There are so many things in this movie that are wrong. There’s a big one that really ruined it for me (and, it seems, me alone), but we’ll go through a couple of other things first.
In this movie Johnny Depp dies after being shot with a radiation bullet by some anti-technology terrorists. His wife and his friend scan his brain and they manage to boot him up in a computer, apparently in part thanks to a quantum processor.
At this point we are clearly meant to be rooting for him, because otherwise the movie is asking us to root for the terrorists. And they wouldn’t do that.
The terrorists attack and Cyber-Depp escapes onto the internet (more on that below). He then manipulates data all over the place and builds a high-tech facility out in the desert, where he is free to create the future.
The terrorists, now in league with Cyber-Depp’s former friend and the government (somehow), attack the facility and shut down all technology to get him. The movie starts and ends with the friend walking through the low-tech dystopia that follows this fight and this decision.
I’m skipping over a bunch of stuff here, because I just don’t care. At no point did I care, because the way the film is structured points me toward thinking of Cyber-Depp as the good guy. He is clearly a good guy, and the terrorists (and then the government) are the bad guys, and I know they’re going to win.
This isn’t just my bias either; the core question of the movie appears to be “Cyber-Depp, a good idea or not?” At the end of the movie, once they’ve shut down all technology (really?) Cyber-Depp chooses to die, because he was really human all along. So we’re shown the pod-people (there are pod people, and I still think they’re the good guys) and the raw power this one individual has over the whole planet, to set him up as a potential bad guy. But he was actually kind of a good guy at the end, by choosing to die. The answer to the central question seems to be: Maybe?
Either that or the answer they came up with was that Cyber-Depp was awesome and the government choosing the side of terrorists was wrong, in which case they did it badly.
None of that matters though, because the movie was ruined for me at the end of the first act. The terrorists attack shortly after Cyber-Depp is turned on. To help him escape, Mrs Cyber-Depp hooks up a satellite dish so he can get out into the world. He escapes onto the internet in a few minutes.
Cyber-Depp is a huge program, I’m sure, and a satellite uplink is pretty shitty. But I don’t mind; this is more hand waving. Nobody wants to spend the time dealing with the ridiculously slow upload you’d actually get from this sort of setup. It would be boring, and it wouldn’t add anything to the story.
Cyber-Depp appears online, now able to manipulate banks and basically do whatever he wants.
Bullshit. The internet doesn’t work like that. You can’t hack the planet. You can’t infest a bunch of servers, all sitting behind firewalls you have to crack first, and then reprogram them so they work as a single unit you can use to house your brain (or anything else).
“But, hand waving!” I hear you say.
No, random voice on the internet. No.
The climax of this movie posits a scenario where the terrorists and the government are able to outsmart Cyber-Depp. I think the idea at the very end was that Cyber-Depp could have flattened them anyway (my bias), but he was still taken by surprise when they first attacked. If he was capable of doing the “escape onto the internet” thing, then there is nothing he can’t do. Nothing. He has all the power, and having the terrorists use old cars and mortars wouldn’t matter because they live in the 21st century and Cyber-Depp owns the 21st century.
Cyber-Depp is also shown to have nanotech all over the place, so he would have seen them coming and he would have overheard them planning. There are lots of reasons he wouldn’t have been caught by surprise and none of them matter because of the main reason he should have won:
He is super smart. He can see this coming and he can outthink them a million times over. In fact, if we judge his abilities purely by the escape-to-the-internet scene, it’s ludicrous. In his facility he has a warehouse full of processing power that he designed himself, which is quite a bit more than his one processor origins. Origins in which he took control of every internet facing machine on the planet, including at least some government ones.
I saw the escape scene at the end of act one, and I knew from the trailer how the whole thing was going to end, and I couldn’t believe it. Ruined an otherwise Meh movie for me.
Do yourself a favour, go read a book.