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The Island (2005)

by on 2011/11/28

“Jesus must love you. That was the craziest mess I’ve ever seen.”‘

* * *

There was a particularly amusingly mean song about director Michael Bay in the amusingly mean Team America.

It goes thusly (harshly): 

“I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark,
When he made Pearl Harbor…
Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?”

While Team America was the greatest counter-terrorism puppet movie ever made, I don’t think this particular song about the love between two string puppets and Michael Bay’s filmmaking was entirely fair.

I would like to present my Exhibit A – The Island.

I saw this movie in the theatres when it came out and I really liked it. Yes, I did.

In fact, my certitude that my esteemed co-reviewer would have loved it too gnawed at me throughout my solitary screening. The guilt drove me to call him and confess that I saw a movie he would have really, really have loved …without him.

Horrors.

Yes, I concede that The Island has all the depth of a beautifully-executed sports body wash or a luxury car ad. But man, is it gorgeous …and disturbing in equal measures. It also has one of the most berserk chase scenes in the history of film.

So here’s the deal, The Island takes place in the Not-Too-Distant future where everyone dresses in white, lives in a world designed by Ikea and every last person seems more than a little bit dim. It doesn’t take too long to realize that Scarlett Johansson as Jordan Two Delta and Ewan McGregor as Lincoln Six Echo aren’t normally this vapid – and all is not right with the world.

In fact, our very first clue of the state of slack-jawed simpletonism sweeping the world – is that Ewan keeps mentioning a missing shoe, complaining about how you can’t keep white clean and whining about a lack of bacon.

Ok. Though he does raise some good points about bacon…

The world, as we first encounter it, appears to be run by Sean Bean as Dr. Bernard Merrick. As an aside, it is so nice to see Sean Bean last for an entire film, rather than getting disappointingly killed in the first act (Golden Eye, Ronin).

Without giving too much away, there’s a reason that  Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) is more than a little bit child-like: he’s a clone. He’s a clone living in a clone colony. But he’s a clone with a difference. He’s had some limited exposure to the outside world in the form of a friendship with grease monkey James (Steve Buscemi) and Lincoln Six Echo seems to have memories he shouldn’t.

As an incredibly exceptional medical anomaly, Lincoln Six Echo causes no end of grief to the good Dr. Merrick. Lincoln makes a break for the real world with the lovely, lips-like-down-filled-pillows Scarlett Johansson in tow.

For two newly-hatched clones, these two have mad skills. Lincoln seems to have an innate way with all forms of motorized vehicles, including flying motorcycles. The two improbably lovely and savvy clones lead mercenary Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou) all over Hell’s Half Acre and through the streets of Los Angeles.

The resultant chase turns L.A. into a smoldering bomb crater. While the chaos is all incredibly entertaining, I found myself questioning how Lincoln Six Echo turned from bacon-craving organ bag to James Bond.  The only possible explanation was one I muttered several times to myself – that the  ‘force was strong in this one.’

This Jedi mind trick helped to me to just sit back and unconditionally love the part when Lincoln and Jordan turn a semi loaded with metal industrial parts into a weapon of mass destruction all over the mercenaries’ armored vehicles.

Yes, yes, I know – The Island is dumber than a newly created clone. Happily, I happen to like crazy messes.

* * *

136 minutes

Rated PG-13 for the craziest mess of an all-exploding, all-crashing chase scene through L.A., Scarlett’s lips and the mistreatment of free-range clones

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