CODE 8 (2019) Reviews and overview

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‘Fear is the most dangerous power’

Code 8 is a 2019 American science-fiction feature film about a desperate young man with special powers who clashes with a militarized police force.

The movie is a full-length adaptation of director Jeff Chan’s 2016 short film also titled Code 8 (watch below) and the screenplay was written by Chris Pare. The Colony Pictures production stars Robbie Amell, with Stephen Amell, Greg Bryk, Kari Matchett, Sung Kang, Alex Mallari Jr., Peter Outerbridge and Shaun Benson.


Set in a world where 4% of the population is born with varying supernatural abilities, but instead of being billionaires or superheroes, they face discrimination and live in poverty, often resorting to crime. Connor Reed (Robbie Amell), a power-enabled man, is struggling to pay for his ailing mother’s health treatment.

Fighting to earn enough money as a day labourer, Connor is lured into a lucrative criminal world by Garrett (Stephen Amell) who works for Lincoln City’s reigning drug lord, Marcus Sutcliffe (Greg Bryk).

Garrett helps Connor sharpen his powers in order to execute a series of crimes on behalf of Sutcliffe, while a militarized police unit, led by Agent Park (Sung Kang) and Agent Davis (Aaron Abrams), hunts them down…


Code 8 at the Sitges Film Festival this year. Vertical Entertainment is releasing the movie with select theatrical dates and on VOD from December 13th 2019.


” …despite its potential, well-conceived futuristic scenario, a fairly engaging lead turn from Robbie Amell and basic if neat plotting, whose rather dramatic story even packs some emotional punch, this low-on-action sci-fi crime thriller is so vanilla, you can barely taste its bland ‘superhero’ flavor.” CineMarvellous!

“Effects are solid and used with restraint, visualizing powers (telekinesis, the harnessing of electrical fields) on a human scale, avoiding the mythmaking grandiosity seen in superhero films. But as the parallels to real-world immigration debates grow less important, viewers may wonder why we’re dealing with superpowered humans at all, and how much appeal Code 8 would have without its superficial conceit.” The Hollywood Reporter

“Amell is a bit problematic as the lead; he’s meant to feel out of his depth, but often comes across as a little dead-eyed instead. And Chan’s screenplay, co-written with Chris Pare, struggles with whether it wants to craft a social commentary about the way minorities are marginalized, or an exciting bank-heist flick.” National Post

“The movie’s blend of sci-fi technology and desolate urban settings is reminiscent of Neill Blomkamp’s past work (especially District 9, given their thematic similarities), but avoids being excessively derivative and mostly just draws on the same tropes as his movies. All the same, Code 8 makes the most of its budgetary limits…” Screen Rant

“What it comes down to is that it’s obvious from the very first moments of Code 8 that this was a project near and dear to the hearts of the Amell men. And that quickly put it in the dearly loved parts of our hearts. It’s the care that has been put into the emotional scenes. The depth that has been put into each character.” The Series Regulars

“While Code 8 might not have the polish of a big studio production, Chan and his crew deserve credit for delivering a well made and convincing sci-fi treat that tells a solid, complete story with some honest to goodness earned moments of authenticity. Fans of science fiction and independent movies will have plenty to feel good about as this digital release is a genuine gem.” That Moment In

” …Code 8 is a well-crafted mix of crime melodrama and fantasy that provides credible reasons for primarily taking place in dreary, mundane urban settings. The performers are generally strong, even if their roles don’t give them a lot of room for depth or invention; the physical presentation is accomplished.” Variety

Cast and characters:

  • Stephen Amell … Garrett
  • Laysla De Oliveira … Maddy
  • Robbie Amell … Connor Reed
  • Greg Bryk … Marcus Sutcliffe
  • Sung Kang … Agent Park
  • Kari Matchett … Connor’s Mother
  • Peter Outerbridge … Cumbo
  • Alex Mallari Jr. … Rainer
  • Shaun Benson … Dixon
  • Aaron Abrams … Davis
  • Glenda Braganza … Detective
  • Ho Chow … Security Guard
  • Simon Northwood … Rhino
  • Chris Gleason … Homeless Man
  • JaNae Armogan … Hospital Clerk

Filming locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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