Max (Larenz Tate) has one of the coolest jobs in the world, he’s a video game tester. When the latest game from the top game company in the world, Sentinel, arrives on his doorstep he wastes no time jumping in. He begins to play it right away but something is really different about this game. After playing through the first mission he notices that what’s happening in the game is happening in the real world. The character in the game, Orson Creed (Manu Bennett) is a real person, in fact, he’s the former head of security for Sentinel. Max does what he can to stop the madness but there’s nothing he can do until he teams up with Creed. The evil mastermind behind Sentinel, Kincaid (Linden Ashby) is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his conspiracy under wraps. He has a small army cocked and loaded, ready to stop them in their tracks.
After the genre mashing MATT’S CHANCE, I was curious to see where director Nicholas Gyeney would go. When I spoke with him a couple of years back, he mentioned a horror film. He didn’t make that horror film, he went all out and decided to try his hand at action. BETA TEST is full on action but it’s not an action film for action’s sake, it takes time to develop characters and to tell a story. And from the characters and the story, action does arise.
Gyeney took his time to develop an interesting story, one that requires you to think. The ideas posed in the film aren’t too far off from what we are dealing with today in the form of gun control. He takes these serious issues and creates a near future where video games become reality. With his story in place, casting was just as important for the film to work. We all know Linden Ashby ALWAYS delivers the goods, hell we even get to see him in a really cool action scene. You can tell he’s having a blast as the villain and his role is quite memorable. Larenz Tate is just as believable as the troubled video game nerd who is afraid to leave his own home. He has plenty of reason to be afraid and it’s interesting to see his character grow throughout the course of the film. The big revelation for me was Manu Bennett. I’m not real familiar with him as an actor but in BETA TEST, he will blow you away. His character also goes through a transformation, one that leads the viewer into an insane six minute and ten second single take action scene. The film builds itself, starting out slow before it erupts into this crazy, intense, action-packed finale. Gyeney is a unique talent and I admire everything he’s done thus far, if only someone would start throwing some serious money at him then we could really see what this guy can do.
BETA TEST will be released in select theaters on July 22.