There are movies you like and movies you don’t like. Then there are movies you love and movies you just plain hate. Finally, there are movies you enjoy so much that you will see it multiple times in the theater. However, at the other end of that spectrum there are some movies you despise so much that you walk out pissed off that you spent money on it. Unfortunately, the new science fiction/action movie, “Looper”, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis, falls into this last category.
The year is 2044. Time travel has not been invented yet, but it will be within the next 30 years and it will become outlawed. The only people using it are members of the mob and they only use it to send people back in the past to have them killed. The ones waiting around to kill them are called Loopers. Joe (Levitt) spends his day waiting in a cornfield for his subjects to show up then he quickly dispatches them with a shotgun. One day the older version of himself (Willis) is sent back for Joe to kill. Using his knowledge of how he killed himself in the past, Old Joe manages to evade getting killed this time and is on the loose. The mob now wants both men dead.
That sounds like a pretty cool idea for a movie, right? A little confusing, but still it’s something different than the “same old, same old” we usually see in theaters. While it IS a pretty good idea for a movie it is so poorly executed by writer-director Rian Johnson that you will find yourself sighing out loud while you are waiting for something to happen. You better not fall asleep because this movie can be quite confusing at times too.
At one part in the movie one character states, “Time travel will fry your brain like $#@!” You have to wonder if Johnson was telling the audience something about his movie.
Rian Johnson is not a rookie director. He has a couple other features under his belt that were small productions. This is the biggest movie he has directed to date and certainly the one with the most complicated concept. It apparently was too much for him. The film’s action scenes are tired. The movie runs two hours, but feels much longer. Scenes just drag along. For a movie that takes place in the future you would think it would be somewhat visually stunning; it is not. Johnson has made good character films in the past, but there is no one you really root for in “Looper”.
Despite the very talented cast, the acting does not really stand out at all. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great Bruce Willis. He has him dead on right down to the facial ticks. Emily Blunt does showcase a good American accent and Willis does not break any new ground with his performance. There is one stand out in “Looper” and it is by Pierce Gagnon who plays Emily Blunt character’s son, Cid in the movie. When this kid throws a tantrum, it is something to see. He can be downright scary at times. It’s a pretty strong acting job by someone so young.
“Looper” was one of those movies that sounded so good and even LOOKED good, so when it turned out to be so bad, it was hard to not walk away a little angry that you are now $10-$20 poorer for having gone to see it. I would recommend sneaking into it either. Rian Johnson should stick to the smaller movies he has made in the past. For now, he can not handle his own high concept ideas. It is rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content