Free movie tickets are awesome, because they let me get out and see movies I wouldn’t normally go to. Spoilers are contained within.
There will no comparison to the original 1987 film as I haven’t seen it yet. These are just my first thoughts on this action film as its own entity and right now I think its…average. Nothing is outright bad, but nothing really stands out or is ground breaking either.
For example the music is unremarkable except the use of ‘If I only had a Heart’ while Alex is in the first simulation test that was good. The story is pretty standard of a regular hardworking guy having his life changed by an event and the plot going from there, and him having to find his true self again in a way. I think the acting was all good, and there was a nice range in the cast between ethnicity and gender and that was great to see, except that I wasn’t really sold on Samuel Jackson as the news anchor wearing a really bad hairpiece. Sure he gets his swearing speech at the end, but I still don’t think it worked well.
The news clips do allow the film to make commentary on USA policies and values, with all the subtly of a sledge hammer to the face, but hey points for putting that stuff in there. I liked that the film did keep consistency in exploring the use of machines versus an actual human being to carry out law enforcement by bringing up the idea of making moral decisions. Alex uses excessive force when he fights in many instances as does the drone in the opening that blows away the kid holding a knife, as a knife isn’t going to be a threat on the same level that a suicide bomber is.
Also I do like an actual subtle thing in the film. I love the use of artwork in the corporate office with the abstract paintings that look like human body parts. Nice job to the set design team. Blatantly showing that corporate greed was also the only reason Alex was created was another good theme for the film it wasn’t really given a proper conclusion I don’t think with Alex just shooting the head guy at the end, but then if they wrapped everything up neatly they couldn’t make sequels.
The primary goal of the film really is to give the audience action set pieces though and the action works I think. The use of thermal views and all the different camera angles worked nicely, even if security footage would never work this way in reality. The one place I thought the action became overwhelming really was the ending fright with Alex and the drones. There was a bit too much going on in terms of lasers and debris that made it hard to follow the action, and there was a bit too much reliance on CGI work.
Overall taking it as a popcorn action flick the movie works fine and it does have some commentary on the USA as it stands today even if doesn’t really focus on that and instead goes more for the shoot’em up angle. Still the action is well staged for the most part, the acting is good, and the story is engaging enough for the two hour running time. If this escapist style of movie is one you like then I would recommend seeing this film.