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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Lee Tamahori|
scr Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, Paul Bernbaum
with Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, Jose Zuniga, Jim Beaver, Jason Butler Harner, Michael Trucco, Enzo Cilenti, Laetitia Danielle, Nicolas Pajon
release US/UK 27.Apr.07
07/US Revolution 1h36
Stand back! Moore and Cage
Very loosely based on a Philip K Dick story, this film establishes has a smart premise before it turns into another big, dumb action movie. But the cast is clearly having a ball.
Cris Johnson (Cage) is better known as Vegas stage magician Frank Cadillac, although for someone who genuinely has a supernatural ability, he isn't terribly successful. He can see a couple of minutes into the future, and now the tenacious FBI Agent Ferris (Moore) is after him to help find a stolen Russian nuke. But first Cris needs to meet the woman (Biel) of, literally, his dreams, and get her away from the Feds and the terrorist (Kretschmann). Or maybe he should save the world.
Since Cris has the intriguing ability to actually try out various potential futures before picking one, the filmmakers have a great time with red herrings and shocking plot twists. Cris observes that every time you see the future it changes, just because you saw it. So virtually anything is possible. Unfortunately, after establishing this idea, the screenwriters don't really go anywhere, merely injecting it into effects-based action movie scenarios as the story gets increasingly contrived.
But the actors go for it. Cage is in glowering Elvis mode, knowingly playing with his character's Groundhog Day existence. His romance with Biel isn't remotely convincing, but at least they have some chemistry. Meanwhile, Moore throws off her subtle acting genius with over-the-top scene-chomping. She struts and shouts and waves her big gun, clearly having too much fun, even with the terrible dialog she has to deliver.
Tamahori deploys everything he learned from making those Bond and XXX movies to create a slick, exciting, chase thriller that's punctuated by outrageously eye-popping set pieces. He even stops for a gloriously scenic Grand Canyon interlude, not to mention improbably coaxing Biel into a towel. You get the feeling that everyone involved knew how ludicrous the plot was, but they never flinch as they power to the big finale, which it must be said is somewhat annoying. It's a great idea that goes very silly indeed. As if Michael Bay had been handed the script for The Prestige.
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© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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