While perhaps not entirely original, as it remains the classic cautionary tale of what happens once AI gets too big for its britches, it is nice to see a movie take a somewhat different spin. It does so by making the movie a conglomeration of a few different concepts and blending them together, complete with the aforementioned AI, a look at mankind being the potential real monster, loss and learning to trust/love again and, as one can easily pick up from the trailers, this one consists of another "escort mission" of sorts.
The film opens with an old-time-style (even though this is the future) ad about the advancements of Artificial Intelligence and, ultimately, how we've gotten them to the stage of being almost indecipherable from humans. We get the AI out of hand instantly when they detonate a nuclear warhead over Los Angeles, CA, in the year 2055. This ultimately leads Americans (referring to humans of the Western world) to struggle and fight for survival. Still, the AI also has friends with "New Asia" (Japan, Taiwan, Bhutan, Nepal, Southeast Asia and some of India) who continue to see them as something of an equal.
Now that the environment is set, we turn our attention to undercover operative Joshua Taylor (John David Washington), who has unwittingly married his target, Maya Fey (Gemma Chan), whom the American government believes to be the daughter of their ultimate target known as "Nirmata," who is supposed to be the "Creator," responsible for the AI advancements that have seemingly taken things over. Long story short, Josh and Maya get themselves separated under devastating circumstances, but throughout the film, Josh continues his search for her under the belief that she is still alive.
Five years later, Josh is approached by General Andrews and Colonel Howell to seek out and destroy a sort of ultimate weapon, supposedly capable of taking out their ultimate defence system - a giant ship known as NOMAD (North American Orbital Mobile Aerospace Defense). He reluctantly agrees when he realizes this mission could lead to reuniting with Maya, but then ends up over his head when he realizes that the "weapon" known as "Alpha-O" is just a kid he nicknames "Alphie" (Madeleine Yuna Voyles) who, despite her great abilities to manipulate machinery, just wants robots to be able to live in peace, thus giving Josh his internal struggle unable to complete his mission, but for all the right moral reasons.
This one comes to us from writer/director Gareth Edwards, who feels about as upper-middle ground as possible in directing fantasy/sci-fi movies. He was also responsible for 2014's 'Godzilla' (a breath of fresh air after 1998's version) and 'Star Wars: Rogue One' (probably the ultimate stand-out movie of anything that came out after the prequel trilogy). But as much as I enjoyed those movies for myself, they certainly were not without their share of critics, and though they may never be solid gold, they're generally pretty damn good and never actually what I'd call "bad." This is no exception, and it is well worth the price of admission.
Strangely, this movie didn't perform better for an audience who constantly gets sick and tired of the same old superhero blockbusters. This may not have stuck out as ultimately brilliant, in as much as it takes from other concepts. But it was nonetheless entertaining with likeable characters, a flare for the dramatic (even with robots), and visuals that remind us that the sci-fi genre isn't entirely tapped out yet. If I were to ultimately compare it to anything in the way it feels, I'd probably go with 'District 9' in that the film drops us into this world of the future that seems like it could be real one day, based on the ignorance of us asshole humans.
Unlike 'District 9', however, I don't entirely see this one being up for a whole lot of Oscars (other than maybe some technical ones), even though I do enjoy the idea here. This isn't one of those big-time go-to sci-fi classics we'll be returning to, but I recommend checking it out to see what it's all about. If nothing else, it provides a relatively intense sci-fi adventure for those seeking something like that, though I may not label it as "fun" like I usually would. This is one to throw on when you've got two hours of nothing to do and just wanna relax with a decent story. There may not be much of a "Wow" factor here, but it's still pretty good.