Why would you release a direct-to-DVD sequel the same day the 25th anniversary edition of the original classic comes out? Simple -- When the sequel is not really a sequel.
War Games: The Dead Code not only shares the same name as the original, it basically has the same plot line. The Dead Code boasts little in the way of originality but has a decently cool idea that never gets going in the right direction.
The film begins with a drone bombing the heck out of some terrorists after the government's new super-computer R.I.P.L.E.Y. profiles them. Then we are introduced to Will Farmer (Matt Lanter), a wicked smart computer wiz who has been reprimanded to his mother's basement after racking up her credit cards. By his side is his gaming geek best friend Dennis (Nicolas Wright), whose mouth is in continuous motion from the get-go.
After the film goes to great lengths to show how good this Farmer kid is, we see him make the "bad" decision that sets the film in motion. Helping out his neighbor, Farmer goes into his computer to find a virus and discloses to best bud Dennis that he had access to the neighbor's bank account. Dennis persuades Will to "borrow" some money to play on a new game site.
Bad choice, Willie.
The game site is a government endeavor to help locate possible terror suspects by their prowess in military strategy scenarios. In a cool homage to the original, as Will goes down the list of games he hesitate on Global Thermonuclear War. The last game on the list is The Dead Code.
As expected, Farmer does exceedingly well at the game and is targeted by R.I.P.L.E.Y. as a terror suspect. Let the chase begin.
Colm Feore is a saving grace for this film. His arrogance as Kenneth Hassert makes his the only character that draws the viewer in. Lanter is a promising young actor that makes the best of the material given to him. He'll be the voice of Anakin Skywalker in the upcoming The Clone Wars film and T.V. series.
Final Cut: The only salvation for this movie is the reoccurrence of some old ghosts but even that isn't enough to make it more than moderately interesting. If you're looking for a War Games fix, I implore you to pick up the original.
1.5 out of 4 stars