Bionic | Official Trailer | Netflix

There will always be something uniquely intriguing to science fiction movies that reflect on how we can change our bodies via technology. The liberation that can come from shedding the more fragile parts of ourselves to instead become stronger, faster, and, potentially, nearly invulnerable, makes for an inherently engaging entry point. Of course, with this freedom comes a fundamental question: what makes us human? Is our fragility part of being alive? What is lost when we are turned into a machine that can be a tool for others? When Peter Weller’s Alex Murphy became an android following a terrible accident in RoboCop, was he still the man that he was before nearly all of his body was replaced? Does the path to personal discovery in Alita: Battle Angel mimic what it means to find purpose in our own lives?

These are all interesting questions that are there in the background of Netflix’s Bionic, which ends up feeling like it combines both of those movies with mixed results. The latest in the run of iffy sci-fi movies for the streamer, following duds like Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver and Atlas, it always seems like it is stopping short of making the big leaps that it needs to. Directed by Afonso Poyart and written by Josefina Trotta, it is increasingly stuck in the middle between two different films. One is a sports drama surrounding an athlete who is given a second chance at competing.

With the new potential for bionic limbs, she can now run faster and jump higher than ever before. The other is a thriller surrounding a heist gone awry that soon expands outwards into this sports world. Each story has some potential promise, but the film is never able to meld the two together. When dragged down by some shaky visual effects, it’s an experience that remains increasingly stuck on the ground.

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