The basic idea for Vice of a leisure centre where androids can be used to fulfil a person"s desires is stolen from directly from Westworld (1973). In fact, Vice with its idea of an android gaining awareness of its own identity and plotting an escape uncannily mirrors many of the plot elements in the subsequent tv series remake of Westworld (2016 ). Vice starts with a great hook where barmaid Ambyr Childers is leaving work with her bestie Charlotte Kirk and a guy who had crudely come onto them before suddenly reappears, pulls a gun and shoots Charlotte, before throwing Ambyr down across a car hood (presumably to rape her) as all the while bystanders look on doing nothing, before the next scene pulls back to reveal that the two girls are actually androids in a simulation.
Unfortunately, after such an attention-grabbing start, Vice quickly takes a dive down into bad movie stakes. Any interest in Ambyr"s growing intelligence as a self-aware machine and awareness of her created purpose is shunted aside. Indeed, despite the intriguing title Vice and the idea that people use the simulation to let out all their worst urges and much railing against this by Thomas Jane"s detective, we get almost nothing that shows us what people get up to inside the simulations. Very quickly Vice only becomes a film about Ambyr on the run being shot at by people with a good deal of artillery and the trail as detective Thomas Jane sets out on to find her.
In fact, Vice becomes such a stupid film that you can almost imagine that it acted as a boilerplate for the writers of tv"s Westworld to sit down and think Well that seems utterly ridiculous, what would any sane systems designer do to prevent it from happening? Almost as rebuttal, it would seem, they came up with logical solutions like the androids having a built-in controller that stops them from leaving the facility, as well as programming imperatives that prevent them from harming humans and logical safety mechanisms such as a password codephrase that switches them off. All of which, if implemented, would have ended Vice in about the first fifteen minutes. Although the most laugh-out-loud-in-your-seat scene is where super-hacker Brett Granstaff manages to not only erase all record of Ambyr Childers and her DNA donor but also create a fake passport for her in about two minutes flat.
The more you watch of the film, the more disappointing it becomes. It is only conceived as an action vehicle, at which Brian A. Miller delivers some routinely competent sequences. For all that he is top-billed, Bruce Willis is more of a secondary supporting character this is a film that features the oddity of the top-billed actor playing the character that would be the villain in another film. You get the impression that Willis filmed most of his scenes in a few days on a limited number of sets. The real star of the show is Thomas Jane, an actor who seems to perpetually adopt the persona of a burned-out middle-aged rocker in everything he does. Jane is okay in the part for what is required of him. If the rest of the show had been up to par, it might have worked around the two of them.