Director: Jim Gillespie Starring: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, John Woo Budget: $12m Box Office: $80m
Plot: Very dated but still fun cold war hacker thriller. This sees a Seattle slacker (a proto-Ferris Bueller for Broderick) who almost starts WWIII by blundering into NORAD and starting what he thinks is a game called “Thermonuclear War”, waking up an insane AI (WOPR, AKA “Joshua”) in the process. Doofus. Barry Corbin threatens to piss on a spark plug. Armageddon is averted with a game of noughts and crosses.
WarGames: The Dead Code (2008)
Director: Stuart Gillard Starring: Matt Lanter, Amanda Walsh, Colm Feore
Plot: “The game isn’t over!” warned the blurb, but it took 25 years for anyone to notice. This one, reasonably enough, tries to update the original with current hot-button technological and geopolitical material. It’s about a kid who gambles online, playing a terrorism-based game that’s actually government spyware to trap potential insurgents. The crazy AI this time is called RIPLEY (geddit?), and the connection to the first film is Professor Falken (John Wood last time, Gary Reineke here) who really should be locked up for the planet’s safety. There’s also a Russian Roulette WOPR vs. RIPLEY showdown for good measure.