Director: Adam Randall
Starring: Bill Milner, Maisie Williams, Miranda Richardson, Rory Kinnear
Writers: Joe Barton, Mark Denton, Jonny Stockwood
Based on a Book by: Kevin Brooks

A review by Nicole Bresner


iBoyiBoy is not exactly what I expected. The trailer hooked me, thinking some good sci-fi superhero action was to come. The superhero  part was covered, as iBoy is basically the origin story of a young hero and his quest for revenge. The science part, however, was so lacking that I could not get over the totally impossible premise of the story, at least not enough to fully enjoy the movie. Yes, Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider and acquired superpowers. It requires a significant suspension of disbelief… but radioactive substances? You never know what the effects might be in a fantasy world, right?

Well, the license we give to Spider-Man is somehow not applicable to iBoy. The idea that cell phone shrapnel in one’s head would magically allow them to control, access, and utilize EVERY electronic device on the planet is just silly, especially with absolutely no attempt on the part of the creators to even TRY to make up a psuedo-science explanation for the sake of the viewers. None. Nada.

Directed by Adam Randall and based on the book by Kevin Brooks, iBoy premiered on January 27, 2017 and chronicles the story of Tom (Bill Milner), a socially awkward teenager living in a housing complex in England, on the wrong side of the tracks. A gang holds heavy influence in the area, and many of the local boys are members. Upon arriving at his friend Lucy’s (Maisie Williams) house one evening, Tom is confronted by several intruders, and is eventually shot in the head with his cell phone to his ear, calling for help. After being in a coma for weeks, Tom awakes with the ability to read other people’s texts in his mind, hack into bank accounts with his mind, make cell phones and other electronic devices (including cars) burn and explode and make deafening feedback noises that render his adversaries ineffectual. The scope of his powers, with no explanation whatsoever, is unrealistic even for a superhero, and was so distracting it all but rendered the rest of the story moot. The only audience I can imagine overlooking this major flaw would be young children and tweens, but the movie contains some adult content, mainly the sexual assault of Lucy, thus alienating the only demographic that might accept the film on simpler terms.

Haunted by the fact that he ran away instead of helping Lucy, Tom embarks on a journey for vengeance against the local hoodlums that committed the home invasion and attack against his friend. Using his new-found powers, he picks off the thugs one by one until he gets to guy at the top, played quite chillingly by Rory Kinnear, a bright spot in this floundering film, who we know as the beloved John Clare from Penny Dreadful.


Ridiculous computer magic aside, as well as graphics that look way too much like the Matrix, the movie has some passable moments. Tom’s transformation from geeky outcast to badass vigilante is fun to watch, and Kinnear’s performance is spot on as a ruthless gang leader and drug dealer. He gets all the good one-liners. Likewise, Miranda Richardson’s portrayal of Tom’s grandmother is comedic and genuine. She also gets some good lines. iBoy includes some decent music and it’s nice to see Maisie Williams, as she is one of my favorite actresses on Game of Thrones. The relationship between her and Tom, a shy but budding romance, is endearing, but yet another plot point that gets overshadowed by an overall untenable foundation.

I wanted to like this movie. The characters are likable or deplorable, as the case may be, the story flows well, and the cast is an impressive group of talent. The revenge Tom exacts on the gang is fun and satisfying to watch, as they really are a group of nasty buggers, and there are numerous little subplots and dramas to add meat to the story. However, the scenes in which Tom uses his powers to do completely ludicrous things just can’t be ignored, and even the positives of this movie are not enough for me to recommend it to a friend. It is, in effect, a poorly executed knock-off of Kick Ass.


The Verdict
If you have some time to kill and aren’t picky about facts and reality, maybe give iBoy a watch. It’s not utterly lacking in entertainment value. But I can think of several other movies in the same genre that are significantly more polished and original. Personally, I think life is too short to watch lackluster movies.

As a side note, I have not read the book and don’t know how closely, or not, the movie follows.

Find the book iBoy on Amazon:

Nicole Bresner
Freelance painter, illustrator and comic book artist, and columns/reviews contributor to Rogues Portal. Adores all things dark, demonic and creepy. Also adores glitter. Reconcile THAT.

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