REVIEW: ‘Code 8’ offers low-key superhero thrills

Robbie Amell as Connor Reed in 'Code 8.' (Image supplied)
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Updated 19 April 2020

REVIEW: ‘Code 8’ offers low-key superhero thrills

  • Writer/director Jeff Chan manages to find an original angle on superhero films

LONDON: It doesn’t seem like there’s much room left in the superhero sphere for any truly novel takes on the genre. So while Canadian sci-fi movie “Code 8” might not be reinventing the wheel, exactly, writer/director Jeff Chan does deserve some credit for wringing an ounce of originality from an otherwise overcrowded creative space.

In a world where four percent of the population have developed superpowers, such gifted individuals have proven integral to the genesis of the USA industrial complex, only to be discarded by society when increasing levels of automation relegates the so-called ‘Powers’ to second-class citizens.

Forced to scrounge for undocumented work, and trafficked for narcotics derived from their spinal fluid, the world has turned against the likes of Connor Reed (Robbie Amell) — a simple guy trying to make enough money to take care of his sick mother. With an increasingly oppressive society clamping down on Powers through the use of omnipresent flying drones and sinister robot soldiers, Reed takes more than his fair share of licks before, predictably, sticking two fingers up at the world and throwing in with a group of suitably charismatic and diverse criminals, headed up by Garrett Kelton (Stephen Amell), a mid-level mercenary who spots electricity-wielding Reed’s untapped potential for bank jobs.

Equal parts heist flick, gangster movie and superhero film, “Code 8” manages to hit all three marks pretty well. Though his movie clocks in at a modest 100 minutes, Chan manages to paint a vivid, gritty criminal underworld, while Robbie and Stephen Amell (paternal cousins off screen) bring suitable levels of naivety and cynicism to their respective characters.

Perhaps the most noteworthy element here is Chan’s restraint. The film’s sparing use of CGI and sprawling set pieces may have been, in part, due to penny pinching (the movie was funded by an Indiegogo campaign), but it actually serves to underscore the story’s portrayal of just how dangerous the world is for Powers — superhuman abilities are not something to be used in public, and those showing off their gifts tend to fall foul of the all-seeing government.

While the plot twists and double crosses are relatively easy to spot, that shouldn’t detract from what “Code 8” has to offer: an interesting world, decent performances and, unusually for films of this ilk, a favoring of substance over style.


5 reasons to add spinach to your diet

Updated 08 August 2020

5 reasons to add spinach to your diet

DUBAI: Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Fit Squad DXB, shares her advice on the superfoods that will help you lead a longer and healthier life…

If you want a food that’s cheap, versatile and packed with nutrients, then you can’t go wrong with spinach. Throw a handful into a fruit or vegetable smoothie, cook it as a side dish with meat or knock out a saag curry as a main and reap the health rewards listed below.

Improved eye health

Spinach is high in the antioxidant pigments zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect your eyes from damage caused by sunlight. They also work to prevent macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. Studies have also shown that zeaxanthin and lutein play a part in preventing cataracts.

Healthy pregnancy

As spinach is packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium, it’s the perfect food for pregnant women. Leafy greens are also rich in powerful immune-boosting antioxidants and contain plant compounds that may help prevent constipation, a common problem among pregnant women.

There are plenty of health rewards to be reaped from the super food. Shutterstock

Blood clotting

One spinach leaf contains over half of your daily requirements of vitamin K1, which is essential for healthy bones. It also helps white blood cells to clot effectively, preventing you from bleeding out when you are injured. Anyone who is taking blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin should speak to their doctor before increasing their intake of spinach or other leafy greens.

Healthy teeth

This super green is high in catenoids, which our bodies turn into vitamin A. This vitamin plays a key role in keeping gums healthy and in building tooth enamel. Spinach is also high in calcium, which helps harden your enamel, strengthen your jawbone, and build strong bones. In fact, spinach is also rich in vitamin D, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C, all of which are important nutrients for bone health.

Healthy hair

This is where vitamin A comes in again, as it is necessary for sebum production to keep hair moisturized, helping it to look glossy and grow. It can also help reduce hair loss. Vitamin A is actually used in the growth of all bodily tissues, so it is essential for healthy skin as well.