It's always hard to review a film that at heart is a decent film, but one that suffers from many of the problems associated with films of this type. Debug falls into this category. There is a really good film desperate to burst out from the trappings of clichés, poor budget and some really crazy and at times annoying plot points.
Welcome to the future, where a team of intrepid salvage workers go around rescuing old ships from cold vacuum of space. Unlike most salvage teams, this motley crew is not made up of tired space weary salvage operatives so beloved by the genre, as seen in such classics such as Alien and Event Horizon, two films that this film cheekily riffs on. What we have here is a team made up of criminal cyber hackers, forced into doing this sort of thing to lessen their sentences.
What seems to be a routine mission quickly turns into a fight for survival against a psychotic artificial intelligence as if there is any other kind. Trapped on the ship the only way for our heroes to survive is to defeat the rather oddly named IAm.
Thankfully this team doesn't take too long for the action to start, and for the most part the action, death scenes and the acting are of decent quality. Let’s be clear here this is a low budget film, and for that it can be forgiven for a lot of things. This isn't a stellar cast of respected actors. For the most part these are relatively unknowns who manage to hold their own during the film. The main problem with the cast lies in the portrayal of IAm by Jason Momoa. I can't put my finger on exactly what makes this a cheese fest, it's either the costume he wears or it’s the really appalling hair style he sports for the role. These combined with a performance that is more pantomime dame than evil AI, robs IAm of any real menace.
The film also suffers from some problems faced by most films of this type. For example, wouldn't it be nice to have an AI that isn't a psycho. The film would have worked better if they had to face a run of mill monster, or a crazed lone member of the ship’s crew. And why, why do the designers of these interstellar spacecraft must put the safety switch for the AI in the most inaccessible of all places. Have these designers and programmers never watched a science fiction film. If I was building a spaceship with an AI, I'd have an override button every three feet.
It may seem that this film really isn't worth your time or money based on what has been said above. And I could forgive you for thinking this, however after watching this film I got the impression that the filmmakers were doing something that a lot of modern filmmakers fail to do. They actually tried to make a good film. I get the feeling that with a bit more experience and a better budget, they are capable of making a really good film. Despite the obvious flaws this was still an entertaining film, helped with some neat Lawnmower Man touches and some nice death scenes.
Debug may not be original, it may not even be that well made, but it is still a decent way to spend a rainy afternoon.