Paul Ruth: You are 35 years old, Mr. Vale. Why are you such a derelict? Such a piece of human junk? [pause] The answer's simple. You're a scanner, which you don't realize. And that has been the source of all your agony. But I will show you now that it can be a source of great power.
This is a neat sci-fi thriller from director David Cronenberg that has a very good premise that could have been a better movie if the characters were handled better than the plot.
The story involves a select group of humans with an extraordinary power.
Cameron Vale: You called me a scanner. What is that?
Paul Ruth: Freak of nature, born with a certain form of ESP; derangement of the synapses which we call telepathy.
One of these scanners is Cameron Vale. He starts out at the beginning of the movie acting as a bum, before being recruited by a big company to stop another Scanner, played by Michael Ironside.
Ironside's character, Darryl Revok, is a powerful scanner bent on creating scanners all over the world, ruling over them, and getting rid of anyone in his way.
It is now up to Cameron to find Revok and stop him before it is too late.
Opposed to other Cronenberg features, which involve characters facing situations that usually have an extraordinary or at least conflicting dilemma to deal with but keeps its emphasis on the characters, this film is more about its plot, which becomes a little silly. There are evil corporations, people held at gun point with bad guy dialog in there way, and car chases.
Also, Stephen Lack as Cameron Vale is kind of bland. I can see why he was chosen for the part, his eyes are perfect for being a scanner, but the villain Revok is a much more interesting character that we do not see enough of. A movie focusing on him could have been even cooler.
However, the concept of this movie is really good and there are a lot of memorable moments, including the climatic scanner battle, and other scattered moments thanks to the good looking effects and the coolness that is Michael Ironside. Frequent Cronenberg collaborator, Howard Shore, also delivers a good score that works for the film.
Programmer: There's no need for that. It's just internal switching.
Braedon Keller: Yeah? No one's ever switched off a scanner before!