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Our Jonathan Thompson took a look at one of the great films being touted by GeekFest Film Festival; a highly interesting title called Virtual Hitman.
What do you do when your child wants to become a professional gamer instead of having a “normal” job? You hire a hitman to kill them, of course.
Wait… that came out wrong.
Lily is an expert gamer that is attempting to qualify to join the professional gaming circuit as a way to financially help her family. Her father, John, works multiple jobs in order to support himself and his daughter and pay for her to attend college, in the hopes that she can land a “normal” job after she graduates. When Lily announces her ultimate goal to her father, he begins to fear for her future. Taking drastic measures, John hires a virtual hitman to hunt down Lily’s character and squash her dreams.
We’ve all heard of the story of the father in China who actually hired online assassins to hunt down his 23 year old son’s character in a RPG and kill the avatar in hopes of his son getting tired of being killed so often that he’d give up gaming and find a job.
The son hadn’t been able to hold a steady job for more than a few months due to his need, or addiction, to play video games. Concerned for his son’s future, the father wired money to high-level players. The plan ultimately failed but it did lead Joy Regullano to write a script that would reach a wide audience.
Virtual Hitman, the latest film from KEME Productions, has been screened at multiple conventions and film festivals over the past few months and has been a huge hit. Written by Regulation, it is produced by Kristina Esposito, who also plays Lily’s supportive best friend, Terri, and directed by Peter Borg, who also plays a small yet key part in the film. Lily is played by the wonderful Amanda Joy and her father, John, is played by the talented Simon Sinn.
The setting of Virtual Hitman may be a World of Warcraft type video game but the true heart of the story is a subject we can all relate to on some level – the struggle of simply trying to talk to our parents. Most parents only want what’s best for their kids; so when a child says they want to be a professional gamer, or a writer, or an actor, it can be hard for parents to truly understand it.
With the ever evolving times and with the definition of what society deems “normal” always changing, the distance between generations, especially with immigrant families, can grow to uncomfortable distances. The subject is serious but Virtual Hitman conveys it with a comedic tone.
After seeing the poster and watching the first few minutes of the film, I had the impression that maybe it used dark humor to make it’s point, bordering on a horror or slasher film. The opening scene is how I imagine the opening of a movie about a serial killer who moonlights as a cook would look like – a long knife on a cutting board next to a pool of blood then it cuts to a man, John Lee played by Simon Sinn, inspecting a larger knife while the voice over says he attempted to kill his daughter. But that’s the point of the movie, misunderstanding.
When Amanda Joy’s character, Lily, comes on and shouts, “How do you like my balls in your face, noob?!” you can’t help but laugh. She is a serious gamer that loves to smack talk, which is quite witty and reminded me of a 13 year old who is playing a rated mature FPS.
Lily is so good at the game, she has qualified to go pro but John feels that she would be wasting her life. He is a man that works multiple jobs to provide for his only child and wants to see her get a stable job. In a quest, he hires online assassin, Tyler, played the humorous Richard Young, to hunt down and kill Lily’s character. His cocky attitude and his overuse of text speak while trying to seem like a real assassin makes him look like the 13 year old boy on the FPS. The way he is finally dispatched was quite… smashing, shall we say?
With all of the changes the younger generations have made with how they communicate, it can be difficult for parents to feel as though their child is paying attention to them when they talk. It can even make it awkward and close to scary to try and communicate with their kids. Or, as in John Lee’s care, having English as a second language while it is their child’s first language can make communicating even more difficult. By the end of the film, you learn that difficult doesn’t equal impossible.
I enjoyed Virtual Hitman and I can understand why it has become a hit on the film festival and comic convention circuits. After watching it multiple times, the only issue I had was with the length of the film. Yes, I understand it’s a short film but I wanted more from it. I wanted to know who Tyler is and his background in gaming. Since the film focuses on Lily and John, you know Mrs. Lee is gone. I found myself questioning what happened to her. How did the family interact before she passed away? It would be great to see it made into a movie but it works quite well with its 13 minute run time.
Virtual Hitman is a must see for most of us, we’ve all dealt with this situation at some point in our life. And, if any of us has kids, we’ll probably deal with it again. If you haven’t been in this situation, then see it for a good laugh.
Along with getting to review this awesome flick, I had a chance to communicate with several members of the cast and crew. Stay tuned to find out how awesomely strange they are.
Let’s ComiConverse about this movie, leave comments or questions in the comment section below.
Jonathan Thompson is a contributor for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Toast
A must see for any gamer or anyone that has had trouble just talking to their parents.