out of Five
Running time: 127
The Island has already become one of the summer’s most high-profile flops before it has even come out in the UK – after just three weeks on release it has already sunk to the number 10 spot in the U.S. box office. However, The Island is nowhere near as bad as its poor box office suggests, it’s simply that director, Michael Bay insists on squandering the film’s intelligent premise in favour of overblown action sequences.
The film is set in 2019 and stars Ewan McGregor as Lincoln Six-Echo, a resident of a seemingly utopian contained community. Lincoln and his fellow “survivors” spend their days hoping to be chosen to go to ‘The Island’, reportedly the last uncontaminated spot on the planet.
However, Lincoln has a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right and when he discovers the truth, he escapes, taking beautiful fellow resident Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson) with him. Once in the outside world, Lincoln and Jordan have to come to terms with who they really are, whilst being hotly pursued by bounty hunter Djimon Hounsou and the sinister Dr Merrick (Sean Bean).
The gigantic plot-holes appear almost as soon as the movie starts – for instance, Lincoln’s friendship with maintenance guy Steve Buscemi is taken as read, when it seems like a huge breach of protocol and Buscemi later says he could be killed for it. There is also an unforgivably bad bit of editing towards the end which conveniently brushes over how a major character gets from point A to point B.
There are deliberate echoes of Logan’s Run about The Island, which unfortunately only serve to hint at how good the original script must have been before Michael Bay got his hands on it. As such, all the original ideas go out the window, to be replaced by ear-splitting explosions and mind-numbingly stupid stunts at every opportunity.
Some of the chase sequences in The Island are genuinely exciting and it’s extremely well acted by McGregor and Johansson, both of whom bring more to their roles than the script really deserves. There’s also strong support from Buscemi and Hounsou and Bean makes a surprisingly likeable, interesting villain.
There are some genuinely nice ideas here and there’s a lot of humour in the script which plays up the characters' child-like innocence.
In short, The Island is a lot of fun if you can ignore the plot-holes and enjoy it on the level of a Big Dumb Blockbuster, but you can’t help feeling that beneath the explosions and car chases there’s a much better film struggling to get out.
The Island (12A)