Code 8: Part II (2024)

Code 8: Part II Review

Code 8: Part II

An anti-police sci-fi action film by Jeff Chan, ‘Code 8’ was released in the spring of 2020. It was produced and starred by cousins Robbie and Stephen Amell. Despite being a timely movie with relevant themes, it went largely unnoticed. A sequel series was planned but it fell apart with Quibi’s collapse; however, there has been a new Netflix-backed installment for the franchise. Similarly to its predecessor, ‘Code 8: Part II’ uses its high concept sci-fi to criticize the increasing violence of the militarized police state, especially in the age of surveillance.

Five years have passed since the first film took place and Robbie Amell portrays Connor who is just out of prison after being a small-time crook. Garrett is played by Stephen Amell who partnered with Connor to save his dying mother through crime as well as drug trafficking within Lincoln City — where only 4% are Powers (people with superpowers). These residents are treated like second-class citizens; they live below poverty lines while being heavily policed.

In part one we saw that many powered individuals either had to hide their powers or turn towards criminal activities for survival due to this marginalized existence enforced upon them by society itself; moreover, an addictive substance named Psyke was created from their spinal fluid which acted as another source for deals between corrupt cops among other things such as smuggling etcetera.

Connor’s story collided with Officer Park (Sung Kang) a good-hearted cop whose eyes were opened to corruption within his own department after working alongside Connor; in which he served “Part II” wants us not only look at how far these bad apples go up but also examines this rotten system through ambitious Sergeant “King” Kingston (Alex Mallari Jr.) who has instituted new robotic K9 program (clearly inspired from creepy NYPD robot dogs) replacing more violent robotic guardians that had been killing powereds indiscriminately during previous installment while having Psyke business as part of his empire too.

King throws a block party to introduce the K9 robot cops to the community, one named Piper. When Tarak’s (Sammy Azero) runner is killed by one of them even though they were designed not to harm but contain, it becomes clear that these robots can be commanded by a human officer to kill; so does Tarak’s fourteen-year-old sister Pavi (Sirena Gulamgaus). Being transducer, Pavi is able disrupt/disable K9 unit and transmit its incriminating video which proves cops lied about their non-violent solution for keeping peace in Lincoln City.

This leads King wanting her dead and Connor must team up with Garrett in order to keep her safe; also there are more twists & turns as Garrett continues playing both sides between drug business/helping his community/keeping cops away conflicted Officer Park doesn’t appear this time around but his partner Officer Davis (Aaron Abrams) does whose role is underwritten here really badly positioning him as ally for Connor sends mixed message on what film thinks about police: Is this another bad apple or whole system rotten? As movie barrels towards its climax answer remains unknown yet obvious.

The problem is that the plot isn’t as tight as it was in the first movie, which was exclusively written by Chris Paré. This time around, he shares writing credits with Chan, Sherren Lee and Jesse LaVercombe perhaps there are too many cooks this go-round but Chan’s visual world-building remains strong. The whole film feels big and Rust Belty from the dilapidated community center where Conor works as a janitor to the greasy spoon diner where he meets up with Garett. Everything is gray and cold and bleak.

The action sequences remain cheesy but fun, with both Amells clearly having committed deeply to the bit, moving objects at their will or harnessing the power of lightning with complete seriousness. A sequence featuring a powered named Tamera (Jessica Allen), who can erase memories, is a standout in terms of mood and tension; Connor’s boss Mina (Jean Yoon), who can repel bullets, is also a welcome new addition.

But if the first film found balance between its heist plot and human moments between Connor and his mother, “Part II” can’t seem to find time to actually sit with these characters so that we care about them or any of the lives they’re trying to lead outside of being heavily policed. Every conversation serves another plot point here, a piece of exposition there. The brothers do their best to add depth but just aren’t given enough time for their characters to breathe. A twist toward the end involving King comes out of nowhere, revealing a deeper critique of assimilation over community that I wish had been more thoroughly explored earlier.

And so while it’s admirable that “Code 8: Part II” sets out to take on militarized police states not just themselves but also propaganda movies its final sequence hinges on the idea that revealing damning footage of corruption and state-sanctioned violence could actually lead to punishment for the officers involved and reforms to the system itself. If the last four years have taught us anything, neither of those things are true. I don’t know if it says more about the state of the world or the movie that the least believable thing about it is a city defunding its police in favor of funding a community center that’s just not a thing that happens. I don’t know, maybe this is just the kind of hopeful speculative fiction we need right now.

Watch Code 8: Part II For Free On Gomovies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top