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'Delete' review: Series predicts own fate

Seth Green stars as a hacker trying to

Seth Green stars as a hacker trying to defeat malevolent artificial-intelligence computers in the Reelz cable TV movie "Delete," premiering Aug. 19. Credit: Sonar Entertainment

TV MOVIE "Delete"

WHEN | WHERE Monday night 8-10:30 on Reelz

REASON TO WATCH Computers get too smart for our own good. Call in the nukes.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Years ago, college grad Steven Spielberg launched his career off an evil 18-wheeler trying to run down motorist Dennis Weaver in "Duel." That was not long after big-screen director Stanley Kubrick's rogue computer menaced future astronauts in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Now it's the whole blasted Internet that's faceless but deadly on the rampage. The world's computer chips unite to form an out-of-control artificial intelligence linking mainframes, laptops, cellphones and even cars to wreak havoc on baffled humans.

Who could possibly stop this new "living entity"? Security experts led by Matt Frewer give it a go. So does America's military. But only a Pittsburgh reporter (Erin Karpluk) and a teen hacker (Keir Gilchrist) could really get the job done.

MY SAY Shot in the gray light of Vancouver, "Delete" jumps from the Pentagon, to a nuclear plant in Iran, to London, to a ship off Uruguay, to Cleveland. Plenty takes place, but little makes a mark or a point. The rushed succession of expository scenes claims global society is essentially ripped to shreds -- "Anarchy in the streets!" -- without its characters so much as breaking a sweat (until Frewer's air-conditioning goes out). There's a lot of staring into computer screens, spouting "polymorphic code" babble, fancy-schmancy graphics rolling out and even sexy-sequined-bra chicks embodying our geek hero's tortured synapses -- none of which merits looking up from checking texts on your (potentially deadly!) cellphone.

Thank goodness for '80s autos, paper maps and Seth Green, who pops up (too) late to breathe some itchy life into these conniptions. Green brings cyberskills and massive firepower while decrying "all the toxic crap people stream through their keyboards."

Or their TV sets. Reelz is trying to break through cable clutter by buying up splashy movies/miniseries like this one and Sept. 9's David James Elliott effort, "Exploding Sun." Here's the high concept: Name "stars" go slumming. Life itself is threatened. Things blow up.

But just because you throw it at the screen doesn't mean we stick.

BOTTOM LINE Intriguing potential, lifeless execution.


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