Sync (2012)

I suspect it may just be a momentary window of opportunity, but filmmakers these days have a number of new ways to market and distribute their work.

Which is probably just as well when you remember how  the excellent but not exactly everyday viewer oriented Blade Runner 2049 got stuck on the biggest screens available for weeks even though no one was watching, until the distributors finally relented and let the theater owners show something else.

That doesn’t leave a lot of room for any films that can’t afford to book thousands of theaters.  It definitely makes more modest (and, hopefully, less corporate controlled) models, like VOD seem far more attractive.

At least for now.

Sync started life as a series of nine-minute webisodes on YouTube’s Bammo premium channel. YouTube hoped that they could compete with network TV, and it is impressive that its producers and directors, Corridor Digital (a.k.a. Sam Gorski and Niko Pueringer) created a handsome, well-mounted action/adventure series on an extremely modest budget.

While it starts off in somewhat familiar territory, the secret agent with a unique ability, the opening sequence gives it an interesting twist, with Charlie Cooper (Tanner Thomason) using his ability to instantly download his consciousness into a new, biomechanical body in a particularly outrageous sort of way.  However, the story promptly heads into stranger territory, as Charlie has to cope with a devastating new virus that leaves him facing his own mortality, sending him on the run with a young Chinese girl who might hold the key to defeating the unknown enemy he is fighting.

All this, and somehow he has to deal with the problems of romance without telling his girl what it is he does for a living…

If you didn’t know that this had been put together from a series of webisodes into a hundred minute movie, you probably wouldn’t figure it out, as it doesn’t have the episodic rhythm you would expect.  While the action scenes are well done and far, far more ambitious than one would expect from an online series, to me it seems to end up at about the level of a TV series rather than a movie — and that would sum up the general flavor of the resulting film, as well.  Admittedly, it changes the basic situation far more than a TV series would dare, and does wrap things up (although one could easily imagine more adventures for Charlie, albeit very different ones).

Tanner Thomason makes a very personable sort of hero, and the acting is all excellent.  Overall, this is a very well made production, and it certainly gives us all hope for the future of this sort of original online material.

Although it does seem unlikely that much of it will be as solid and entertaining as Sync.

 

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