The Island

"Grim"

The Island Review


Director Michael Bay ("The Rock," "Armageddon,""PearlHarbor") has become the poster boy foreverything that's wrong with blockbuster summer movies. As long as hisout-sized action fare has expensive explosions, quick-cut chase sceneswith spectacular crashes, a few commercial-quotable one-liners, one veryhot chick, and several low-angle, slow-motion dolly shots that endlesslycircle his heroes, he apparently couldn't care about much else.

In "The Island," the chase scene is on a hoveringrocket-cycle, the hot chick is heart-stopping Scarlett Johansson (hopefullyjust taking a break from brainier fare like ), the dizzying hero shotsare of Ewan McGregor, and the plot -- what there is of it -- is about thepair of them discovering they are clones bred as spare parts for rich people.

Born full-sized, implanted with false memories of a world-widecatastrophe, and living in hope of being selected to leave their enclosed,concrete-and-glass colony for The Island, "nature's last remainingpathogen-free zone," the population of DNA duplicates are kept clueless,sexless and surrounded by product placement (they wear Puma track suits,drink Aquafina water and work on Apple computers). But Lincoln Six-Echo(McGregor) has a defect: He's curious.

The potential for mixing social commentary into the sci-fiadventure hangs from the film like a ripe fruit that goes unplucked byBay -- although he seems to think he's tapping into deeper themes by exposingLincoln to what really happens to his Island-bound friends (they're killedfor their organs). Lincoln then breaks out of the facility (the securityis insultingly inept) with its next victim, Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson),a girl for whom he has funny forbidden feelings.

For all the money thrown at the screen as Lincoln and Jordanevade elite commandos (led by Djimon Hounsou) -- who blaze a trail of unnecessarydestruction through a futuristic Los Angeles even though their recaptureof the clones is supposed to be very hush-hush -- "The Island"is surprisingly dull, often nonsensical and blatantly derivative.

Much of the connect-the-dots plot is similar to "TheClonus Horror," a laughable, low-budgetB-movie bomb from 1979, which fumbled with inferences about the fallaciesof the American Dream. Several scenes in "The Island" and theinevitable on-the-run romance (as the clones' hormones kick in) seem liftedfrom "Logan's Run," another cheesy '70s sci-fi flick, which nonethelesscommented on the shallowness of youth culture. "The Island" alsocherry-picks story and design elements from "Coma," "MinorityReport," "Brave New World" andseveral other sources with only cursory attempts to disguise them, countingon its target audience being too ignorant to notice.

With the help of a sympathetic colony worker (comic-relieverSteve Buscemi), the clones track down Lincoln's "sponsor," afamous racecar driver (also McGregor, using his real Scottish accent) witha failing liver. This meeting leads to more discoveries, more high-octanechases, and eventually Lincoln's attempt to shut down the clone farm ina third act so full of holes it's a wonder the film doesn't get tangledup in the projector.

If Michael Bay was going for a slightly cerebral actionthriller -- which he seems to think he was -- "The Island" isn'thalf as smart as it needed to be. If he was hoping audiences would checktheir brains at the door, "The Island" fails to earn the courtesy.All the flash and fury add up to few thrills, save one seat-gripping freewaypile-up. (The movie is often unaccountably violent, with a body count thatis enormous but largely anonymous and ignored.)

The best that can be said for the picture is that it looksgreat (although the rocket-bike chase has surprisingly cheap blue-screeneffects), it sounds great, it offers a few glimmers of unnerving near-futurepossibilities (like surrogate-pregnancy clones), and it has several talentedcast members who do what they can with their thin characters amid $100-millionworth of shallow Hollywood spectacle.



The Island

Facts and Figures

Run time: 136 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd July 2005

Box Office USA: $35.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $162.9M

Budget: $126M

Distributed by: Dreamworks Distribution LLC

Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG, Warner Bros., Parkes/MacDonald Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 77 Rotten: 117

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lincoln Six Echo, as Jordan Two Delta, as Albert Laurent, as Dr. Merrick, as James 'Mac' McCord, as Starkweather Two Delta, as Jones Three Echo, as Gandu Three Echo, as Community Announcer, Siobhan Flynn as Lima One Alpha, Troy Blendell as Laurent Team Member, Jamie McBride as Laurent Team Member, Kevin McCorkle as Laurent Team Member, Gary Nickens as Laurent Team Member, Kathleen Rose Perkins as Laurent Team Member

Also starring:


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