Morgan (2016)

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“Morgan is no longer viable.”

How to describe Morgan? I could say any number of things. Flippantly shallow, hysterically self-serious, a distasteful mix of pea-brained and moronic ideas. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because swimming below this cesspool of putrid muck is one of the most poorly written science fiction thrillers I’ve seen in a very, very long time. Not a single character has incentive or purpose, the directionless action sequences are imperceptible, and it contains a final act twist that you should see – and I desperately hope that you do – from a country mile away. Morgan deserves to be rolled to the curb for trash collection.

Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) works as a risk-assessment specialist for a company moonlighting in genetic modification. Why is that their specific focus and why do they continue to push on following previously failed experiments? Our guess is as good as that of one of these seemingly intelligent yet traditionally genre gasbags. As always, we’re stuck watching bright people unreasonably act on primitive instincts. That’s a foreboding trope which in this case becomes a low-hanging and knotted noose. I hate movies like Morgan because they try unfolding under that false pretense of higher thinking while refusing to add in a single strand of smart DNA over its lifespan. In this case, dumb is dumb is dumb.

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I’d mention the scientists by name and what they contributed to the project, but doing so would give the distorted impression that any of them are worth remembering. The characters are penned with invisible ink while the situations are written in chicken scratch with a #2 pencil by Seth W. Owen. What happens is undefined and erasable, wasting one scene’s consequences by completely rejecting them in the following moment again and again. Morgan tells us absolutely everything about this shamefully soulless movie through on the nose dialogue that’s listlessly delivered in off the cuff performances, and still we have no motivating force behind it all. The nondescript nature of the robotic humanoid known as Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) bleeds into every part of the film.

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Plenty of critics are going to throw shade at director Luke Scott for being Ridley Scott’s son and being the helmer of this box office bomb, claiming that the talent must have skipped a generation. That’s simply not true though. Truth be told, this is Luke’s first feature and he’s directing from an abysmal script. His direction is rather poor – which you can tell from the flat performance from Mara and the torrid take Paul Giamatti delivers – but there is little wiggle room for him to impart a creative voice either. Take all of the high concepts from Lucy, pair them with the incompetency of The Lazarus Effect, then prop the entire mess up in a secluded room like Ex Machina (which, to be fair, is too good to even be mentioned alongside these other titles), and Morgan is the monster you’d get. My suggestion is that you lock this one up, throw away the key, and make sure there isn’t a spare lying around. The movie’s tagline “Don’t let it out” couldn’t be more appropriate.

“Someone has really screwed up.”

Rating: 0.5 out of 5

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