Re: General Movie Discussion Part II
(Originally posted to my FB, and seeing as how others are also sharing thoughts here, bear with me explaining a chunk of the movie to you like you've never heard of it.)
Got back a while ago from Looper.
Let me just start this off by saying that this movie is really not taking enough pride in the fact that it has a pretty damn original setting and synopsis.
So time travel has been invented thirty years into the future, and crime bosses are sending back dudes in time to be killed by hired assassins of the present day, thus easily disposing of bodies. They cut their contracts off by having said hired assassin kill their future self and enjoy the next 30 years of life to their fullest. But one dude doesn't want to kill his future self for a few split seconds, and he now has to kill his escaped older self while also on the run from the Mafia.
Now from the perspective of a Hollywood executive, what I just stated alone, is likely viewed as fucking gold. You have the perfect blend of science fiction, thriller, crime, and not only that, but throw in Robin from the Dark Knight Rises AND Bruce Willis? That's the kind of stuff that's green-lighted within mere moments.
And, for the most part, the first (probably) hour of this movie pulls shit off with ease. Everything is explained in an interestingly stylized fashion, the writing itself is fairly well done and the characters have a pretty good amount of depth; very few share similar traits and all have a different type of relatability that could potentially come in handy later on.
That is, assuming, there actually is a "later on".
Following the aforementioned first hour, the entire movie gets the impression its on the wrong bus, and quickly finds a different coach to board. We go from an almost grindhouse-esque Mafia film with an absolute army of characters to unload, to a slow-building Sixth Sense meets Cowboys vs. Aliens. Suddenly, a multitude of points from the premise gets scythed. The protagonist's, Joe, love interest is never mentioned again, his often-shown drug abuse problem is never brought up, the Mafia essentially takes a backseat for about half an hour, hell, even the idea of time-travel gets axed for a good 15 minutes. What these have been replaced with is a half-assed written, unnecessary family issue, concerning two only vaguely related characters known as Sara and Cid, that takes up an equally unnecessary amount of time within the movie.
This could be considered jumping the shark, if instead the Fonz accidentally smashed into the shark, killing it, and using its fucking corpse as a raft back towards land. By the time civilisation is in sight however, Fonz has already died of hunger, and floats lifelessly through the ocean.
Drearily cynical and drawn out analogies aside, the acting from this point on was inferior to beforehand; characters showing a single, lockjawed facial expression for fucking absurd amounts of time, the love story between Joe and Sara comes completely out of nowhere (that is to say, no buildup whatsoever), and they re-introduce a plot point regarding telekinesis in a few characters, that was brought up once at the beginning of the film, uninteresting and unimportant, that suddenly becomes the plot device that is now keeping everything moving. Occasionally, the movie cuts to Bruce Willis killing children, which is actually some pretty damn heartbreaking stuff when you see the amount of emotion he's overcome with afterwards, yet these are few and far between.
But really, those manly tears he sheds could well embody the mindset of myself as I saw what this movie had morphed itself into as a whole. I'm legitimately convinced that this was handled by two producers that really couldn't call compromise with what they envisioned the movie to look like, and essentially sabotaged each other's scripts. It's one of the most tragically squandered prospects for, as I said, a seriously intriguing premise, that I've seen in film.
EDIT: Forgot to mention also, that some of the choreography in the action scenes is laughably asinine at times. That, and some of the camera work is particularly lazy and un-utilized for potentially interesting angles at times.