The Gene Generation is one of those movies where the characters do a lot of dumb things for no apparent reason other than because a lazy script writer needed to set up the next scene. And I suspect these scenes were created simply to accommodate found footage. For those of you who do not understand the term “found footage”, it is used to describe when a director or producer uses already existing film footage to edit into his movie. An example would be those cheesy 1950s science fiction movies that used public domain films released by NASA of their test rockets, or better yet cheap ’80s music videos that used the same NASA footage, such as Peter Schilling’s Major Tom. Occasionally found footage is actually a movie that was shot but never completed. You would be amazed at how many times production on a movie is shut down after only a few minutes of footage was shot. Hong Kong director Godfrey Ho specialized in this, buying footage from hundreds of incomplete Asian movies and editing them into brand new movies. Ho did this so much that he eventually became known as the Hong Kong Ed Wood and has gained cult status. The original Ed Wood used found footage for Plan 9 From Outer Space, film he had shot of Bela Lugosi originally for a vampire movie that was never completed. So is there found footage used in The Gene Generation? That would explain the presence of the films guest star Faye Dunaway who is in the movie for less than 20 seconds. Her very brief scene opens the movie and has her walking down a hallway wearing a retro doctors smock and talking to an Asian couple. She is telling them that their child’s medical condition is untreatable by conventional science and only the treatment provided by their hospital offers him any hope. The father begins to respond, but the movies narrator talks over whatever he is saying, and then quickly cuts away to some other doctors in a lab examining a mechanical glove. That was only 13 seconds of Faye.
The movie cuts back to her standing before a glass wall where in the next room another doctor is using the same glove to heal the wounds on the face of the child. Faye points this out to his parents and tells them that there is no president for this technology. The frame freezes for four seconds while the narrator talks again and together that was another seven seconds of Faye on screen. Cut together the pre credit segment looks like this; The camera pans in on a futuristic building while the narrator tells us it is called Hayden Technologies. The narrator talks over the father saying that the doctors were working on a new technology called a transcoder that was capable of reconfiguring human DNA making it possible to instantaneously heal all wounds and curing all diseases. At the freeze frame of Faye the narrator explains that her character, Dr. Josephine Hayden, was to somehow become infected by the transcoder and mutate into a creature who’s body is covered with hundreds of worm like appendages. There is a cutaway to show this creature chained to a wall. The narrator then goes on to explain that the transcoder was dangerously unpredictable as we watch footage of another doctor putting the mechanical glove on and his hand suddenly growing mechanical tentacles that begin to destroy the room. This cuts to footage of the futuristic building exploding and crumbling like the World Trade Center while the narrator mentions something about some people wanting to use the transcoder as a weapon, then mentioning that it not only destroyed Hayden Technologies but the explosion of the building somehow destroyed the atmosphere forcing the citizens of Olympia to flee. The narrator never explains if Olympia is the city, the country the city is in, or the entire planet. Nor does he bother to explain where the citizens are fleeing to other than mentioning they must get past the walls of the city they are in. The narrator explains that only a select few of the citizens are permitted to flee Olympia who pass some sort of genetics test, and that some desperate citizens have made crude copies of the transcoder to steal DNA from those with DNA permitting them to leave. The narrator then explains that the government has hired assassins to hunt down these “DNA hackers”, and we cut to Bai Ling shooting one of these thieves. The narrator also explains that he is one of the surviving doctors from the Hayden Technologies accident and has stayed in Olympia with a transcoder feeling it was his duty to somehow work the bugs out of the dangerous glove.
The pre-credit sequence was so oddly edited together that at first I assumed that The Gene Generation must be a sequel, and these were scenes from the first movie. It wasn’t. A production this cheap would never have the money to hire Faye Dunaway for that brief a scene, so it must have been found footage. Even the special effects in The Gene Generation seem way out of place suggesting they were made for a different movie or perhaps video game.
Although the narrator established the concept of DNA hackers and that Bai Ling was an assassin hired to hunt them down, this plot point is all but forgotten. Instead the story centers around her nere-do-well brother who is constantly losing money to gambling and ends up owing money to a gang of hoods. Bai and her brother just happen to live in the same apartment building as the doctor with the transcoder, and one day the brother breaks into his apartment to steal something so he can pay off his gambling debt and ends up taking the transcoder. Meanwhile in another part of the city is the worm creature chained to the wall who still has a voice that sounds vaguely like Faye Dunawaye and wants the long haired man attending her to hunt down and find the transcoder which is the only thing that can change her back to human. This leads to an hour and a half of characters killing each other, mostly for inexplicable reasons. For instance one character is shot to death by one of the film’s villains for no apparent reason other than to piss off Bai Ling, even though a scene earlier the same villain had gone to all the trouble of saving his life when he could have allowed him to be killed by thugs. Bai Ling takes revenge by killing a completely different character that the villain is standing next to. The whole film seems like nothing more than padding before the climax where all the bad guys are finally killed off. Olympia is suppose to be a futuristic city, but somehow is nothing more than run down buildings and warehouses you would find in any poor neighborhood today with no hint of anything that would suggest it took place in the future. Added to this is CGI footage of a city from above with giant flying machines sort of shaped like fish with television monitors on their sides. This footage is blue screened in every ten minutes, but appears to have been lifted from a video game. And the rooftops in the CGI footage do not match with the buildings on the ground below.
The only real entertainment in this movie is watching Bai Ling killing gangs of thugs using a combination of martial arts and guns. And speaking of guns, director Pearry Reginald Teo goes overboard with splattering CGI blood onto the screen every time someone is shot, no matter what part of their body nor the distance or angle from the screen the shot takes place. Whenever someone gets hit with a bullet a gob of blood hits the screen. The plot itself is a huge mess. The villains seem reasonable, a huge mistake when the audience is suppose to be rooting against them. We have little or no sympathy for the good guys. Even Bai is guilty of mercilessly killing off helpless victims for what passes as a joke. The end result is that we care little about any of the characters. The Gene Generation is a cheap film with varying quality of special that you would expect to see on the Sci-fi channel or direct to video. It is not horrible, and never becomes too boring, but is extremely forgettable once you have finished watching it.
Pretty much every scene that Bai Ling is in has her wearing black outfits made out of skin tight leather, latex or vinyl, and usually a combination of each together. She first shows up 3 minutes into the movie wearing tight vinyl pants, a tight rubber corset, vinyl gloves and a patent leather overcoat, although only briefly in a split second shot showing her behind a sniper rifle. Not to worry. She shows up in the outfit again a couple of minutes later when she is paid off for her kill. Bai is in almost every scene in the movie, and the scenes she is not in last no longer than a few minutes, so there should be very little reason to work the fast forward button on this film. Bia’s other outfits: a red fishnet teddy over bra and panties at 11 minutes, tight leather top with leather shorts and boots at 18 minutes, patent leather kimono at 32 minutes, latex or spandex bodysuit with leather boots at 46 minutes, a leather top with a lot of metal studs and decor with leather shorts and boots at 52 minutes, fancy latex pants that is full length on the right leg and short on the left leg tight with cut off red t-shirt and lots of unnecessary arm straps at 59 minutes which she wears her patent leather coat over at 101 minutes, a leather top with lace front and what looks like leather chaps at 120 minutes, and lose fitting latex pants with the rubber corset and arm length latex gloves at 125 minutes, followed by a brief shot of her in the patent leather overcoat just before the credits. She is also in at least three different nude scenes which you will either have to find yourself or consult Mr Skin’s review of the movie.