Netflix is really bashing out the exclusives at the moment, and ARQ is the latest.
ARQ is a movie, not a TV series. It’s short too at just 1hr 30 mins long, and you get the feeling that the production cost was considerably lower than other films.
The whole movie is set within one warehouse like area, and there are just six actors on screen throughout. It’s got an intriguing premise, but one we’ve seen before.
This premise is a time-loop. Each time the time-loop occurs, the good guys need to figure out a way to improve their approach until eventually, hopefully, they will be able to suss their way out. Edge of tomorrow anyone?
I imagine it will receive some rave reviews, but as a die hard sci-fi fan I didn’t see anything too special here, and although there were plenty of twists and turns it didn’t grip me. The movie is set in the near future, but we aren’t sure exactly when. There are a lot of questions that felt like they were left deliberately unanswered, particularly about the two warring groups in the film who are designated as The Block, and Taurus.
The Block seem to be struggling in their campaign to stop Taurus, which is another reason the ARQ is so valuable – it could be their last chance.
There are some relationship issues in there between the characters as well of course, which get worse and more confusing throughout.
The protagonists, some well trained soldier-like characters who clearly have histories of their own, are stuck in this time-loop and taken capture by members of The Block. They need to figure out what’s going on and how to escape, which is actually fairly easy when you have an infinite amount of time-loops at your disposal.
The cause of all this commotion is the ARQ, an energy device deemed incredibly valuable, but not entirely explained why.
The ARQ has become faulty and generates a repeat of events every 3 hours which can only be changed by our protagonists. Runing on self-renewing energy, The ARQ a valuable commodity in a dystopian future. But again, none of this really struck me as innovative sci-fi, which is something sci-fi must be. When you have the potential to write any story you like, in an environment that hasn’t happened yet, you really need to come up with some awesome shizz.
There was a very cool futuristic version of a brass knuckle device though, which shocks the person punched.
Odd though that all the guns seem to be very 2016 looking. In fact, the special effects are few and far between. Some of the holographic screens do look pretty slick though. But this doesn’t do enough in a sci-fi world that holds the infinite potential to show off some more unknown tech/future developments.
I was a little disappointed with the effort from Netflix on this occasion, but still like their approach. More like this please, just with a little more production quality.
My rating: 5/10