Now I will say that the film has a good poster so lets start off with a solid positive here. Unfortunately that’s where things begin to fade really fast. This film has a very interesting premise though, it should have been a great movie but it really loses all its steam once the characters go outside when it really should have been the opposite. That’s the tragic part here and this is a film where I’d actually like a remake someday which I think could execute the premise better.
So the film takes place in the future where nobody is allowed to live past 30. Everyone has a click built into their hand in the form of a gemstone and that’s how people know when your time is up. The government pulled a fast one though and convinced people that they weren’t dying but were instead being reborn. When you see the bodies blowing up that’s just how the transfer goes. There is a full time job where you work as a “Sandman” and your role is to murder people who try to escape the merry go round of death. Unfortunately for the runners the Sandmen are very good at their job and so they do tend to crush just about everyone who gets in their way.
The main character here is Logan. I should note that every character has a number at the end of their name signifying how many times they have been renewed but just to keep things simple I’m going to bypass that for now all right? So Logan is a proud sandman but he does ask a lot of questions which annoys his partner Francis. Francis says they shouldn’t worry about the details and they just do what they’re told. Well one day Logan meets a girl named Jessica who has connections to the underground resistance and he starts to have more doubts. The government tasks Logan with going undercover into the resistance to snuff them out but instead he becomes a runner since the government fumbled the ball.
I think Logan would have gone all in as a traitor but they sped up the time on his gem so that he would be “renewed” sooner which messed Logan up and that led him to get a little desperate. Understandably the resistance doesn’t trust him much since Sandmen never become runners so Logan and Jessica are mainly on their own. Up to this point I wouldn’t say the film was great or anything but it did have some interesting ideas. It struggles a bit with some fanservice issues and Logan not being a very sympathetic character. (He was cackling and having a blast tormenting the first runner that he helped murder) Still this was living up to the premise and you were curious where things would go from here.
Well, from there they go to the “real world” outside the dome at least and it’s basically Earth except everyone is gone aside from an old man. This is where the pacing of the movie just dies and you are frozen in place. The old man talks to them about basic facts that of course Logan and Jessica wouldn’t know while they are astounded by everything. The scenes drag on for an eternity and the whole time you’re just waiting for something to happen but it never does. You’re just completely frozen in place the whole while. I understand that the movie was trying to show how different the world was but this is definitely a show don’t tell kind of scenario.
Because as the viewer we know everything being discussed, it’s really boring to see it all slowly broken down. It’s all so very slow and that’s the problem. The movie never recovers its steam after this. We get a quick fight with Francis which was a good way to end that plot but then it’s back to walking around with the old man. The movie ultimately just didn’t go in the direction I was expecting and in this case it ended up backfiring as a whole. I just don’t think the payoff worked well at all.
I did like the robot that showed up in the ice area though. It actually seemed to be rather effective considering how many people were stopped there. Give me more cool robots like that. It reminded me that this was a film taking place in the future as you could easily forget that once you were above ground. Now another area that the film could have improved on would have been to make the main character a little more likable. Make him not be such a big jerk at the beginning of the film. Have him question things including why they should murder runners. You could maybe have him still complete the mission but he shouldn’t be enjoying it or toying with the guy at all.
It’s a small but sizable difference that would make him better. The fact that he is using the futuristic version of Tinder didn’t help matters either since it shows the kind of guy he was. He may have grown up in a society without morals but it would have been nice if he was just a bit better. He was certainly way more grounded than Francis but that isn’t saying much. Meanwhile Jessica was a good heroine but even though things worked out in hindsight, I do think she believed Logan a little too quickly. As the viewer we see Logan changing but in universe there’s no way I’d believe him for a second.
Still at the end of the day the villains only lost because the computer really wasn’t very smart. If it just hadn’t done something as drastic as stealing years away from Logan then he may not have been so quick to truly become a runner. I guess it helps his cover story but why not just lie to him when he asks if he will get the time back? If the robot can’t lie then that is definitely a pretty big weakness for it.
Overall, The title is pretty fitting for this film but it should have stayed fast paced. If more of the movie was some kind of grand chase scene then that would have really helped with the momentum. You can absolutely still introduce an old human to help them see that you can grow past 30 but speed up the dialogue. Give the guy some real personality and I dare say that you could do a whole lot with that. Instead this ends up being a movie that lost its way and I would definitely say that you can give this one a full skip. There really isn’t much here for you.