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Code 8 (2019 film)

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Code 8
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJeff Chan
Screenplay byChris Pare
Story byJeff Chan
Based onCode 8 (2016) short film
Produced by
CinematographyAlex Disenhof
Edited byPaul Skinner
Music byRyan Taubert
Distributed byElevation Pictures
Release dates
Running time
100 minutes[1]
Box office$157,209[2]

Code 8 is a 2019 Canadian science fiction superhero action film written and directed by Jeff Chan, and starring the cousins Stephen and Robbie Amell. It is a feature-length version of the 2016 short film of the same name about a man with superhuman abilities who works with a group of criminals to raise money to help his sick mother.

Code 8 was released theatrically in December 2019, with Netflix releasing it for streaming in April 2020.

The film's sequel, Code 8: Part II, was released on Netflix on February 28, 2024. Robbie and Stephen Amell, as well as Aaron Abrams and Alex Mallari Jr., reprise their roles.


In the early 20th century, the public becomes aware of people with superhuman abilities, known as Powers, resulting in the government passing a law requiring all Powers to register their abilities. Although they are initially popular in the workforce, as the Third Industrial Revolution begins, Powers are marginalized.

A crime syndicate known as the Trust has flooded the streets with an addictive drug called Psyke, made from the spinal fluid of trafficked Powers. Police departments begin using drone-deployed robots, called Guardians, and facial recognition software to combat Power-related crime while a citywide Powers ban is debated.

Connor Reed, a 26-year-old Electric ("electrokinetic") looks after his mother, Mary, a Cryo ("cryokinetic"), whose ailment impedes her from controlling her powers. They cannot afford treatment. Connor makes ends meet by working as an unregistered day laborer alongside other Powers. Elsewhere in the city, a drug raid is conducted by detectives Park and Davis on an apartment complex owned by crime lord Marcus Sutcliffe, the local Trust agent and a Reader (mind reader).

Connor is approached by Garrett, Marcus' underling and a TK (telekinetic), and his crew for a job, which turns out to be a robbery. Connor is introduced to Marcus and meets Nia, Marcus's apparent girlfriend. Park and Davis arrive at the robbery scene the next day and determine that Marcus is desperate for revenue.

Garrett recruits Connor for more jobs while training him to maximize his abilities and agrees to help him earn enough money to get Mary's treatment. Connor grows close with Garrett's crew—Freddie, a mute Brawn (super strength), and Maddy, a Pyro (pyrokinetic).

Marcus has the crew rob a bank to pay back the Trust, but the vault contains only a tenth of the money they expected. Wesley's Shifter (shapeshifter) assassin, Copperhead, attempts to kill Marcus for not honoring his debt, but Marcus's bodyguard Rhino, a Brawn with bulletproof skin, kills her. Nia reveals to Connor that she is a Healer, and only remains with Marcus to ease the effects of his Psyke addiction and pay off her imprisoned father's debt.

Mary's condition worsens, and the doctors tell Connor that they need to operate soon to save her. Park and Davis bring Connor in for questioning. Davis wants to plant evidence and coerce him into informing. Park cuts him loose due to lack of evidence.

When Connor is released he goes to Garrett and suggests they rob a police-confiscated Psyke transport, which will make them $10 million. They bring the idea to Marcus, where Connor demands Nia heal Mary as payment.

On the day of the heist, the crew blocks the transport inside a no-fly zone, preventing backup by drones carrying Guardians. Although they manage to retrieve the Psyke non-lethally, Marcus's men execute police officers and betray them. They kill Maddy and fatally wound Freddie, while Rhino flees with the drugs. Connor tells Garrett that Marcus framed them because of Garrett's demands, and they part ways.

Connor contacts Park and offers up Marcus's hideout. The cops raid it while Connor and Garrett team up to fight and kill both Rhino and Marcus. Garrett takes the Psyke and encourages Connor to get Nia. She pleads with Connor to let her go, as her abilities force her to take the injury or disease onto herself. He takes Nia to the hospital at gunpoint to cure his mother, but changes his mind after having a flashback. Mary dies soon after.

Connor gives Nia his truck to leave the city, while Garrett hands over the Psyke to Wesley and takes over the drug trade for the Trust in Lincoln City. Connor visits his mother's grave before he goes on the run, while Nia has a tearful visit with her father. Meanwhile, the Powers Ban is being voted on while Park reluctantly accepts an award.



In 2016, Robbie and Stephen Amell released a short film, Code 8, which acted as a teaser for a potential feature film. An Indiegogo fundraising campaign asking for $200,000 was launched on March 23 and reached $2.4 million by April 24.[3] Fundraising closed with $3.4 million on December 31, 2019, with the continued campaign helping recover costs of DVD pressings and the distribution to contributors of perks, wardrobe, and props from the production.[3] A four-minute segment of the film's closing credits shows a list of only some of the 30,810 contributors[3] to the fundraising campaign.

The first announcement of additional cast came on June 12, 2017, when Laysla De Oliveira joined.[4]

Principal photography began on June 1, 2017, in Toronto.[5]

Ryan Taubert composed the film score, and Sony Masterworks released the soundtrack.


On February 9, 2017, during the Berlin International Film Festival, XYZ Films acquired the international sales rights for the film.[6]

The film was released theatrically in Canada on 6 December 2019 and in the United States on December 13; its streaming release on Netflix followed on April 11, 2020.[7]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 81% of 21 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.2/10.[8] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 48 out of 100, based on five critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[9]

Dennis Harvey of Variety found the crowdfunded Code 8 a "solid genre effort" that "is resourceful and polished on a tight budget". He noted a few limitations, for example a screenplay that "packs in a lot of characters and complications without much time to lend them distinguishing personality", not enough humor to transcend the "sentimental cliché" of a mother needing medical treatment, and a "lack of stylistically bold elements in the competent action sequences". He nevertheless thought the film a "well-crafted mix of crime melodrama and fantasy" with "generally strong" performances from its actors, and visual effects that "present a plausible near-future", and that this feature represented an "impressive leap in scale" from Chan's 2014 debut film.[10]

Noel Murray of Los Angeles Times wrote that while the movie had "clearly been made with passion and intelligence", the "ideas outpace the action" and it was made "without the kind of zip that this kind of story demands".[11]

In April 2020, the film appeared on the Top 10 Netflix list for the United States.[12]


Spin-off series[edit]

In December 2019, a short-form spin-off series was announced to be in development at Quibi, starring Robbie and Stephen Amell, written by Chris Pare, and directed by Jeff Chan.[13] Following the announcement that Quibi was shutting down, the series was left in limbo.[14]


In June 2021, Robbie and Stephen Amell reprised their roles in the sequel film that was released in 2024.[15] Netflix acquired the global rights to the film.[16]


  1. ^ "CODE 8". Sitges Film Festival. Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  2. ^ "Code 8". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on February 1, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Code 8 – a film from Robbie & Stephen Amell". Indiegogo. March 3, 2020. Archived from the original on May 17, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  4. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (June 13, 2017). "Laysla De Oliveira to Co-Star in 'Code 8'; James Jagger Joins 'The Last Full Measure'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 27, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  5. ^ "Production begins on sci-fi thriller 'Code 8'". Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Hipes, Patrick (February 9, 2017). "Robbie & Stephen Amell's Sci-Fi Thriller 'Code 8' Ramps Up With XYZ Films Deal – Berlin". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Stephen and Robbie Amell's 'Code 8' Now Streaming on Netflix". Nerds and Beyond.
  8. ^ "Code 8". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 9, 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  9. ^ "Code 8". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
  10. ^ Harvey, Dennis (December 12, 2019). "'Code 8': Film Review". Variety.
  11. ^ Murray, Noel (December 5, 2019). "Review: Sorry, Stephen Amell. 'Code 8' is no 'Arrow'". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Watercutter, Angela. "Everyone Is Watching Code 8 on Netflix". Wired.
  13. ^ Erik, Pedersen (December 10, 2019). "'Code 8' Spinoff Series Starring Robbie Amell & Stephen Amell Set at Quibi". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  14. ^ Mullin, Benjamin; Flint, Joe; Farrell, Maureen (October 21, 2020). "Quibi Is Shutting Down as Problems Mount". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  15. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (June 1, 2021). "Robbie Amell & Stephen Amell to Star in 'Code 8' Sequel". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 1, 2021. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  16. ^ "Netflix Acquires Global Rights to Canadian Sci-fi Sequel "Code 8: Part II"". Netflix Media Center. Retrieved June 14, 2021.

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