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movie review

M.I.O. Movie Review: C.I.Ape (2021)

2:38 PM EDT on June 19, 2023

A few weeks back, as part of my effort to catch up on Oklahoma-made cinema, I watched C.I.Ape – a modern-day CGI-fueled flick that, more than anything, made me wish I was watching the 1970s camp classic Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.

Filmed in the greater Oklahoma City area and a powerplant near Weatherford, C.I.Ape is a kid's movie that focuses on a “secret” spy agency filled with a cast of zany characters, most of which are played by anonymous actors wanting an IMDB credit.

The film primarily focuses on the tinker-tanker soldier-spying mischief of a girl named Bondi (Sophia Alongi) and her somewhat-verbal CGI ape-companion C.I.Ape.

As a team, they infiltrate the very epsilons of a cartoonish shadow government and take on its impish cronies who want to create a one-world dictatorship that will crush foes with the power of…well, that’s never really explained.

Although nothing really happens in this movie, and the plot is flimsier than a bad banana – as a matter of fact, I had to rewind the epilogue of the movie twice to find out what happened – it is packed with a bunch of grade school giggles and hijinks, like C.I.Ape doing the “dougie” after a win, the mission commander drinking sour milk, and Bondi’s family comically teetering on divorce.

Well, I don't think the last part is supposed to be funny, but I couldn't help but laugh.

I also enjoyed the film’s villain, who reminds me of Street Fighter’s M. Bison at a sadomasochistic night-club with chains and whips draped around his bulging torso.

Unless you're a kid or fan of Lucas Ross – he takes a “wacky” turn as the mad scientist – there's honestly not much else to like about C.I.Ape. The plot is terrible and the acting is so bad that the cyber-ape turns out to be the most believable part of the movie. Is this how the new Planet of the Apes starts?

But, to be fair, there are scenes filmed at Memorial Park on N. Classen—in which the CGI-primate whips a golf-frisbee disc all hurdy-gurdy-like—as well as the backgrounds of the classy areas of Heritage Hills.

There are also shark-laden lake scenes, a battle-ready mansion fight, and plenty of extras at the spy headquarters, but I don’t know if that’s on-location M.I.O. photography or studio-embellished work.

Either way, with plenty of spy and monkey movies to fool around with, sorry, but C.I.Ape is decommissioned and declassified.

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