, SID 6.7 (Russell Crowe), who is menacing the general public after jumping out of a virtual reality program. The chase takes on many twists and turns as SID terrorizes, shoots and kidnaps victims in his path. Can SID be stopped?

It may not be a science fiction masterpiece, but this film is worthwhile and intriguing. A second viewing may be required to truly understand and appreciate its complex plot. Then, too, the marvelous special effects enhance the look and feel of the film. It is not Denzel Washington's finest hour (he is adequate); however, Russell Crowe is positively gleeful in his portrayal of the ultimately designed killing machine. There are some humorous moments, somewhat lessening the overall dark and somber tone. On the down side, the ending may be a little too pat and leave a few loose ends untied. Recommended for science fiction and action movie fans who are on the lookout for lesser known films that may satisfy them for an evening.
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It Had A Lot of Potential
alexkolokotronis24 April 2008
Virtuosity is by no means a great movie or a good movie. It is barely above average. That though is because of Russell Crowe's character: SID 6.7 who possesses over 150 serial killer personalities. He is just supposed to be used to train police but he escapes from his virtual reality to the reality. That sounds pretty interesting and this premise could be taken into many different directions especially since he is such a complex character you could go so many different way going about to make this film. Though this movie did not take the worst direction it did not take the best one. This movie went for pure action and no real drama or meaningful message. Now that is OK but it lacked in doing this because of the: The directing which was average by Brett Leonard. He made this into a very exciting TV movie which it is not. He had two very talented actors in Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe yet he was not able to generate the excitement and fast pace feeling that is needed to make a good action movie.

The writing is also at fault too. The writing was not great here. It seemed to have a lot of overused themes such as the cop trying to retain the high status that he used too have and also the idiot cops getting in the way. That is also OK but the dialog made this interesting idea into a movie that was not so unfamiliar. Not much originality in here despite having such a unique character. That is always the script's fault whenever this happens. The writing and directing just made this movie so frustrating to watch.

You cannot blame the acting. You could see that Denzel Washington, already an established actor at that time, and Russell Crowe, not established, really tried to push this movie forward. Yet there was little to work with which made them look really average.

This movie could have been much better if it was made more into a action/drama about the our inner battles. Considering that SID 6.7 had 150 personalities the storyline of his character could have made him have a battle within himself. Now this was done to a minor level which really annoyed me. They are many other ideas or methods that could have really made this movie something but of course this did not happen. It went for cheap effects, an over used clichéd storyline with a little bit of a twist. That may work for some people but not for me.

I'am giving this movie a 6/10 rating because it had so much potential.
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A fun ride
Agent107 May 2002
The first great film for Russell Crowe, and a very interesting film to say the least. Cyber culture is rarely ever depicted in movies, but this was one of those films which brought some of these underground tendencies to light. What was even more interesting was how evil Sid 6.7 was. Crowe did an excellent job of portraying the demented cyber villain. I especially liked Denzel Washington, who always manages to be believable in his role when he doesn't try to be a ‘soul brotha.' Granted, the cinematography was pretty average as well as the music, but then again, the performance of the two main stars really made this film a winner.
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Virtual reality hits Hollywood, but Hollywood should sue
dfranzen7020 February 2000
So finally, after decades of futuristic scientists proclaiming that virtual reality will someday be here, it's here - sort of. Hollywood's always been a midwife for technology between the science industry and the common man, and in the area of virtual reality it's given us "Johhny Mnemonic" and this actioner, starring Denzel Washington.

Basic plot is this: The police have been using virtual reality as a training method, to test recruits. Before they use it on real cops, though, they draft crooks out of prison to act as guinea pigs. This is where Washington comes in. A former cop (how convenient), Washington's been rotting in jail for years. So the cops ask him to volunteer to be a part of the experiment, and of course he agrees - but the computer he's going to be downloaded into has other plans. The 'virtual' cops are supposed to face this tough criminal in the system, you see, but the computer's decided to combine all of the nasty characteristics of famous real-life killers - and then download itself into a real, sentient being (Russell Crowe). And of course it's up to our man Washington to save the day.

So there you have it, folks. It's a standard cops n robbers plot moved ahead a few centuries to take advantage of modern technology. Of course, it's set in the future, which here is portrayed as busy, grimy, a bit crime-riddled.. Hmm, a lot like the present, come to think of it, and not very inventive. And the effects are nothing special, either; you'd think with virtual reality being the centerpiece you'd see some dazzling special effects. Not really.

The cast is good, and Crowe turns in a solid (if a bit hammy, but most bad guys are, aren't they?) performance. Washington is no better or worse than usual, which means the real culprit is the script here. Do yourself a favor and wait for a two-for-one night at your video store to see this one.
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virtually forgettable escapades with Denzel & Russell
Bogmeister19 November 2005
Virtual Reality gets a look, following in the footsteps of "The Lawnmower Man." If you saw "The Matrix"(99) and were wondering where you glimpsed the VR scenery years earlier, it may have been in this pic. Here, Denzel gets to briefly run around inside a VR world, chasing after virtual killer Russell Crowe, known as Sid 6.7 (very close to 6.66, isn't it?). Sid 6.7 is the latest computer program, a conglomeration of about 200 serial killers & mass murderers, and so advanced it's virtually self-aware. The bulk of the picture takes place in the real world, to which Sid 6.7 manages to escape to with the help of very advanced nanotechnology. I believe this was supposed to take place slightly in the future (1999), but from our perspective, it's old hat and square. Everything looks outmoded and just old, except the strangely hi-tech VR and nanites.

It's also interesting, from the modern perspective, to view an early role of Crowe's, before he hit the A-List. He doesn't have much to play with here. His character doesn't have the luxury of falling back on deep psychological reasons for his murderous ways, because he's inhuman. He's simply the latest software given locomotion in the semblance of a human body. He's programmed to be the way he is - there's no choice involved on his part. There's a brief mention of his program evolving once in the real world, but there's no actual evidence of that. Once in the real world, it's a simplistic chase & destroy mission, with Denzel the only one in the city trained to stop him. Denzel, just getting on the A-List a couple of years earlier, is standard action hero here, driven by a brutal tragedy from before the film begins. The motivations for a couple of key supporting characters are suspect; the designer of Sid 6.7, for example, turns out to be almost as psychotic, but it's hard to believe no one noticed this before (was he influenced by the software?). Fichtner, as a government aide, has the most thankless role, as an idiotic bureaucrat. The child actress playing the daughter of Lynch's character went on to teenage bombshell roles in TV series, the latest being "Charmed."
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Fairly interesting, although both stars have done better.
lee_eisenberg7 April 2006
For the most part, "Virtuosity" is basically another virtual reality-themed movie so full of action that it almost hurts. But interestingly enough, there is a little bit of a plot here. Denzel Washington plays Lt. Parker Barnes, who has to help find SID 6.7 (Russell Crowe), a virtual serial killer who has escaped into the real world in 1999 LA.

Yes, that certainly sounds like it could degenerate into the kind of garbage that Hollywood usually turns out. Much of the movie is in fact vaguely reminiscent of movies like "Demolition Man". But maybe we can interpret the movie as looking at the dangers of letting technology get too powerful, like what "2001: A Space Odyssey" looked at. Obviously, this isn't even remotely in the same league as that one, but given that it was released in 1995, it almost seems like a prediction of how computer-centric the world would become.

Not a masterpiece by any stretch - both Washington and Crowe have done much better work (and now they're both Oscar winners) - but worth seeing, if only once.
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Virtually Weird and Totally Crazy!
buckikris15 April 2012
I bought this film awhile back for 50 cents on Amazon, just because William Fichtner was in it. I think he is a talented actor, who ranked up there among the best like Washington, Ford, Connery, etc.. Yes i am a huge Fichnter fan and he and Washington made it tolerable to watch this weird and unrealistic film. I am not a Russell Crowe fan at all, like his character SID 6.7, Crowe is so full of himself it's pathetic. First off the film is bazaar, it has to take place 15 years or more into the future. Think about it what police department would spend that kind of money on a virtual reality program to train their police officers. It a fact a computer can only train officer so much, while most of the training is done with real instructors; and real police academy students. I watched this movie again last night and didn't know whether to classify it as a comedy or Sci-Fi. I think the reason why I gave it a 6 star rating is because it does have some humor to it. As for paying money to see it at the theater, I'm glad I didn't. I then found out it was form the same director as the one who made Lawnmower Man, and that movie was more of a mistake than Virtuosity. THX, Kris L. CocKayne
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The best violent video game ever made!
dee.reid22 May 2002
"Virtuosity" plays out a lot like any ultra-violent video game. Denzel Washington plays the hero Parker Barnes while an over-the-top Russell Crowe plays Sid 6.7, the villain. The setting is futuristic Los Angeles. The story is that a hostile computer program (Sid 6.7) has escaped cyberspace and has assumed human form and an incarcerated cop (Barnes) is the only person who can stop him. Sid 6.7 craves media attention, as he is the composite of 183+ serial killers including Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, and the man who murdered Parker's wife and daughter. Sid constantly uses taunts to try to get Parker to slip up and leaves a trail of dead bodies as well. The protagonist is played much like any other, he's vulnerable and is determined to stop the villain. The antagonist is like any classic villain, completely over-the-top and only exists to be beaten. However, Sid is not like most video game villains. Sid is nearly invincible because he is not human, but a machine. In addition to that, he can regenerate his injuries by using the silicon properties of glass. This proves to be quite a challenge for Parker as it makes defeating Sid very difficult. In the end, this advantage is also Sid's only weakness: the larger his injuries, the longer time it will take to regenerate and the easier it is for him to be defeated.

Now some people may view "Virtuosity" to be, at best, ultra-violent entertainment, which it is not. This film is actually a lot more than that. What "Virtuosity" is trying to show us, is how truly f****d up our society has or will become. The best example of this is during the "Death T.V." scene when Sid 6.7 holds a television studio hostage. During this scene, the camera makes numerous cuts to computer screens that are showing the television ratings. Note that when Sid 6.7 first takes over the studio, that the very low ratings suddenly skyrocket. From this evidence, one can only conclude that our society thrives on violence. In this case, Sid is not the real villain here. All Sid is doing, is giving us what we want, but can never get, which is violence in all its purity and unrestrained quality.

So, in the words of Sid 6.7:

"You won't be able to take your eyes off the screen."
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Russell Crowe hits us Smack in the face with his talent
dhutton8 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
If you're looking for early USA Crowe and want to see him showing off his talent, this is a great flick! The character of Sid 6.7 would have faired dismally in anyone else's hands, and the movie's success is based completely on Crowe's now-legendary ability. There's one scene, where he is taunting Denzel Washington with the fact that he (Crowe) has the memories of the man who murdered his (Washington's) family and his bubbling little laugh while saying the line, "Just because I'm holding the memory of killing your family inside me, doesn't mean we can't be friends." is such a fantastically subtle touch! The laugh is one of uncontainable delight, something no other actor would have thought to do. The action sequences are taut and Sid's great delight in himself, are perfect set-ups for the film's well-thought-out conclusion.
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Denzel Washington picks Russell Crowe
wes-connors23 August 2011
In the futuristic world of 1999, former policeman Denzel Washington (as Parker Barnes) is released from prison to help catch "virtual reality" android run amok Russell Crowe (as S.I.D. 6.7). At a disadvantage with only a bionic arm, Mr. Washington makes up the difference in determination. He is assisted by Los Angeles blonde Kelly Lynch (as Madison Carter), who comes with a vulnerable nine-year-old daughter. Watch out, Kaley Cuoco, for the man from the cable company. Washington and others keep trying to stop Mr. Crowe with ordinary bullets. Crowe bares his firm buttocks for Stephen Spinella (as Daryl Lindenmeyer). Crowe gets a kick out of killing people, and eats glass to rejuvenate.

***** Virtuosity (8/4/95) Brett Leonard ~ Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Kelly Lynch, Stephen Spinella
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When a cyborg is the most interesting character...
Boyo-220 May 2002 know you're in trouble.

Russell Crowe is joyfully over the top as an escaped criminal from cyber-world. He makes the most of it, and its a good thing, too, since the rest of the people onscreen are so deadly boring that his coming to 'our' world in order to destroy seems like a good idea.

Denzel is at his most humorless and looks silly in a leather cop outfit - he looks like he's going to a Halloween party thrown by Ian McKellan. He is recruited to find Sid 6.7, who was inexplicably brought to this world by evil little Stephen Spinella, and kill him. Denzel had confronted Sid 6.7 in cyberworld and they didn't exactly share a laugh. Sid is many criminals all in one body, and by no small coincidence, one of them killed Denzel's wife and child.

Its very violent and even sadistic and you've seen it before, and if you didn't, you didn't miss out on that much. Crowe is a like "The Terminator" but with better clothes. Denzel is like Linda Hamilton who was equally one-note. Kelly Lynch is along for the ride, along with Louise Fletcher, William Fitchner, Kevin J. O'Connor and William Forsythe.

3/10, all for Rusty's chewing of the scenery. Someone had to keep the audience interested, so he did more than anyone else involved.
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" There are worlds beyond your comprehension, wherein I am God "
thinker169121 August 2010
Just when you think you have seen the last of a movie, the unimaginative producers gather enough cash to re-make a film which has already been seen. In 1991, with John Lithgow playing the heavy, Denzel Washington was the puppet in a movie called 'Ricochet.' It is now five years later and once again Mr. Washington is taken for a violent ride in this Brett Leonard film called " Virtuosity. " Writer Eric Bernt has reached into his fertile imagination and created a Virtual Frankstein called SID 6.7 (Russell Crowe). The story is that under computer expert, Lindenmeyer (Stephen Spinella) a creative genius, a super criminal called SID, once confined within a virtual world has escaped. With Police Chief Cochran (William Forsythe, finally playing a Good-guy), oversees, Lt. Parker Barnes, (Denzel Washington) a former detective as he sets out to recapture an impervious maniacal Android. Each place Sid arrives at, he creates fears, destruction, mounting murders and general mayhem. It's up to Barnes to capture or destroy SID before he lays waste to the city. With Louise Fletcher and Kelly Lynch in supporting roles, this movie is from start to finish a real shoot-em-up action and excitement offering. Perhaps now with its completion we might have an opening for NEW ideas and give Mr, Washington a real challenging role. ****
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Mundane with a twist
sychonic25 May 2002
This is, when stripped of all the nifty cyber elements, just another

chase movie. No question some things pique an interest, in

particular the rather attractive woman in black lace undergarments

playing a cyber creation. And for the ladies, I guess Russell

Crowe seen from the rear, so to speak, without clothes might have

its positives. But when i all comes down to the end, the what we've

gotten is mostly Denzel Washington (in one of his worst

performances) chasing after Crowe and using what now, only

seven years later, seems rather primitive computer generated


It's not without redeeming value, it's just another action movie with

good guy going through all kinds of heavy breathing to catch up

with bad guy. In this case, the bad guy is very bad and played with

gleeful menace by Crowe. It's in the mid range of movies, only

thing setting it apart is the Star Trek like (think holodeck) moments

where you don't know if it's real or cyberspace.
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a predictable yarn with some better than expected action and surprising acting
MisterWhiplash21 September 2010
Brett Leonard is a name that has fallen by the wayside, and, maybe rightfully so. The director of such a film as The Lawnmower Man didn't really make anything of note since this film Virtuosity (unless one counts Highlander 5: The Source to be of actual quality which is hard to argue for), but there was a time when he knew where to put the camera and shoot as far as action and competency with his actors. The plot of Virtuosity is cut out of other movies to be sure, and would be again (one may be reminded of 12 Monkeys with its convicted man put on a mission by his captors, or even by Batman with its anti-hero and psychotic villain creating chaos all over the city), but, perhaps if only in retrospect, the movies carries some solid entertainment in the near-mindless tradition of loud, stupid Hollywood science fiction movies of the 90's. It's like John Woo lite.

There isn't much to the plot except that a former detective (Washington) in prison for killing a man, and a few others, one of whom responsible for the death of his wife and daughter, is put into a virtual reality simulation against a psychotic being (Crowe), who is let into the real world by an asswipe who wants to get back at his bosses or something, and now the mano-a-mano is on in the real world (and, another former movie reference, Escape from NY: finish the mission, get a full pardon, but don't mind the chip in your head that might kill you). The plot is cookie cutter, and there is lack of motivation to some of the action until the over the top climax comes around. But within the silly context of things, it does make sense. And for those who may be tired of the super-fast action cutting of today's product (Bourne, Transformers, Expendables), it is a relief to be able to see what's going on.

Will it be amazing for everyone? Probably not. It does have generic plotting and the very end is close to a cop-out. But one big factor in my enjoyment of Virtuosity, on top of the decent action, were the stars, Washington and especially Crowe. The latter gives a performance that is surprising considering where he went to for the rest of his Hollywood career. This is an actor with a lot to prove, and it's ironic considering Crowe is having more diabolical fun as a Terminator-cum-Joker than he has had in most other more serious action oriented roles. Sometimes his mannerisms make the stakes a little crazier, or simply the way he acts across from stoic and concerned Washington that makes it work so. Strange as it might seem, it's really one of Crowe's finest performances, true to the wonky nature of the character and just wicked fun. It's like Crowe's imitation of a Rutger Hauer performance, which is a sight to see on its own.

Certainly it's no masterpiece, but Virtuosity has its charms and moments of excitement. It's likely the highpoint of Leonard's career, which may not be saying much, but putting together cool virtual reality sequences (the opening is most thrilling) and two high-caliber stars makes for some fun Saturday afternoon viewing.
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To think that this was so close to having something to say
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews21 September 2009
It's not difficult to tell that this was directed by the same guy as The Lawnmower man was. VR hits the big screen... uh, again. And it's about equally as painful as last time, meaning, it's got moments. It looks better this time around, if the effects today are fairly dated. If all you're looking for is a decent action flick with CGI and high tempo rock/techno beats pumping, look no further. This is fun enough. For me, however, there aren't enough excellent films out there to justify wasting such potential as this. I mean, really, if this was handled at least a little better, it could truly provide food for thought and provoke, especially if the mainstream approach of this was kept somewhat intact. But the point of our attraction to violence is muddled when this begins to be gratuitous, graphic and brutal in its depiction of such, and this never seems to dare tricking the audience into thinking that what they're looking at is the reality of the flick and not a simulation, as it's simply always obvious, so that philosophical topic remains basically untouched here, as well. The plot is fine, if fairly predictable. A serial killer program escapes the computer into a human-looking body consisting of nanites, and a former cop is sent to get him. The acting is pretty good, mostly. Washington is less great than usual. Crowe hams it up like a Schumacher Batman villain. The cinematography and editing are standard. Apart from what I've already mentioned, this has infrequent strong language and disturbing content. The DVD comes with a theatrical trailer. I recommend this to those merely searching for something that's reasonably entertaining. 6/10
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The Good And The Bad
ReelCheese2 September 2007
First the bad news. VIRTUOSITY has some of the most painfully predictable plot elements to come out of any theatrical release of the 1990s. Denzel Washington's Parker Barnes, hired to track down a virtual villain let loose in the real world, is, surprise, himself an ex-cop. The villain in question, Russell Crowe's SID 6.7, is a composite of dozens of murderers, including, surprise, the killer of Barnes' wife and daughter. And you just know as soon as you see the young daughter of Barnes' sidekick that he'll have to save her from a diabolical plot concocted by SID (which he does). Moreover, the special effects are surprisingly straight-to-DVD-like, even by 1995 standards. And Crowe's over-the-top bad guy is just too much at times, though perhaps that was the point.

But there are some good things to be said about VIRTUOSITY. Washington's performance is nearly the saving grace the film needs, even though our star sometimes seems to be asking the same question as the audience: What is he doing in a picture like this? VIRTUOSITY also has a fun cat-and-mouse quality, and despite some absurdities and aforementioned clichés, the imaginative storyline sporadically catches our imagination. If nothing else, it certainly marks a departure for Washington, who has played the good cop countless times in his career. Director Brett Leonard keeps things moving at a reasonable pace, though the film sometimes feels a bit too much like THE LAWNMOWER MAN, his highly disappointing entry from three years prior.

VIRTUOSITY is not a completely lost cause, but it is stunningly average considering the talent involved. Sci-fi fans will probably appreciate it more than most.
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Pathetic film that tries too hard
Tones-316 February 1999
Virtuosity could have been a good film. The basic premise of the plot is very interesting. A computer generated villain on the loose in a modern society has all the signs of a great action film. But then the one basic premise does not create a great film. And as a result when you add pretty ordinary acting, cliched special effects and action sequences and a really poor script that just tries too hard to be cool you come away with a really poor film. 4/10
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This movie is so bad you know not to watch it!
mm-3920 August 2002
This movie is so bad you know not to watch it, and my wife rented it not me. After Sunday dinner, at my mothers. my dad and I watched it. I could not believe that someone said Washington should have won an award for this film. A stupid story, how could this guy come to life; this is like the Holldeck in Star Treck. Why did they keep using such a dangerious device. The best part of the movie was the credits. I though it would never end. 2/10
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Dated sci-fi thrills with one irritating villain
Leofwine_draca27 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Yet another example of a high budget, low intelligence blockbuster movie where the plot suffers at the expense of an action sequence inserted in every ten minutes, usually involving lots of shooting and special effects. While I have nothing against action films, I usually like a bit of intrigue and clever plotting to help move things along. Not so in this film.

The sole reason to watch is for the special effects, of which there are lots, as the film uses virtual reality as a basis (much like its predecessor, THE LAWNMOWER MAN). The best scenes are the ones where SID is maimed/badly injured, and his limbs regenerate with the help of glass. These scenes are cleverly done, although of course they do borrow from TERMINATOR 2 (speaking of borrowing, the green blood inside SID is strangely reminiscent of the green-blooded androids in FORTRESS). At the end of the film there is a brilliant bit where SID is thrown through glass ceilings and his arms and legs are all cut off. However, they begin to grow back again.

Denzel Washington is the star of this film, somewhat surprisingly. Firstly I thought he only appeared in high-class, intelligent movies, but obviously not. The second surprising fact is his muscular, perfect physique. Now the slim Washington is not someone I would immediately suspect of possessing a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger's, so I presume that it was in fact a bodysuit that the actor was wearing. Still, I can't be sure. Washington is a good actor and is fine in his role, but Russell Crowe, as the villain, is very obnoxious (intentional) to the extent that he made me want to switch off. Not the intended reaction I'm sure. Crowe is another Freddy Krueger clone who continually makes stupid, lame wisecracks which will appeal to moronic teenagers, which I for one am not.

Kelly Lynch is the expected love interest but is not given much to do, appearing more like a second-rate Scully than anything else. And there we have it. While the action and special effects aren't half bad (in fact, they're quite enjoyable), the film is a clichéd mess to be watched with the brain switched firmly off. And if Crowe hadn't been quite so irritating it might have got a higher score.
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Funny, Witty, Unrealistic
NYFilmCritic26 September 2001
If you go into a science fiction film looking for realism, then you're not someone who'll truly enjoy it's purpose. Science Fiction is purely there to present a "What If" scenario. If what you're looking for reality, watch a documentary. I personally I'm not a sci-Fi fan,however, I found myself completely entertained by this film. Crowe's performance as the over the top, arrogant, ego driven Sid 6.7 was dead on. He captured Sid's deity complex to the letter. But so much so, that I found him disturbingly charismatic. I actually found myself rooting for the bad guy. Washington, who by the way took a giant leap into sci-fi with this film, was great as the brooding but confident inmate Barnes. Lynch was my only true complaint about this film. Although she is a strong actress, she was wasted in this role. The role needed someone who was psychologically strong, Lynch, despite her background (her dad is "Twin Peaks" creator David Lynch), was devoid of any true criminal intelligence, I still don't understand why she was cast in the part. Many avid sci-fi fans will notice the writer pays homage to many classic sci-fi films like "Bladerunner" and of course, Stephen King's "Running Man". (Sid hosts "Death TV") All in all, a valiant effort by writer, director and actors. But the female lead could have been much better. I think as far as sci-fi goes, fans will all do what Sid says, and "Say Thank You".
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many flaws, one major redemption
negeati12 April 2000
"Virtuosity" represents familiar ground for director Brett Leonard. He dealt with virtual reality in the astonishingly awful "Lawnmower Man". This time, the special effects are more elaborate and successful but they are not state-of-art, even for a 1995 movie. The plot is also ordinary: how many times has a special man been sent to stop an almost unkillable murderer. However there are two twists to the formula: the first one is that the killer is a virtual killer, the second one is that he is played by Russell Crowe.

In 1995, Russell was "virtually" unknown. Right now, he is one of the most important actors in Hollywood, next to Mel Gibson, Kevin Spacey and his co-star from this movie, Denzel Washinton. What makes Russell an unusual choice for this role is that beside being incredibly good-looking (all that his Sid 6.7 would have needed), he is also tremendously talented (look at his Oscar nomination for "The Insider"). But it is his talent that gives Sid 6.7 life. He plays his character with a complete over-the-top flamboyance, which makes him even more interesting that Denzel Washington. Russell has a lot of fun in creating Sid.

The other performers mediocre or bland. Denzel Washington is boring as the hero, and the usually impressive Louise Fletcher is completely forgettable as L.A.'s Attorney General. A huge mistake was Kelly Linch. Her character doesn't do anything important, except just to be in the way of the two main characters. She is indeed the mother of the little girl, that Sid uses ultimately in trying to kill Parker Barnes (played by Washington). But it could have been any little girl. Linch gets so little character development that we couldn't care less for her.

Overall, the movie is entertaining, but only because of Russell Crowe. 7/10.
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"Killing is your natural instinct"
pzivojinovic22 May 2016
It's not a blockbuster, true. However, it's far from "yawn-inducing spawn of Lawnmover 2" and other futuristic crap about nano-technology and cyberspace. There are plot-holes, but show me similar movie without any. Indeed, the plot is not mind-wracking: an omnipotent killer (R.C.) from cyber-space, created for cops' training by some secret government organization, breaks loose, and only an imprisoned ex-cop (D.W.) whose family has perished in an explosion from another terrorist, can stop him. D.W. has been much blamed by other reviewers for giving "wooden" and "flat" performance, which is rather unjust. He delivers what's expected of him: a positive hero, tortured by memories and own guilt, being used by the government that promises him freedom if he stops their creation.

However, for those that love action, there is plenty of this to keep the excitement levels raised. Our brilliant villain uses the analogy of music to give an "artistic" touch to his heinous crimes. The two main actors give a remarkable performance of extreme mockery from Russel, and black rage from Denzel. Because of the well treated source material, the quality of acting, and set design I think it's worth it.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
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Virtuous Mayhem
SoapboxQuantez0829 February 2016
This film could be called a cross between Copycat and Terminator 2, but it's so much more than that. This is a film that wound up losing money, and I have 3 explanations for it. First: Sid is an over-the-top villain (almost joker-esque), which is rather off-beat for a cyber-entity. Second: The music is arguably inappropriate, and is often less-than-serious. Third: Many thrillers came out in 1995, so there was a lot of competition, to the point where this time was seemingly a harsh year for thrillers to get good reviews (Lord of Illusions, my next fave '95 film, has lackluster reviews as well). In his own words, Sid 6.7 "likes to play games". Knowing he has an existential advantage due to his regenerating prowess, he primarily focuses on taunting ex-cop Barnes with abandon, taking any hostage at his disposition. All said, Virtuosity is a tremendously entertaining cyber-thriller that is a roller-coaster of mayhem.
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