Government scientist Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) discovers that he can enhance the intelligence of chimpanzees using drugs and computer technology.
Troubled by the moral implications of his work – conducted under the careful watch of an organisation known as ‘The Shop’ – Angelo resigns but continues his research privately by experimenting on amiable but simple-minded gardener Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey).
Jobe is rewarded with powers beyond Angelo’s control, making him more intelligent and dangerous than any other man alive.
The once eye-popping special effects are the real attraction of this science-fiction tale. Otherwise, it’s notable only for its attempt to combine a variation on the Frankenstein theme with the cinematic opportunities offered by “virtual reality”.
While the SFX remain fun, if a little dated by today’s standards, the film’s illustration of mental illness and domestic and child abuse must have been seen as irresponsible even back in 1992.
The producers and studio faced a lawsuit from Stephen King as a result of putting his name above the movie’s title and trying to sell it as an adaptation of one of his stories.
While the studio did own the rights to a couple of King’s works – one with themes very similar to those in the film – the two stories had almost nothing in common (despite a hasty effort from the studio to try and incorporate tiny aspects of the author’s story into theirs) and King walked away victorious.
Dr Lawrence Angelo