WarGames is often regarded as, if not an all-time classic, at least an 80s classic, and with good reason. It has an interesting plot, fun and well-acted characters, and while there is a small element of fantasy involved (most particularly a computer capable of learning built on early 1980s hardware) it’s mostly pretty believable. It has a plot that is both fun and serious, using the Cold War as a backdrop for a story in which a young hacker nearly starts global thermonuclear war by starting a game with precisely the wrong computer. Even the government agents in the film are largely intelligent, rational, caring human beings whose main flaw is an excess of faith in their systems, which were designed to be able to go off without human intervention, and to be nearly impossible to recall (the film Dr. Strangelove apparently did not exist in the WarGames universe, or the government just didn’t take it to heart.) It’s a great film, one I would rank as among my favorites.
WarGames: The Dead Code is pretty much what you’d expect from a direct-to-video sequel made 25 years later, in 2008, involving none of the original cast, writers, producers, or director, and no name actors. It could probably have been worse, but it’s far from the quality of WarGames, and far from necessary. I would be concerned about some of the things that bother me about the film constituting spoilers, but in this case, a large part of the problem is that if you’ve seen WarGames, then WarGames: The Dead Code has already been spoiled for you (and if you haven’t seen WarGames, just watch WarGames instead.) Although WarGames: The Dead Code is a true sequel, not a remake, and follows on the events of before, it is also very much a retread of the earlier film. All of the important parts are essentially recycled. So, yes, this review contains spoilers, but they won’t really spoil anything that wasn’t already going to be spoiled. Continue reading