Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Next Review


It’s time to take a look at a thriller from the not too distant past. This is one of those films that I figured I would have heard about, but I don’t recall ever seeing anything about it before watching the movie recently. It’s got a pretty cool premise and I liked the story but some parts definitely didn’t mesh as well as they could have. The ending for example was nearly perfect if it had just cut out a few minutes earlier.

The FBI has grown desperate since the Russians are preparing to nuke the U.S. They stole some nukes a while back and the FBI wasn’t told about it for around 2 weeks. Now they know that the timer is close to 0 but they have dug up no leads. Special agent Ferris has some ideas though. She’s been tracking a psychic named Cris who has the ability to see into the future. She plans to have him uncover the Russian plot. Meanwhile Cris has been doing his best to lead a normal life. He’s learned some magic tricks and makes a steady income. Unfortunately since he can see 15 minutes into the future he’s always getting into a lot of trouble as he stops people from shooting everyone up, but has no proof.

Why hasn’t Cris just skipped town? Well, he’s been having dreams about meeting someone named Liz at a certain cafe. The reason why this is important is because as I mentioned he can typically only see 15 minutes into the future and it has to directly be relevant to him. Why is he able to see weeks in advance when it comes to her? Cris isn’t sure, but he feels like it is destiny and decides to wait for her. This increases the stakes though and can he possibly convince her of their destiny before she calls the FBI in on him?

Being able to see 15 minutes in advance is just as overpowered as you would expect it to be. It’s hard for anyone to stop Cris because he’s already played this out in his head. To me it seems like the ability is always on and he just keeps auto jumping back whenever he dies or gets into a corner. It makes for a lot of fun visuals where you’ll be enjoying the movie and suddenly an old scene pops in with no transition. You just know that he’s gone back 15 minutes. Technically it isn’t time travel as it was just a vision but since it’s basically always activated it sure feels that way sometimes. A cool scene is when he uses this to evade bullets and actually close in on a gunman. There’s just no way you can lose when you see this far in advance.

That being said, I wouldn’t call Cris a great character. His romance with Liz is handled pretty poorly. Naturally the do-over attempts are pretty manipulative here as he just keeps re-rolling his answers like in a gatcha game until he gets the ones that he wants. He claims with Liz that he doesn’t use his abilities with her, but we know for a fact that he does, both in the cafe scene at the beginning and a scene near the end of the film. Since the ability seems to be automatically activated I don’t think he could totally turn it off even if he wants to. The film is a little unclear on that but that’s how my interpretation of it works at any rate. He knows Liz for as few hours and is sold. Sure, he’s been seeing her every night for ages but from her point of view this is some random stranger who says a lot of odd things and is always staring at her. How would she turn this into a proper romance? She definitely gets super comfortable around him pretty quick and considering that she just dumped someone, a period of time without rebounding would make sense.

So the romance here is just weak. Liz is a decent character otherwise as at least she doesn’t get suckered too easily. Going into a car with someone who claims to be an officer is never a good idea though. I don’t care if they show you the badge, you don’t get into the car the way that she did. That’s always a big mistake. Meanwhile the main FBI agent is Farris and she is definitely convinced that Cris can help. I don’t think that she thought her plan over very well though. She figures out that he can only see 15 minutes into the future so how is that going to help? Her plan is to have him watch the news until the bomb is mentioned so they know where to go, but 15 minutes isn’t a whole lot of time. Depending on where in the city the bomb is there is no way they’d make it in time. His power just doesn’t matter in any meaningful way. So her boss was actually right in not hedging their bets on Cris even if his methods didn’t work either. 15 minutes isn’t enough time to find and deactivate a bomb. It’s just not happening, especially not when the villains have a lot of other bombs and guns at the ready.

The best part of the film is definitely the various action scenes. The climax is particularly solid and we get to see Cris really go all in with his pre-cog abilities. Knowing exactly what’s going to happen and having infinite live to do it with is just cool. I also like how they introduced his abilities at the beginning with how he evaded everyone at the casino. You will feel bad for the informant though as things never go well for him. Next has a really solid soundtrack as well to go along with the cool visuals. The film’s just a lot of fun and the quick moving plot works well here. There’s always something happening.

It may not be a film that will win any awards, but there’s a lot to like here. Really if you just take out the romance and fix the ending then I dare say that you might even have a great ending here. I won’t go into detail on the ending because there really isn’t any way to say it without spoilers so I’ll just say that cutting out a few minutes earlier would have been amazing. When you watch the film you’ll know exactly what I mean. It definitely would have been unexpected, but still pretty satisfying in its own way. It also works within the limits of the ability without stretching things to the max. The ending that we do get just isn’t as satisfying. Meanwhile the villains really don’t get to do much at all. You’ll forget that they exist at times because of how little presence they have here. They’re not bad, but they almost feel superfluous.

Overall, Next is definitely a very unique film. On the surface it’s your average thriller, but the time ability definitely throws a nice wrinkle in there. Since Cris should be invincible there are still some moments where you might have to suspend some disbelief, but at the same time maybe he just wanted to go down this route because the other futures he visited were worse. The ending also is a potential plot hole if you ask me. You can reasonably make sense of it, but I just feel like it’s a little beyond the scope of ability shown til now. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then you should go ahead and give it a watch. It’s pretty fun.

Overall 7/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Rock Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. Keep this in mind when reading the review as one for the unedited version would be far more negative.

It’s time for a retro action film from the 90s. Sure, it may not be that old and calling the 90s retro is a little risky, but at this point I’d say that it’s old enough to be a valid point. You won’t really see this kind of film come out nowadays because the cinematography is just very different and new styles have surfaced. These 1-2 men against an army films can always be a lot of fun though and this one is handled well. I do admit that the first half does beat the second as the film begins to putter out but both halves are still pretty good. It’s more the fact that the film is so long and climax fatigue starts to set in while the first half is more laid back, but still has the explosions you’re waiting for. This is a Michael Bay film so there are quite a lot of explosions.

The film starts off with a bunch of terrorists breaking into Alcatraz and kidnapping 81 civilians. They demand 100 million from the government or they’ll use the chemical missiles that they stole from another base (Where they murdered everybody) to destroy 80000 people in San Francisco. The government is forced to call in the local chemical expert, Goodspeed. Goodspeed is used to being in a lab and doesn’t really like violence but he isn’t really given an option. He won’t be enough though so Mr. Mason is taken out of jail to help out. Mason is the only person to ever escape Alcatraz and he used to be a legendary agent for the British Intelligence. If anyone can stop these guys, he can. Will these two vastly different characters be able to put aside their differences and save the world or are they doomed to take a loss here?

Right away one thing you’ll notice about the film is that the soundtrack is actually really great. The themes are nice and fast which make the action scenes more fun. It amplifies the visuals and just makes the whole adventure feel a lot more complete. The visuals are also pretty good for the various locales and the combo works pretty well. Since a lot of films don’t really bother having a soundtrack I always feel the need to give a shoutout to the ones that actually pull it off. It’s an important thing to have.

Goodspeed is a decently good main character. He panics quite a lot but he’s never really been a field agent so it’s all pretty new to him. He still wants to do his best to stop the villains and save lives. He never really waffles on this and stays true to the goal. He fights when necessary as well and doesn’t bck down. He also tends to be a nice guy as he doesn’t put Mason on the spot in front of his daughter. He’s a quality lead. Fortunately, our other lead is also good. Mason’s the expert of the film. He’s one of the best hand to hand fighters the army has got and he’s also really good with a gun. This combo definitely makes him very lethal to everyone else. Anything can be turned into a weapon with this guy. He’s certainly not heroic the way Goodspeed is though. After the government locked him up for 30 years the guy appears to have gotten jaded with life in general. He just wants to make sure he gets out of this in one piece. The guy certainly has good reason to be upset at everyone though as he did get a pretty bad deal. No trial and everyone keeps on lying to him. Still, he has to man up in the end to save his daughter so he presses on. The ending may not be extremely happy for him, but it’s happy enough I suppose.

The villains try to go for the sympathetic angle, at least the main one. He wants the families of the fallen Marines to get recompensated since the government ignored them and figures this is the best way to do it. The thing is, he hired a bunch of guys he has never worked with before and they’re a little more villainous than the others. They just want to murder a bunch of guys and don’t care for anything but the money. Teaming up with villains never pays off in the end. It’s just a good way to speed up your ultimate demise.

I can’t really say that the romance was all that good, but to be fair it was barely a factor in the movie. It was relegated to the backseat for the entirety of the film. It was just there to give the main character more incentive to save the city. It’s not like he needed much more at this point since the city was nearly toast, but it’s not as if it’s a bad thing. The main heroine seemed like a reasonable character.

The first half of the film with the car chase was handled pretty well. The cops look a little bad as they really made it very easy for Mason to escape. Still, it was a good blend of action and humor. Goodspeed certainly gives us a lot of great facial expressions the entire time. The film really speeds by until everyone dies and it’s just the main two. That’s where the pacing finally starts to slow a bit as the characters keep rethinking what they should do next. It’s also one of the only points without a lot of constant explosions. Still, it’s not as if this lasts for long and then the action starts up again.

As far as the writing is concerned, I’d say that it’s okay. Naturally the TV version fixed up some of the language so that significantly improved the script. That gives the writing a little help even if it is still there. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s not bad either. It’s at a good enough level where it doesn’t distract from what’s on screen so then you can focus on the fights. This whole review really just boils down to one point, this is a solid and explosive action film. What you see is what you get here. There’s no animal violence, the violence in the fights isn’t excessive, things just move very quickly. You move from fight to fight and they’re all handled well.

The government is extremely shady as always, but to the point where it is comical. I always love seeing the government act shady while I also love seeing them look good in films. I’m fine with it either way. The film even has a bit of a stinger involving a certain assasination that everyone loves to use in conspiracy stories. It was a nice enough subplot and I wouldn’t mind a sequel where the government ends up going to court and then things get crazy.

Overall, The Rock is definitely a really solid action movie. The fight scenes are on point and there is an explosion around every corner. The film may have slightly dragged by the end but it’s hard to point to any specific scenes that could have been cut. There may be a few here and there, but it’s just that the overall length of the film is rather long. It’s still handled well at the end of the day. The main message of this film is that you have to be a good shot because if you miss the first few times, you may not get a second shot. I’d recommend giving this film a watch if you see it on TV. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall 7/10