Cube Zero (2004)

Look, I’m still a bit mad about Cube²: Hypercube, but I’m really mad that this is a prequel and not a sequel. Sure, it would be pretty hard to raise the stakes on the insanity that was the previous movie, but YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO CALL THIS MOVIE CUBE³–AKA CUBE CUBED–AND YOU DIDN’T! DISHONOR ON YOU! DISHONOR ON YOUR COW!!

Ahem… With that out of the way, let’s talk about all the other ways Cube Zero is disappointing.

This movie is supposed to be a prequel to the original Cube, but it’s a little vague on that part. See, the main character of this one is a technician who watches people die in the Cube. But when he grows a conscience because a pretty girl is trapped, he goes in and saves her. And in the end he… well… let me start over.

Cube Zero takes place in a dystopian future, slightly different from the one we’re currently living in; soldiers have microchips in their brains, and political dissidents are rounded and and put into–you guessed it–the Cube. The story our protagonist believes is that most of the people in there were convicted of crimes that warrant the death penalty, but they opted to try their luck in the Cube instead. How do we verify this? Consent forms! No, really, consent forms are important enough that when the pretty lady doesn’t have one (a very easily forged document), our protagonist feels guilty enough that he tries to rescue her. And he succeeds! The two escape the Cube through a hidden exit (not the exit from the first movie, and I’ll get to that) and while he’s captured, she manages to escape. Or at least a vision says she did? As for him, he gets a lobotomy that has him acting very much like Kazan, the mentally handicapped guy in the first movie. The internet says they’re the same person, but it makes more sense that this is a procedure they sometimes do, and that Kazan was also a victim. So lobotomies cause autism! I expect anti-vaxxers to start rallying against that any day now.

If you can’t tell already, this movie is bad. So much information is provided about who is running the Cube and why, but none of that is needed. Fuck, none of that is even wanted! Not like this! It even goes so far as to show what happens when someone escapes the Cube: after walking into the blinding white light, chains zip up and hold the survivor in place. The technicians ask them to identify themselves, then ask if they believe in God. If they say “no,” the technicians push the big NO button and they’re incinerated. What happens if they say “yes?” It’s never explained. Sooo… barely verbal Kazan definitely died. Thanks, movie!

But wait, there’s more! Like the previous two, one guy tries to kill everyone else; but instead of a slow descent into madness, his brain microchip is turned on and he becomes a killing machine. We have hints of him maybe becoming the villain, but actually being evil is out of his control. Also the memories of the prisoners are wiped, despite that never being a thing before. And while the main villain is kind of cool, his robotic eye prosthetic looks awful. This feels like a made for TV movie with no sex or foul language, but enough gore effects that SyFy would never air it.

Hell, while watching this there was only one thing that brought me joy: the other female prisoner was the [English] voice of Sailor Moon for the first three seasons of the original anime of the same name. Here she died a nasty death (necrotizing fasciitis), but it’s nice to finally put a face to a voice I grew up listening to.


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