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Film / Hardwired

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Hardwired is a 2009 direct-to-DVD film starring Cuba Gooding Jr.., Val Kilmer, and Michael Ironside.

In the not too distant future where corporations control nearly every aspect of human life, a man named Luke (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is involved in a car accident that claims the life of his wife and their unborn child. Luke has severe brain damage, but Hope Corporation agrees to implant a chip into his brain to save his life. He discovers that this chip also constantly sends advertisements until either the person obtains the product, or they go insane. While trying to figure out why they did this to him and who he is, he finds out that the chip is a test product with a fail-safe that could kill him. He succumbs to the effects but the Corporation fears that their test might be discovered, and they decide to activate the fail-safe. Just before it goes off, a group of underground hackers led by Hal (Ironside) and "Keyboard" (Chad Krowchuk) hack into the chip and save his life. After using the chip to guide him away from Hope Corp. pursuers, they agree to try to help him remember who he is in exchange for assisting in their fight against Hope Corp. They show him that his accident was no accident but actually planned by Hope Corp. so they could use him as a test subject. He agrees to help but is captured during the attempt and taken to a facility controlled by Hope Corp. Luke, with the help of Punk Red (Tatiana Maslany) and Punk Blue (Juan Riedinger), manages to fight his way to the leader of the project, Virgil (Kilmer). Virgil is killed after a short confrontation, and Luke escapes. He meets up with "Red" and "Blue" (the only remaining members of the underground group). Together they vow to continue the fight until Hope Corporation is destroyed.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Advert-Overloaded Future: It's gotten so bad in general that Hope Corp has purchased Mount Rushmore to put its logo on, and their nefarious plans are meant to make it even worse by means of having them constantly putting advertisements in your field of view or in your dreams via the chip.
  • Augmented Reality: The chip is meant to provide a very insidious version of this to the people that have it implanted. Things like potential brainwashing are just a nice benefit.
  • Batman Gambit: Hal's plan to get Luke enraged enough to help them take on Hope Corp.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After Luke is captured by Hope Corp mooks and accidentally gives them info on who helped him, Hal is about to pull the ventilator hose from his son before the mooks can capture them. He is shot before he can do so, but pulls out the tube as he falls to the floor dying.
  • Big Bad: Virgil, although he may just be The Dragon to Hope.
  • Crapsack World: The world is in a global recession/depression, and various private companies have bankrolled the last two wars the USA has been in. The corporations see, and presumably control or guide, everything.
  • Evil All Along: The guy in the hospital when Luke wakes up after getting his implant.
  • The Ghost: Richard Hope. He does appears in pictures, though, "played" by Lance Henriksen.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When the surgeons drill into Luke's brain, the camera turns away to simply show blood splattering on the doctor's mask.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Luke is shown footage of his wife being killed by the antagonist's right-hand man.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Aside from the fact that Luke never would have been in the situation had Hope Corp not chosen him as a human test subject, he would not have been able to defeat the mooks at the end or kill Virgil without the help of the chip and the hackers.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Lots and lots from Red, Blue, and Keyboard. In the latter's case, a bullet to the head that left him bedridden and mute doesn't stop him.
  • Hologram: Used by several characters, including the Big Bad at the end. It doesn't work out, though.
  • Identity Amnesia: Explained in-universe as being caused by brain damage during the car accident, but could just be an effect of the chip.
  • La RĂ©sistance: Luke, the two hackers, Hal, and Keyboard are trying to take down Hope Corp.
  • MegaCorp: Hope Corporation. The entire USA can be considered a MegaCorp as well since Hope Corp bailed them out at least twice.
  • Mind Screw: The chip is connected to the auditory and visual portions of your brain. Whoever controls it can screw with your mind in many different ways.
  • The Plan: The whole plot of setting Luke up as a test subject. The company caused his car accident, canceled his insurance, knew the doctors would simply let him die, offered to pay for his care if they implant the chip, and convinced his sister to sign off on the procedure since it was the only way for her brother to survive.
  • Police Are Useless: The reason the protagonists can't call the cops - they're on Hope Corp's payroll.
  • Product Placement: Borders on a parody. There are corporate logos on everything, even animals, Mt. Rushmore, Hoover Dam, and the solar panels on Hope Corp's satellite (which no one would ever see).
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Luke goes into one after his Heroic BSoD.
  • Stat-O-Vision: Played with. The two hackers helping Luke send him messages via his chip that show up as floating messages, such as which way to go or that the security guard's gun still has its safety on. At one point, they realize that they're sending him too much information, so much that it's distracting him.
  • Tested on Humans: The brain implant. Justified as it was a new medium for advertisements, and animals can't buy Hope Corp products.
  • The Dragon: Drake is the dragon to Virgil, and it is implied that Virgil is the dragon to Hope.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: As per the intro, "Not long into the future..."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Luke's sister isn't seen again after the beginning of the movie. The Big Bad mentions her at one point as if she needs to be captured/killed, but no mention is ever made again.
  • Your Head Asplode: The "fail-safe" built into the brain implant.