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CODE 8: 3 STARS. “addresses issues like marginalization and the healthcare crisis.”

The crowd-funded “Code 8” is speculative fiction, set in the future, but addresses real world issues like marginalization and the healthcare crisis.

Robbie Amell is Connor Reed, one of the 4% of the population born with extraordinary powers. Instead of being celebrated, however, Reed and his kind are discriminated against, forced to live in poverty.

Blessed—or cursed, depending on how you look at it—with the ability to generate electricity, Reed lives a quiet life, working in construction. The low profile job keep him off the radar of Agents Park in Davis (Sung Kang and Aaron Abrams), leaders of a militarized police unit, but doesn’t earn enough to pay for his mother‘s (Kari Matchett) mounting hospital bills.

To make some much-needed cash he agrees to expose his abilities to aid crime boss Marcus Sutcliffe (Greg Bryk) and his sadistic henchmen Garrett (Stephen Amell).

The aura of “X-Men” hangs heavy over “Code 8.” Director and co-writer (with Chris Pare) Jeff Chan has re-contextualized the idea of superbeings being persecuted for their powers—they don’t wear costumes, have character names like Electro or attend tony private schools—but all roads lead back to artist/co-writer Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee’s timely take on the mistrust of those seen as different. There’s more grit here and the characters aren’t as showy, they are simply trying to survive in a world that is inhospitable to them.

Chan does a good job balancing the action with ideas, effortlessly mixing and matching real word and sci fi elements to create a movie that has enough to say about the fear of diversity and tolerance to earn a look.

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