2.9 out of 5 stars
While suspending your disbelief with its illogical essentials, “Next” boasts of a high concept plot with a tricky twist ending. Yet, it goes too far behind with its really sloppy production. It could have been a promising motion picture treat with lots of possibilities, but what starts out as an intriguing premise becomes a poorly executed story that blows itself into a ludicrous ride of dodging projectiles without any clear direction.
“Next” explores a cool concept of a Las Vegas magician who can see his future about two minutes before it happens. The film’s first few minutes becomes an exciting exposition of Cris Johnson’s/Frank Cadillac’s (Nicolas Cage) character. There is that right touch of melancholy, along with the burden of carrying his gift of seeing what’s next to happen, Giving the right dose of suspense and motivation amidst being metaphysically impossible, you can get drawn into Johnson’s paranormal powers that enable him to dodge arrest. However, the storyline actually stumbles over its own hand tricks later on.
As the poorly executed story reveals more fortuitous plot twists and implausible fight scenes, the movie starts to become a tedious offer of progressively dumb collection of Hollywood clichés. It loses the momentum with its outlandish premise presented with a too conventional treatment meant for logic-less entertainment. Its incoherence and ridiculousness further validates its mediocrity in terms of production value.
This paranormal thriller from director Lee Tamahori has lots of things going on. The plot goes back on itself multiple times to present varying possibilities of the future. This plot device could have been utilized well to keep up your interest as a viewer, but the slapdash script completely relying on the strength of its premise alone and not with its characters nor plotlines rips the movie apart. At the least, “Next can be a popcorn flick for the not too demanding ones who won’t care less if the seemingly desperate move of the FBI agents to pursue Johnson is the best way to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack and the FBI being easily stalked by a weird, “backgroundless” collection of a “united nations” terrorist group with the only clear goal of bombing Los Angeles for the heck of a storyline.
What makes the worst of this insensitive cinematic offer is how it conceives nationalities of the world trying to connive against America. With its conspiracy plot, the producers and filmmakers could have been more conscious and responsible than merely presenting an unexplained coalition of as many foreign nationalities as possible: Russians, French, Germans, British English, Serbo-Croatian, and Asians. Whether it reflects a certain form of sentiment from the insights of particular people, or it’s just a reckless fad being formed for whatever reason, it has a clearly insensitive presentation.
The story makes a valid point on saying that the actions you choose to do now have effects on what happens next. It shows the possibilities of the future constantly shifting in every decision made.
Just like the scrolling down instead of the usual scrolling up of the closing credits, the anticlimactic ending makes a justifiable end. If you pay close attention and pause and think about it for a moment, you already know how things will end with the countless of trial and error survival patterns of the main character. Yet, the problem lies in the “charmless” presentation of such an anticlimactic end. It negates your almost 96 minutes of flick investment (while you bear with its plot holes and you suspend your disbelief on the story) with the preposterous appeal of its non-creative endgame twist. Some of you may even find yourself cheated by its actuality.
There are a couple of boo-boos in the movie. Discontinuities abound — one of which is the initial shot of Cris and Liz (Jessica Biel) kissing in the motel showing Liz’s hand movements entirely different from the next shot continuing the action. Also, it is logically questionable that unlike the bad guy not being able to call on his mobile phone, Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) gets to call using hers after ordering all transmission towers to shut down and block cellphone/radio use from a radius of where she is at.
With regards to the acting performances, Cage keeps up with the eccentric, gifted, and burdened main character he portrays. Moore delivers well enough as a hard-nosed FBI agent amidst her way too verbose lines. With her body frame and image, Biel radiates strength of character amidst her stereotyped damsel in distress role. The international terrorist group seems to sprout from nowhere, as if the movie is a mere episode for a TV series.
Overall, “Next” may have sounded good as a concept; but it really falls down a deep pit with its execution.
Shortlist of Las Vegas stores where you can buy Blu-rays/DVDs:
ABLE AMUSEMENT & VENDING
5675 S. Valley View Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89118
Hiphopsite.com Records & CD’S
4700 S. Maryland Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89119
Game Video Inc.
4632 S. Maryland Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89119
Play N Trade
Serving Las Vegas, NV 89101
Serving Las Vegas, NV 89101