Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Island

Rating: B-

I'm the type of guy that likes a Michael Bay flick. There are always a few things to count on from Michael Bay, who has brought us such classics as The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys I and II, and the upcoming Transformers live-action movie in 2007. You can always find incredible chases featuring cars flying in various directions, slow-mo shoot outs, great special effects, not very deep characters, and a slight story that is there to move things along until the next explosion. He also loves to use a totally hot car in the chase. The Rock - Lamborghini, Bad Boys - Bay's own Porsche, Bad Boys II - Bay's own Ferrari, Transformers - Optimus Prime I guess. We'll get to the cars in this movie in a minute.

The Island does have good intentions with the story starting out. Set in the near future, The Island focuses on the wealthy who want to cheat death by buying insurance policies. Sounds boring right? Well, the policies are actually "products" - cloned folks that are harvested for spare parts. The clones are kept under control in a facility with the story that they are the sole survivors of some sort of horrible disease outbreak. When they are needed for their sponsor, they win a "lottery" and are picked to go to the island, which is advertised as a utopia where the disease hasn't been.

The likeable Ewan McGregor stars as Lincoln 6 Echo, a clone that has always questioned his place in the world. Lincoln starts getting uppity and escapes with Jordan 2 Delta, a full-lipped Scarlett Johansson to discover the truth of his existance. Standing in his way is the lead doctor of the facility, Sean Bean, who always plays a great bad guy, and a miscast Djimon Hounsou, a mercenary bounty hunter type person hired by Bean to get the clones back. The pair are helped out by Bay veteran Steve Buscemi, a tech support/janitor of the facility. Buscemi's Armageddon cohort, a slimmer Michael Clark Duncan, makes a heart wrenching, if not brief, appearance.

There are various slow points and some plot hole such as how McGregor can sneak around so succesfully after we're shown how closely monitored the clones are, but these things are shrugged off after seeing some of the Michael Bay eye candy. There are some humorous parts with McGregor and Johansson adapting to the outside world, and there is a Matrix Reloaded-esqe car chase with Dodge Magnums (yeah!) and Hummers flying all over the place, flying motorcyles, collapsing buildings and lot's of gunfire. Since Detroit is standing in for Los Angeles, there an abundance of Chryler 300's, Corvettes, Dodge Magnums, Chrylser Crossfires, and one very hot Cadillac Cien concept, a 750 hp supercar. Very nice.

Overall, some bubblegum summer fare that starts with good intentions of live your own life, don't let someone else make your descisions and something about freedom, but melts in the heat into a explosion filled, gunfire rattled, classic action dialoge filled (Go!, Run!, Hang on!) action "product". Not for everyone, but it might be for just enough of the guys out there to make a decent bit of money. My recommendation, wait for DVD, which at the rate they are coming out now, might be in September. It's not horrible, but there are better things to see out there.


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