Ang Lee has got to be one of the most interesting directors out there. It seems that for every 'Life of Pi' there's a 'Hulk '03' while movies like 'Taking Woodstock' kinda hover in that "I dunno what I thought" zone. Unfortunately, this was one of the weak titles. But you have to appreciate that when you see Lee's name attached to something, it's like looking inside the mystery box of quality.
Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is sent on a mission at the beginning of the film, to assassinate a terrorist on board a bullet train. When he realizes that he very well could have shot a little girl by accident, he finally decides to hang it up, providing us with the classic "I'm retiring" cliche.
Before he knows it, Brogan becomes the target of a very slick operative who can seem to predict his every move. He soon finds out that his hunter is a younger cloned version of himself, and he's launched back into action as, with the help of Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) he attempts to find out who made the clone, and why. At least, that's pretty much what I took from the film. We all know who the big baddie is here right away, too, so there's really no mystery, and I found a lot of the rest of the film kinda confusing.
It would seem that again, this is an example of a film made to show off how good we can do CGI nowadays, with a younger Will Smith in play. If they get things nailed down enough, aged action heroes like Schwarzenegger could make some pretty radical comebacks, and witht he way nostaglia flows these days, I would not be surprised if we saw that in the next couple of years. We can consider this the starting point, as young Willie Style here is in most of the movie, being the action star Will Smith could have been.
All in all though, the movie is just downright stupid. I mentioned confusing, I know, but some of the things they do here, namely in the action sequences, are way too overboard. Like 'Mission: Impossible 2' overboard. There's suspension of reality, but then there's getting right back up after getting your face slapped by the back of a motorcycle, and not much of a scar to show for it. A lot of it was kinda painful to watch.
But I will say this. The film could be passable as a check-your-brain-at-the-door action flick, but there's an ending to this movie that takes you out of it so abruptly that it's totally jarring. I shit you not, the film goes from an action thriller to an episode of 'Fresh Prince' in atmosphere, and it just feels rushed and silly. If it wasn't for that, I might have let this movie pass. But then again, I let too much pass, don't I?
If you wanna see Will Smith in his prime action career, watch a real "check-your-brain" movie called 'Independence Day'. It's not for everyone, but most would agree that one can just have fun with it. This is just kinda weird and unoriginal, and it could have been so much better if it wasn't so focused on the CG Will Smith and how impressive he is. Granted, he is impressive (save that last scene), but that's only part of the reason anyone would see this. I simply wasn't a fan, and I hope Ang Lee can provide us with something from his Oscar-worthy mind next time around.
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