Netflix Review: iBoy
By Shane Stefanchik
“You know what would be cool? If we took that one kid from Alphas and made a movie around it.”
I won’t argue against that statement, Alphas was a fun show. The premise of this movie (for those unfamiliar with the two-season SyFy show) is that Tom (Bill Milner) gets phone bits lodged in his brain from a gunshot after he walks in on Lucy (Maisie Williams) getting sexually assaulted by a bunch of dudes. Through a decently-paced montage, he gets the hang of his new-found abilities of tapping into signals.
A decent, semi-low stakes, vigilante-type premise. He’s not saving the world here, just avenging the cruelty that was committed against his crush, Lucy. Honestly they could have drawn that out and just kept the whole movie to the elaborate take downs of each of the perps. (Bobby slang! You know, because it’s all set in the UK.) The movie treats these classmate takedowns as sort of trash mobs, working up to the mini-boss.
The car scene was reminiscent of something you’d see on Arrow, and that’s not a dig(gle), that’s a compliment. Tom locks the four dirtbags in a car, revs the engine to the point where the smoke is filling said car, and talks through the speakers imploring them to give up the name of their boss. One guy cracks and gives up the name Cutz (Aymen Hamdouchi). Sweet, another takedown! Anyone who liked the first few episodes of Revenge would appreciate this next part.
So Tom goes to Cutz’ place, lures him and his henchman all out by peeing in Cutz’ car (ok Calvin) and sending them the video, then casually strolls in and just trashes the place. I enjoy that he is having fun with his abilities and just blowing stuff up. Eventually he happens upon a speaker that he can’t explode and TA-DA! Drugs!
Cleverly framing each of the lower gang members to get them out of the picture, this is where I assumed Tom would take out Cutz, get the girl, and that would be that. Turns out Cutz was only a mini-boss! Dun-Dun-Dun! Now the focus shifts to taking out the big boss, Ellman (Rory Kinnear). As I said earlier, personally I would have been ok with them just having him take out Cutz, but ok, let’s strap in for some more vengeance.
I am glad that they didn’t also make Tom into a super martial arts special person. If I wanted that, I would just watch the amazingly excellent show Chuck. (Seriously, go buy it.) They had one scene where Tom found some hit zones on a guy and knocked him out, so I had valid reason for worry. Instead he sets the giant pile of drugs on fire, stands there like an idiot, and gets the crap kicked out of him. This is where he levels up and unleashes his new skill, Canary Cry! Wait, wrong universe. Either way, it makes some loose sense, signals blah blah frequency blah blah…Don’t think about it too much.
He gets away only to pass out near the waterfront (I guess he used up all his mana), missing his test-taking date with Lucy. Yeah, she’s still part of this, you have to have a love story too right? As he’s figuring out how to take out this mysterious boss Ellman, he goes home where Ellman just happens to be waiting for him.
Time for the main boss fight! Ellman found Tom because his childhood friend ratted him out. Maybe snitches don’t get stitches in the UK. His friend rats him out all for a wad of cash, now that’s just sad. I wouldn’t rat my friends out for a wad of cash. I’d need two wads, at least. So naturally Ellman wants Tom to use his abilities to transfer cash to his bank account and uses a kidnapped Lucy as leverage. This girl just cannot catch a break: not only is she kidnapped, but she is kidnapped and held by the same people who raped her. At least one of them anyway. Oh how I wish she would have shot him. At least shot his dick off. An eye for an eye, a dick for a dick.
In the grand showdown, the tables flip once, and Lucy gets the gun from dickhead. The tables flip again, and Lucy loses the gun to dickhead. Tom cleverly overheats everyone’s Samsung Note 7 to the point of pocket explosion as a distraction and then runs out after Ellman only to be hit with a pipe. Silly Tom, check your surroundings! After some back and forth between Tom and Ellman, some bad aim from Lucy (who got the gun again), more back and forth, and Lucy getting knocked out, Tom finally digs deep and unleashes what can only be described as a human EMP and drops the main boss. Then of course Tom passes out again from draining all his MP like a noob.
At this point, you can assume that the police showed up because then we basically jump to Tom going to meet up with Lucy. Remember, it’s a love story too. Rooftop romance, a kiss, roll credits.
If you were hoping for Arya Stark kicking ass in a modern setting, you’d be left disappointed. It was nice seeing Maisie Williams on screen. It almost felt wrong that she wasn’t playing a super bad ass character though. If you really loved the Josh Holloway series Intelligence, you may like this. Now I’m not saying it was a bad movie, bad title (which derives from what he called his superhero identity, iBoy), but I would say if you like low-key superhero movies, you would probably like this. I enjoyed it for what it was though.
I like to put myself in the shoes of the character with powers. What would I do differently? For one, I would have maybe tried using some drones to take out the drug stash at the train yard. He has clearly demonstrated that he can control stuff remotely so just get a drone, attach some stuff to it, and crash it into the drug pile! Easy peasy. Or you know, team up with MI-6, get money get paid, and do some good. Alas, he’s only a teen. A teen with a crush no less.
Should you watch it? Verdict is: Sure! It’s on Netflix so why not?
I love that he didn’t complain about his abilities and just jumped into using them. How amazing would it be to have a skill like that!? You should be excited! (Looking at you, Claire Bennet)
One super cool scene was when he turned off power to a bunch of buildings. That was a nice flex of his abilities.
Did I mention how I wish Lucy would have shot that asshole? He definitely deserved to die.
Miranda Richardson as Nan, Toms Grandmother, was just an absolute delight.