Code 8 Part 2 Review

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Summary

  • Robbie and Stephen Amell shine as Connor and Garrett, playing off each other well on screen.
  • The robotic villains are impressively designed and add depth to the sci-fi narrative.
  • Emotional storytelling falters; character reactions to key plot points feel misaligned and hollow.



With both actors prominently stepping into more diverse roles since their days on the CW Network as the DC-based characters of The Green Arrow and Firestorm, the Amell cousins have made quite a considerable name for themselves. Robert Amell is currently finding success in a fantastical comedy-drama over on Prime Video called Upload (which is currently awaiting a season four announcement). Meanwhile, Stephen Amell just recently dramatized his love for professional wrestling by starring in a two-season show over on Starz called Heels. Always looking to add another creative layer to their careers, Robert and Stephen Amell have reunited once more as their characters Connor Reed and Garrett Kelton for Netflix’s Code 8: Part II.


Just like in the original 2019 film, the sequel is set in Lincoln City where four percent of people wield some sort of superpower. Between the gifted individuals and the rise of a new drug called Pyske (which is grotesquely extracted from these same naturally enhanced beings), the police have felt the need to step up with more intuitive counteractive measures. First, the cyborgs deemed Guardians came into play. Now, they are making use of a new technology — faster and more proactive K-9 robots. When a young girl named Pavani witnesses one of these four-legged androids kill her brother, Connor not only seeks to protect her but also has to enlist Garrett’s help in doing so.

Part Two ends up giving us the same level of excitement as the first (if not more), but in doing so, less time is spent on fleshing out characters appropriately.


Code 8 Is Dedicated to Robotic Details

Code 8 Part 2 poster

Code 8: Part II

3/5

Release Date
February 28, 2024

Director
Jeff Chan

Runtime
100 min

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Pros

  • Robbie Amell and Stephen Amell are great together and play these characters well.
  • The imaginative design of the robotic villains is excellent.
Cons

  • The film is sabotaged by how it handles the emotional narrative.
  • Some weird tonal choices and illogical decisions mess with an otherwise strong ending.


Quite early on in the film, viewers are introduced to Pav, her brother Tarak, and the impoverished community that they live in. Pushed over the edge when Pav tells her that she can’t afford to continue her education, Tarak intercepts a cache of money that was intended to go from Garrett’s gang to the LCPD. Even though the robotic K9 was showcased a little earlier on, this sequence really helps to highlight the machine even better.

Without a doubt, one of the most impressive details of Code 8: Part II is the imaginative design of the Guardians and the K9’s, both visually and aurally. The audience not only hears every mechanical step they take but also how this movement interacts with the material that it is stepping on. You can hear and really feel the force a K9 gives when running through an abandoned warehouse while searching for Tarak. It especially helps that this scene is early on, as these specific motions help the audience to understand how dangerous and daunting this new technology is. Related: Best Dirty Cop Movies of All Time, Ranked


Along with the mechanical villains, Robbie and Stephen Amell do a phenomenal job of naturally contrasting one another on screen. Those who are well versed in the latter cousin’s days of being the protector of Star City on CW’s Arrow will see that the actor leans into these past mannerisms sometimes when Garrett gets overly tense. The more aggressive shades of the former heroic character blend right into this current role, being both a protagonist and an antagonist.

Robbie, on the other hand, never deviates from being the hero. His need to protect Pav and somehow find a way to bring justice for her slain brother is always a good counterpart to Garrett’s morally clouded judgment and Sergeant Kingston’s corrupt police force. On the other hand, the character of Pav is written in a very misaligned way that detracts from the enjoyment of Code 8: Part II.


Code 8’s Emotional Core Is Hollow and Misaligned

While actress Sirena Gulamguas plays a rather reserved and muted Pavani (as it should be, the young character is thrust into a dangerous situation), there is also never a scene where she explicitly reacts to her brother’s death. She yells when the K-9 is about to attack her, and she also overreacts when she feels like Connor’s plan is going awry, but she seems indifferent to the core element of the plot, her brother’s death. The only time we see her processing or acknowledging Tarak and his death is when she hesitantly participates in a memory wiping trance with one of Garrett’s underlings. Related: 10 Best Films About Androids, Ranked


But the problem with that specific scene is that it is more memorable for an entirely different reason (and albeit confusing). The audience is introduced to an associate of Garrett’s who will mind-wipe Pav so that she cannot remember her brother’s death. The room is filled with glowing rocks, some of which are slowly placed in a hollow dish of water.

With almost spiritual and astral themes suddenly filling the environment, the otherwise emotional flashbacks of her and her brother enjoying each other’s company are all but skimmed over due to what’s going on in the present. There just isn’t enough time to comprehend the intense situation that Pav is going through; any visuals of her grief are clouded by the bizarre New Age creativity of this scene. The only time we see her authenticity actually shine through is with another supporting character’s death — who isn’t even a relative to her. Ultimately, Pav and her relationship to the film’s emotional core, her brother’s death, is poorly written and acted, and we don’t care much about it in return.


Part II Knows How to Pace Itself

Even through quite a bleak storyline about future societies, director Jeff Chan and writer Chris Paré do find the time to show off a bit more range for the Amell cousin’s characters. Subduing the uneasiness for just a moment (which is nice when it comes to a tense, almost two-hour movie like this), both of the main personalities end up having to act like innocent union reps in order to get inside Kingston’s home and retrieve a vital piece of evidence. With a new charm about them and even a little bit of a comedic shtick tacked on, this calms the situation and lets the film slide right into the action-packed conclusion. Related: Best Dystopian Movies of All Time, Ranked


The sequel’s ending does well in living up to the raised stakes. Unlike the original that circled around the personal lives of Connor and Garrett, Part Two’s closing act does more by roping in not only the LCPD but an entire apartment complex, many other super-powered individuals, and numerous newspaper journalists all at once. The main villain’s desperation to gain one last upper hand in the climax just about breaks the movie though, as these actions (if they took place) would just about destroy his entire reputation (which he has done so much to protect).

Even though there are some difficulties with the movie’s structural integrity, Code 8: Part II still works with the help of the Amell cousins and the design and cinematic application of its police robots. Interestingly enough, there are also numerous teases about Garrett’s past that would surely fill in the blanks for a third entry.


From XYZ Films and Collective Pictures, Code 8: Part II is now available to stream on Netflix through the link below:

Watch Code 8: Part II

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