Wetware

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Wetware Movie Poster Image
Some violence in inert, misguided sci-fi robot story.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 105 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Examines the concepts of identity and freedom. Why would anyone volunteer to become a "Mungo"? Once volunteered, does that person continue to have any rights over their own experiences, memories, and identity? Can a person choose who to love?

Positive Role Models

Most of these dull characters don't do much, and the main character's entire motivation is questionable from the start.

Violence

Guns and shooting. Blood shown. Bloody corpse. Character with burned face. Mungo being tortured/humiliated. One character punches another in the crotch. Creepy, nightmarish imagery. Character bleeds black blood.

Sex

Kissing. Couple in bed together. Shirtless man.

Language

"Son of a bitch," "hell," "what in Christ's name."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine-drinking in social setting. Dialogue about taking drugs and overdosing.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wetware is a sci-fi movie about an engineer in the near future who re-programs people and gets into trouble when he falls for one of his creations. It has guns and shooting, blood, a bloody corpse, a character with a burned face, punching, humiliation, and some creepy, nightmarish sequences. Characters kiss, a couple lies in bed together, and a man is shown shirtless. Language is sparse but includes "son of a bitch," "hell," and "what in Christ's name?" A woman has a glass of wine in a social situation, and a character talks about doing drugs and overdosing. It's pretty dull and somewhat misguided, but mature sci-fi fans may want to give it a shot for its homages to Blade Runner.

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What's the story?

WETWARE takes place in the near future, when citizens who have nothing left to live for can volunteer to become genetically modified in order to work in tough, dangerous jobs. They're called "Mungos," and they're generally treated with prejudice. Their designer, Hal Briggs (Cameron Scoggins), has come up with an even more advanced method that could turn these people into soldiers and spies. He's created two prototypes, Jack (Bret Lada) and Kay (Morgan Wolk) -- but unfortunately, he's also developed an attraction to Kay and has modified her program to coax her into loving him back. Before anything can happen, Kay's new programming inspires her and Jack to escape.

Is it any good?

This cold, inert, misguided sci-fi story starts with a peculiar idea that never takes hold and then never really moves; it's mostly dull talk about the supposed meaning of it all. There's no discussion or explanation in Wetware as to why anyone would ever volunteer to become a Mungo, deliberately leaving behind their memories and identities. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind took a far more beautiful, meaningful deep-dive into this same theme and determined that it's not a good idea. Plus, the so-called spy/love robots are shown to be rather ineffectual, and the scenes of fighting and loving are curiously flat.

Even Jerry O'Connell, easily the movie's most recognizable actor (he's prominently featured in the marketing materials), just plays a banker who spends the entire movie trying to decide whether or not to buy the new technology; he basically sits and has glum chats with others. Wetware is also highly indebted to Blade Runner, and it pays homage to that film in many ways, from its opening crawl with certain words colored red to a use of the offensive phrase "skin jobs." But no amount of slowness, attempts at artful lighting, or weird effects like a "snowfall" inside Jack and Kay's chamber can make it come even close to that cinematic landmark.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Wetware's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it designed to shock, or thrill? How can you tell? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How is sex depicted? How do the characters relate to one another? Is there trust? What values are imparted?

  • Why do you think anyone would volunteer to become a Mungo? Why might someone want to give up their memories and identity?

  • How does this movie relate to the Frankenstein theme about humans "playing God" and meddling where they shouldn't?

  • What's the appeal of "dystopian" movies that show how badly things might go in the future? What can we learn from them?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

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