Netflix Now: A.I. Unleashed: Tau (2018) Reviewed

When a socially awkward creator and manipulator of artificial intelligence takes people hostage for experimentation, things go awry in a smart house that's designed for imprisonment and death. With a script that's only repressed by its massive amount of story nods, Tau is an interesting bit of doomed futurism that's whip smart in the right places but too slow in others. 

Netflix's newest science fiction release sees Maika Monroe do battle for her life and freedom in an escape plot that mixes broad genre themes into one of their better films of 2018. She's joined by a sneering Ed Skrein and the always talented Gary Oldman voicing the title character, obvious throwback to Hal.

While it's not going to win any awards for originality, self professed fans of the genre will definitely enjoy this sweet little piece of lower budget fare. Adding to the pile of positives is (of course) getting to see Maika once again try her hat at something new. As an ever evolving y ounger actress, she seems to always pick the right roles. Tau sees Maika shine as she gets to carry nearly the entire film by herself. With a main cast that features only three actors, she has the room to refine her talents as a central character that lifts the burden of the script with little effort. As I've never really been a fan of his, Skrein definitely ups his acting a few notches to meet Maika's flair for creating a powerful female protagonist. The cat and mouse between them calls back to older thrillers where wits were more important than visuals. 

Compiling the claustrophobic imprisonment trope of Ex_Machina with the robotic elements of Hardware into the information seeking higher intelligence of Short Circuit with the all seeing AI of 2001, this is definitely an homage that compiles some of the things we've all grown to know and love about sci-fi as a whole. When a sex worker is taken hostage by a crazed scientist, a Doctor Frankenstein of sorts, her only hope is the overseeing Tau and his computerized addiction to memories and knowledge. With so many tributes to other, far greater movies, this Netflix streamer is simply a fun watch that will have most viewers on their toes enjoying what they pulled off here. 

If you're looking for something cool this weekend, check this one out. It's not high art but the robot design is phenomenal and hearing Oldman's voice over work is definitely a breath of fresh air.