2099: The Soldier Protocol *Original title: The Wheel* (2019)

Sometime in the near future, in a world where governments and organizations blur the line between national security and ethical behavior, paraplegic prison inmate Matt Mills meets “The Board” of Satoshi-Telefair Industries, who thank him for joining the Program. Under pressure and with a promise to make him walk again, Mills agrees to volunteer. He is injected with a synthetic nanomaterial (N-B2C4B) and suffocated, only to wake up alone in a steel cell, with restored use of his leg – in the first spoke of an experimental apparatus.

I love to browse my local Family Video, I don’t know if I’ve ever spent less than 20 minutes going up and down the new release wall searching for my next watch. One of the films that caught my eye was 2099: The Soldier Protocol because David Arquette was on the cover. You may remember him capturing the world heavyweight title in WCW or like many others you know him as Officer Dewey Riley in the Scream franchise. I happen to really enjoy him as an actor so I rented it and threw it in today.

This film is about Matt Mills, a convict turned volunteer for an experiment to make him walk again. It showcases the experiments he is subjected to after he is injected with nano-particles by scientists. The main scientists in this film are Dr. Snyder played by David Arquette and Dr. Turner.

The nano-particles help Matt recover when he is deprived of oxygen, beaten, and his limbs are broken. He gets stronger and stronger as the cycle moves forward with the experiments. Along the way he is hallucinating about his daughter and wife. Things take a turn when Matt is able to overpower one of the men sent to break his legs. Doctors Snyder and Turner continue to observe him with Turner becoming sympathetic with the subject.

David Arquette’s performance as Doctor Emmett Synder was a wonderful thing to watch. You could tell from the beginning that doc wasn’t all there but to see his nonchalant attitude toward Matt and his flippant use of a stimulant to numb him to the experiments was an experience. Arquette plays to the role brilliantly. Some folks think he shouldn’t have been cast to play this part but Arquette brings a weirdness to this role that I haven’t seen him display since 1999’s Ready to Rumble. Dr. Snyder is an odd duck and Arquette brings that oddness in spades. By the end you can really tell that Snyder has lost his marbles after witnessing cycle after cycle in the wheel from his center at the spindle.

A lot of folks may find this film overly boring and noneventful but I enjoyed it due to Arquette’s performance and the mystery surrounding Matt volunteering to go through the wheel. If you have some time to spare and want to watch something science fiction related with a fair bit of martial arts thrown in this is the one for you. You can watch it on Hulu.

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