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Morgan’ offers little variation on its killer-kid premise

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Mara (right) has a secret in Morgan.

Two and a half stars

Morgan Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie. Directed by Luke Scott. Rated R. Opens Friday citywide.

Creating a super-strong, super-intelligent genetically engineered person with accelerated growth rates never works out well for anyone, but apparently the characters in Morgan hadn’t seen enough movies, because they went ahead and did it anyway. Not surprisingly, then, Morgan (The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy), who has the physical appearance of a teenager, the intelligence of an advanced computer and the emotional development of a five-year-old, rebels against her creators and violently attacks one of them. That’s when the corporate overlords behind the project decide to bring in a “consultant” (Kate Mara) who’s clearly not just there to fill out forms.

Produced by Ridley Scott and directed by his son Luke, Morgan has an overqualified cast for such a throwaway genre piece, with Paul Giamatti, Brian Cox, Michelle Yeoh and Jennifer Jason Leigh all showing up in small roles (Leigh is particularly wasted). Taylor-Joy goes two for two in her portrayals of creepy kids at the movies this year, and Mara is appropriately steely as the investigator with a really, really obvious secret (which frustratingly isn’t revealed until literally the last moment). Morgan is generic and forgettable, with minimal suspense and a plot that never deviates from the predictable, but it features enough craftsmanship to distract from the most glaring flaws.

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