A rally of ideas.
By Paul Yee
Tom Cruise’s latest sci-fi offering is a relatively enjoyable flick, finding a balance between emotion and action. It stars Tom Cruise as Jack Harper, one of the last few humans on the planet after a devastating war with aliens known as Scavengers that left much of the Earth uninhabitable. He works together with his partner, Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough, to repair drones that are meant to mop up the remaining alien left on the planet. Things are not at all as they seem, when a crashed spaceship containing a human survivor (Olga Kurylenko) reveals that their superiors may not be telling them the truth.
The concept of the movie is sound enough, with several genuinely interesting and unexpected twists along the way. While not as fast paced as other action films, there certainly is a reason behind the way the movie takes it’s time, allowing the audience to bask in the ambience of an Earth without Man. The cold, sweeping vistas are quite pretty, and the sleek, futuristic technologies really give the movie a feeling of sterility.
Still, despite solid acting, (Morgan Freeman received a pitiful amount of screentime though) the movie doesn’t engage the audience in the emotion behind the protagonists’ struggle. The romance in the movie feels somewhat lackluster, and there is a laughable amount of time spent on developing any character that is not Tom Cruise. Even when the admittedly clever reveal arrives, it feels as though it is just another narrative element for Tom Cruise to indulge in more explosions and gunfire. Ultimately, the movie suffers from its own indulgence (still looking at you, Tom Cruise) and falls short of its true potential.
For sheer entertainment purpose – the laugh, the thrill, the sigh – the movie is good enough. Otherwise, it’s forgettable enough for one to not dwell on the depressing prospect of an alien-human battle.