Having sat down about this time last year to watch ‘Skyfall’ but catching the first ten minutes of this film due to a mistake in the projection booth, I was actually looking forward to watching it. After waiting for it to be released on DVD and then watching it with the same excitement, I think it’s safe to say my interest was like a bag of sand with a small hole placed in it; it slowly drained out of me as the film progressed.
From the first ten minutes you hear Joseph Gorden-Levitt recite a speech that sums up who his character is and what sort of world he lives in, being a gun for hire who kills people that are sent to him from the future. That was interesting I’ll admit, but I wish I could say the same for the rest of the film. The concept behind the film is very good and has some level of interest but the delivery was not up to scratch. You have a story that fills you with details as you go along that somehow become important or don’t amount to anything so it’s all a bit hit and miss. The film the writer set out to make at the beginning is really good but it looses it’s way and turns into a different film entirely which is a real shame.
I’m not saying that Rihan Johnson did a terrible job, it’s just it needs a lot of tweaking, particularly in terms of writing. If I was sat there questioning how someone was somewhere at one time but then this happened to them later and then this person can’t even exist anymore it just goes to show two things; firstly it can’t be that well written, but secondly I’m not engaged enough in it. Time travel is always a fascinating area to use in a science fiction film, but it has to be applied well. I can appreciate that the film is ambitious with what it’s trying to achieve but personally I don’t feel it reached it.
I also found some of the visuals quite out of place as well, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt being altered to look like Bruce Willis (his character from the future) but not actually looking human any more. It’s got the usual splattering of ‘future technology’ thrown across the screen, combined with a “this is how the poorest of the poor live” and “this is how the wealthy live” making it quite average in terms of how visually pleasing it is. The violence in the film is a bit over the top too, with Bruce Willis engaging in some very stupid scenes towards the end involving a machine gun which were incredibly boring and were the points in which I considered leaving the room to get a drink. The violence is really vamped up to eleven and phasers are set to ‘dumb’ in the last section of the film and it really made my eyelids feel heavy.
From my point of view the film thinks it has more themes and messages than it actually does. I think the film is attempting to show the exploitation of the class system and how the lower classes can be treated in certain circumstances but this is only touched upon briefly so it doesn’t matter. And the whole message of “be careful of your actions because violence has it’s consequences” is completely negated by the level of violence in the third act of the film in which the film shows Bruce Willis killing an innocent person and then asks you not to care about it. I don’t think so.
Overall I give the film two and a half stars out of five, it wasn’t terrible but it was far from perfect. I really science fiction films and I have to say this didn’t meet my expectations. I can appreciate how ambitious it was and how gritty it tried to be, but it was trying too hard to be the type of science fiction film ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Total Recall’ already succeeded at being before the year 2000. It’s a real shame that the writer lost their way and ended up not making the film we all wanted from the first half. In the end I would feel more angry about the film if I was more engaged with it and took an active interest. But that would mean watching it again. Which I don’t want to do.