Emmy Iyerwrote on Apr 8 2011 3:32PM
Computer whiz kid Will Farmer's (Matt Lanter) neighbor Massaude comes to Will having a problem with his computer. Will takes the computer and hooks his own up to it and discovers that Massaude's brother is using his online banking to make huge profits. Since he needs $550 to go on a chess club trip, Will steals $500 from Massaude's account to gamble on an online gaming site that uses games that are based on terrorist attacks. He ends up winning $25,000, with the aid of his mother, who knows about biological agents. Little does he know that the online game he plays is actually part of a sophisticated piece of U.S. government spyware designed to find potential terrorists based on how well they perform and bet on the games. The spyware program is run by a new, advanced artificial intelligence system called R.I.P.L.E.Y., which has ultimate control over every American electronic system in order to combat terrorism.
Homeland Security, now believing Farmer to be a terrorist, sets out to apprehend him. During Will's return home one day he finds Massaude is being arrested on account of suspected terrorism, and gives Will a huge amount of cash as payment, which he uses to finance his trip. Unknown to him and Homeland Security, R.I.P.L.E.Y. misinterprets the data and begins outright falsifying evidence to pursue Will. On his arrival to the airport, he finds that there is an abnormally large number of security guards. He manages to slip away and meets up with his friend Annie.
In the streets, he manages to hack the government network, only to be found by the police, and as Annie pointed out, a man in an overcoat. The cops chase the couple until they get lost in the subway systems. Will manages to find a way out, and they meet the man who was watching them from the doorway, he says that he nearly started World War 3, and to meet them at his truck. He is revealed to be Professor Falken, who had helped design R.I.P.L.E.Y. They travel to a small power plant outside a dam, where the professor shows them a dilapidated computer called WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) from the original WarGames film, which is operating the power grid at only 5% of its potential efficiency. Professor Falken had designed this computer to aid in the planning of a global thermonuclear war if it was needed. Falken re-activates (awakens) WOPR with his backdoor password "Joshua" (the name of Falken's deceased son as well as the name the professor uses to refer to the A.I. that is WOPR). Meanwhile, R.I.P.L.E.Y. is led to believe that Philadelphia has been hit by an bioterrorist attack and decides to halt the spread of the bioweapon by hijacking a Predator drone with missiles and a nuclear warhead on board and use it destroy the city.
Falken instructs Joshua to attack R.I.P.L.E.Y. with a faux script full of cultural references; Joshua is instructed to "BUKK" R.I.P.L.E.Y. with games, using variables named ABSOLUTE_TAKEOVER, JDI_MINDTRICK, MAKE_ME_SWAY, TAKIN_CARE_OF_BUSINESS, PILLOW_TALK, and GAME_THEORY. Joshua starts flooding R.I.P.L.E.Y.'s system with games, which seem to be overloading the system, but then R.I.P.L.E.Y. shuts down and reboots to successfully rid herself of the games.
Rebooted, R.I.P.L.E.Y. redirects the Predator drone, which she uses to destroy the facility housing Joshua. Joshua warns The professor that R.I.P.L.E.Y.'s advancing attack would result in obliteration; so Will and Annie flee the facility just before it gets blown up by the drone's missile, with the professor, who was dying from pancreatic cancer remaining in the building at the time, last seen pressing a button and saying "Good bye, Joshua".
The couple is arrested by Homeland Security and are taken to the room where R.I.P.L.E.Y. is stored, only to find that she has taken control over the system, and they discover that Professor Falken has transferred Joshua via an email to them to help them stop R.I.P.L.E.Y. They first try to use W.O.P.R. and internet users to stage a denial of service attack, which causes R.I.P.L.E.Y to overload. R.I.P.L.E.Y., knowing that she has been compromised by W.O.P.R., decides to self destruct by launching a nuclear warhead at Washington D.C.. Annie remembers a chess game known as "Suicide Chess" which is equated to being the same as Russian Roulette, where the goal is to lose as opposed to winning. They again pit W.O.P.R. against R.I.P.L.E.Y. by granting him access to America's nuclear launch codes allowing W.O.P.R. to threaten nuclear retaliation if R.I.P.L.E.Y destroys Washington D.C. Having learned the concept of futility presented by an unwinnable game, R.I.P.L.E.Y. runs through all the possible scenarios of a total war, which all end in stalemates (Mutual Assured Destruction) as well. At which point she says "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play", just as Joshua had said at the end of the original film after learning how to play Tic-Tac-Toe.
After R.I.P.L.E.Y. relinquishes control, Will asks W.O.P.R. if he really would have launched the missiles if R.I.P.L.E.Y. carried out the attack. W.O.P.R replies that he would have, and that humanity is doomed, before revealing that he was merely joking.