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TETRIS (2023)

Release Date: 03/31/23 [Apple TV+]
Genre: Biography. Drama. History.

Studio: Apple TV+

"The story of how one of the world's most popular video games found its way to players around the globe. Businessman Henk Rogers and Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov join forces in the USSR, risking it all to bring Tetris to the masses." 


A fast-paced, dramatic retelling of the origin of a beloved kids video game sounds like a sketch ripped right from Saturday Night Live. Or maybe even a satirical dramady a la the Weird Al movie. But don’t be fooled – Tetris is a real, two-hour feature film premiering on Apple TV+ and it’s actually pretty good.


Taron Egerton plays Henk Rogers – a struggling video game developer who, despite plugging his products with all the swagger of a smooth-talking used car salesman, isn’t having much luck finding success. One day at a Las Vegas gaming convention, Rogers stumbles upon what he is (correctly) sure will be the next big thing: a simple yet addictive game called "Tetris". Henk is so confident in this game that he bets his own home (which also houses his wife and children, by the way,) when working to strike a deal with Russia for international gaming rights. Unfortunately, the Russians have no interest in playing fair.


There are threats. There is blackmail. There’s also a sweet budding bromance between Henk and Tetris’s original developer, Alexey (Nikita Efremov). And I simply must give props to any film which seamlessly slips in a musical interlude with Taron Egerton playing some sick air guitar to "The Final Countdown".


In terms of aesthetics, Tetris looks how the very thought of the ‘80s feels. Egerton’s Magnum P.I.-esque mustache practically serves as its own supporting character. And it’s not all KGB and fist fights – there’s plenty of fun to be had here. Be honest: you never knew a simple video game could cause so much chaos. Of course, with millions of dollars at stake, there’s bound to be a bit of drama. And the lightheartedness of the game combined with the seriousness of the stakes is balanced quite well.


Egerton’s likability as Henk serves as a solid anchor in this Cold War-era flick and the supporting cast, while not super memorable, is pleasant enough. It might not win any awards, but Tetris – much like its titular game – is a fun way to waste a couple hours.

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