The Netflix original film “iboy” takes its source material from English writer Kevin Brook’s young-adult novel of the same name. Tom (Bill Milner) is a slightly awkward, high school teenager, who lives in modern day London with his grandmother, Nan, portrayed by BAFTA winner, Miranda Richardson (Damage). The catalyst for the film is Tom’s visit with his friend and love interest, Lucy, who is played by Emmy nominee, Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones). When he arrives at her apartment, he observes that her front door is open. When he walks inside he sees that her older brother is laying unconscious on the floor. If that weren’t enough of a jolt to his senses, Tom hears noises coming from Lucy’s bedroom; unbeknownst to him, she is being raped, as an act of revenge by a local gang, that is punishing her, for her brother’s refusal to join them. As Tom begins to head in the direction of Lucy’s room, two gun toting, hooded figures, wearing bandanas to disguise their faces step out of the room. They are not alone. Tom flees the scene, and while attempting to call the police, he is shot.
Approximately ten days after the shooting, Tom wakes up in the hospital. The incident results in him having a pronounced scar. Furthermore, pieces of his smartphone, that he was holding next to his ear, when he was shot, have become embedded in his brain. Dr. Bale (Christopher Colquhoun) informs Tom, that he feels it would be too dangerous to Tom’s life if he attempted to operate in order to remove the phone fragments. It doesn’t take Tom long to realize, that life, as he knows it, has changed beyond just his scar and medical issues. As a result of his shooting, Tom has acquired special abilities. Minus the violent act, there is no explanation as to how Tom’s powers come to manifest themselves. In a quasi-superhero themed movie of this nature, made strictly for entertainment, none is particularly needed.
Guilt stricken over what happened to Lucy, who spends the majority of the film bed-ridden, and understandably traumatized, Tom begins to exact revenge under the moniker ‘iBoy.’ He wants to bring Lucy’s rapists to justice; a positive by-product of his vigilantism is, in the process, he helps to eliminate members of the drug dealing gangs that wreak havoc in his neighborhood. Tom’s new special powers, allow him to hack into the memory of the cell phone of one of the thugs that was used to film Lucy’s attack. From that, Tom begins to identify who was responsible, some of whom turn out to be student’s in his school. Additional powers, amongst others that Tom demonstrates during the film, is his ability to: manipulate electronic devices in order to use police surveillance equipment to his benefit; control the locking systems of automobiles; and function like a computer, instantaneously downloading information. As time passes, Tom’s retribution against the gang members increases from simply exposing their private moments for all to see, to putting their freedom, and in certain instances, their very lives in jeopardy. None of it sits well with Ellman, the boss of the criminal enterprise, convincingly portrayed, during limited screen time, by BAFTA nominated actor Rory Kinnear (Southcliffe).
How far will Tom take his vigilantism? Will he be apprehended by the police for his actions? Does his true identity become exposed to the gang members? What will they do if they capture him? Will they kill him outright, or exploit his powers for their own gain? What will happen to Lucy? Does she help ‘iBoy’ bring her brutal assailants to justice?
iBoy” was directed by Adam Randall. The screenplay was by BAFTA nominated writer, Joe Barton (Our World War); additional writing credits for the film are listed for Mark Denton and Jonny Stockwood. Parts action – crime – Sci-Fi and thriller, the film was released internationally on January 27, 2017. “iBoy” doesn’t contain anything that audiences haven’t seen before. The tropes on display throughout the movie’s 90 minute duration are present in a number of other superhero themed films, albeit, on a much smaller scale. In the interest of full disclosure, I only watched the Netflix original because Williams is in it. Arya Stark is my favorite character on “Game of Thrones,” and I enjoy seeing Williams in other productions. In my opinion, she is a very talented actress, who I believe will only continue to get better, the more her career evolves. The film, in and of itself, was passable entertainment for one time viewing. It wasn’t a bad film, nor a great one, just something that, for me, primarily because Williams had a co-starring role, held my interest until the closing credits.