Saturday, October 06, 2007

NEXT MOVIE REVIEW














CAST: NICOLAS CAGE, JESSICA BIEL, JULIANNE MOORE
DIRECTOR: LEE TAMAHORI
RUNTIME: 95 min.
RATING: *
GENRE: ACTION

Remember the brilliant sequence in Minority Report where Anderton and Agatha evade their pursuers by her pre-cognitive abilities. Next, the latest attempt by Hollywood to turn Philip K. Dick in his grave, stretches that sequence over an entire picture. I wonder what drove the need to pull the great man’s name into this picture, wasn’t Paycheck enough of an assault already. All the guy has in common to the protagonist in Dick’s The Golden Man is his name and his future seeing abilities. And that alternate-future judging, come on, even Groundhog Day had that. Next is a one-trick pony based on a preposterously outlandish premise, yet its mediocrity/brilliance lies in the fact that it turns them all into the conventionally clichéd with consummate ease. The fact that Cage can see two minutes into the future and that he can judge all the probable events like one of those chess moves is easily digested and accepted, what the film follows it up with is truckloads of garbage. It is one of those films that pile up a whole load of cockamamie in the name of sci-fi and a decent author, invent some inane internal logic and then don’t even have the courtesy to follow that. The trick would have been better off for an episode of Tom and Gerry where Gerry could second guess every Tom move and drive him crazy, not for a supposed action-blockbuster that has a special effects budget totaling to round figure of US $173, tops.
There is some supposed terrorist attempt to nuke out Los Angeles. Hence, the “Intel” is after the two-minute headstart-in-life Cris Johnson (Cage) to see the future and help them nab the terrorists. I somehow am unable to comprehend the wisdom in having a major chunk of your force and money, not forgetting a stone-in-a-black-suit masquerading as a woman (read Julianne Moore) behind a man who can give you a two-minute advance, tops, in finding a nuke. Still baffling is the terrorists’ counter-move to camp their Entire Team outside the hotel to kill Cris thereby playing their part as effectively as possible in this wild goose chase. They are a curious bunch too, this all-star terrorist team, consisting of members representing the various countries of Europe and some poor-excuse-for-a-sniper guy (couldn’t pinpoint his language or country but he didn’t appear European).
By the way, it is never explained why were the terrorists trying to bomb LA? Maybe because they just saw Déjà vu. Speaking of which, everyone here and the men behind that incredible timeline film could get together and create the most devastatingly unintentional humor-filled film on time/future travel.
Though the dialogues in this film serve the singular aim to let us know what the hell is happening, I still loved the Intel-crap-talk. Right about the time Nic Cage and the incredibly dumb anti-terrorist squad convene a meeting to tell us what their super-dumb strategy is going to be, one moron asks - "What about Intel?" The stone-in-a-black-suit woman snaps – “We don't need it, we have him." And the strategy, to no one’s surprise, involves a whole lot of incomprehensible bang-bang, Cage setting a new landmark in dodging bullets and the obligatory shooting of the black secondary character.
I nowadays have it tough watching one Cage on screen, in the climax, there was a whole army heading in all possible directions in search of all the horribly bad films that are going to come in the future. And this time around, he has outdone his ridiculous hairdo of Ghostrider too. Cage, though, has perfected his impersonation of a zombie, he could even land himself a role as some sort of a zombie leader in the next Resident Evil film. When it comes to a dumb action film, Cage can act it out to the butchers like no one else can. Jessica Biel could use some of those pre-cognitive abilities to look at her career; she is making one out of bombs. She has little to do here apart from being a pleasant view. Julianne Moore is well, just that, a stone-in-a-black-suit.

One thing disturbs me though, why the nod to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove? Isn’t it enough that one great man has been terrorized by his own creation? Yet another thing that saddens me is how someone who made films like Once Were Warriors, Mulholland Falls and The Edge is now making Die another Day, xXx: State of the Union and now this.

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