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Here’s one of a number of interesting sci-fi films produced in Canada in the wake of Vincenzo Natali’s Cube. It’s a low-budget body-swap futureshocker with three different actors (Stephen Baldwin, Kyle MacLachlan and Kim Coates) all vaguely playing the same man, a “floater” refusenik named Alvin Toffler. There’s a joke in that name if you’re a dyed in the wool sci-fi fan. Possibly also funny is that in this futureworld if you’ve swapped bodies (that’s the “floating” bit) with someone but can’t get back to your starting position you can park yourself inside a clone while everything is sorted out. Enter Stephen Baldwin as the empty vessel waiting to be filled. So when Alvin’s real body (he originally looked like Kim Coates, until he swapped and started looking like Kyle MacLachlan) is hijacked by a terrorist, he’s forced to jump into Baldwin’s body, shelf-life a mere two days, and get looking for the bad guy. At which point the film does admittedly turn into something of a futuristic action thriller, making the last 20 minutes or so a far more familiar ride than the first 80 or so. But if we discounted all the films that couldn’t pull off a satisfying finish, there wouldn’t be many left. And until Xchange takes its slight turn to the routine, it has delivered plenty of interesting ideas and it’s even managed the odd good joke. When it came out, it went straight to video and I remember thinking it was an absolute dead cert for a big-bucks remake. Maybe the time is right about now. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt could star. No, hang on, that’s Looper.

Xchange – at Amazon

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© Steve Morrissey 2013

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