The Island


Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by:Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan
Released: July 28, 2005
Grade: B-

The Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) is underway and it always makes the regular releases seem more monotonous.  In the past week at BIFF, I’ve seen a funny film about a sex addict, a compelling film about suicide bombers, and a confronting film about child abuse.  It’s kind of hard to step back and review a film with the same repetitive action and ludicrous storylines that we’ve come to grow and love/hate from Hollywood.

It’s the mid 21st Century and the majority of the planet has been destroyed due to a contamination.  Only a few hundred people have survived and they reside in a large facility which borders the ocean.  Each day, a lottery is held in which one resident is selected to go to the island, the last remaining place on earth which hasn’t been contaminated.  It’s what gives them all hope.

Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Johansson) believe that’s something not right.  Snooping around with curiosity, Lincoln soon learns that there is no island.  In fact, everything they’ve ever believed in has been a lie.

You see, they’re not real.  They’re genetically created copies of real people on Earth.  They have been created so that if the real person needs new body parts, these “copies” can be used for replacements.  This of course is highly illegal and it’s up to a scientist named Merrick (Bean) to keep it all hush-hush.  Those that have paid millions of dollars for the service, don’t realise how Merrick is doing what he’s doing.

When Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta escape however, Merrick’s billion dollar enterprise is at stake.  Well recommended, he hires Albert Laurent (Hounsou) to track them down and kill them before they attract attention and expose the facility for what it is.

To be honest, it’s all rather long and tedious.  We have a rough idea how it will end and so to sit through 136 minutes of mild thrills and unbelievable chase sequences isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.  The sets and costumes give it a cool, futuristic look but this will only carry a film so far.  I’ve love to get out the scissors and try to trim at least 30 minutes for the better.

The film has been a spectacular box-office failure in the United States, which despite my own personal negativity towards it, comes as a surprise.  The director, Michael Bay, is the king of big-budget action have made Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys 2 and Pearl Harbor.  It’s now been 10 years since the original Bad Boys and I don’t think the action genre has come very far in this time.  We’re relying too much on fast editing and special effects to create tension.  It’s only my personal opinion but I believe the public wants something different and are making their voices heard through ticket sales.