Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Looper - The scoop and digest

This is a thrilling and fairly intelligent sci-fi action film.

As you may expect, it begins confusing but then eventually, everything becomes more transparent than a clean window.

Plot details and/or spoilers will be sent from the future.

Those interested in earning several bars include:

Joesph Gordon-Levitt – Joe
Bruce Willis – Joe (30 years hence)
Jeff Daniels - Abe
Emily Blunt – Sara
Paul Dano – Seth
Pierce Gagnon – Cid
Noah Segan – Kid Blue

The year is 2044.  Time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but it will, and in 30 years time it will be exploited by criminals to send those who they want killed from the future to the past.

Doc Brown would condemn and frown at such illicit use.

They are sent unceremoniously gagged and bagged and specialised assassins known as ‘loopers’ do the necessary.

For their troubles, they are rewarded with silver bars strapped to the victims back.

What are the implications of encountering your future self?

Well in Back to the Future Part II, the consequences could be disastrous.

Before we go any further, essential equipment needed for such an assassination are blunderbuss and a vintage pocket watch.

It is literally killing time.

The unfortunate materialises on a weighted blanket and is swiftly blown away.  A body is disposed of by way of incineration.

Joe is the primary protagonist and is employed as a looper by crime boss Abe who has been sent from the future to manage such activities.

He owns a club that Joe regularly frequents and spends time with his favourite showgirl.  We also see him ‘dropping’ a substance into his eyes which is the chosen narcotic in Johnson’s vision.

Our man Joe is openly described as a junkie.

A mutation has also affected a small percentage of the population of Kansas giving the benefit of limited telekinesis.

Carrie would scoff but levitating small objects is a proud chat up line.

This ability is abbreviated as TK without the Max.

We quickly learn that Abe has hired his own self-styled muscle known as the ‘Gat Men’ and among these is the cocky Kid Blue who is desperate to prove himself to his employer.

Kid Blue brags that a gat is far better than a looper’s signature weapon as a blunderbuss is only deadly within 15 yards.

A gat is obviously not so hampered.

‘Closing the loop’ basically means that when a crime boss wants to terminate a looper’s contract, they send their older self from the future to be killed by their younger self.

That puts a new angle on the expression ‘out with the old’.

The difference is that the reward is a more valuable gold bar instead of the regular silver variety.

Anyway, Seth visits pal Joe who reveals that he’s made the mistake of failing to close his own loop and allowed his future self to escape.

This is not a smart move as the punishment for such stupidity is permanent.

Joe is also informed of the Rainmaker, a mysterious crime boss that has muscled in on organised crime in the future and intends to close all loops.

The baddies learn of this hesitation and after capturing Seth, deprive him of body parts.

Such dismemberment is transferred to his older self.  His fate is sealed because a written scar tells him to go to a location but is blissfully unaware that the Grim Reaper in the form of Kid Blue is waiting to slam death’s door firmly in his face.

The effect of his older self literally falling apart is pretty smart.

Things really kick off when Bruce Willis shows up without a bag and when he notices its not the usual easy pay day, it prompts a different outcome.

Joe does attempt to close the loop but is foiled by the quick thinking of his future self and is knocked out.

How Willis appears without a bag and what happens after Joe is knocked spark out is one of several moments that initially doesn't make sense but is explained later.

The future emerging in the past is achieved by stepping inside a small spherical container.

We only see this time device when Willis transports himself.

After young and old Joe meet up and chew the fat in a café, the Gat Men interrupt this little party.

Old Joe takes care of such irritations and Joe steals a piece of paper from Old Joe that leads him to a farmhouse where we meet Sara and son Cid.

Sara is obviously reluctant to welcome Joe and dubious to believe his ramblings about the Rainmaker.

At first, she thinks he’s just another vagrant.


After more horsing around, they are attacked by another of Abe’s henchmen but the cherubic faced Cid unleashes a telekinetic blast that causes furniture to float and blood to spill.

Old Joe is inconveniently captured by Kid Blue but you can’t cage a bird whose feathers are just too bright as the old timer escapes to take out Abe and his Gat gang.

However, Kid Blue is still at large.

In close pursuit, Kid Blue appears on his jet bike and Joe attempts to shoot him but remember how useless a blunderbuss is beyond 15 yards?

With a smart head on his shoulders, he improvises by shooting the road thus creating a dust cloud.

Suffice to say, he is no longer a danger…

Old Joe makes one final effort to kill Cid but is thwarted again on two occasions.

The first is from another mind discharge from Cid and then the inconvenience of Sara acting as a human shield to protect her son.

Younger Joe is in close attendance and concludes that if his older self kills Sara, Cid will probably become the Rainmaker.

After all, he’s already pretty deadly as Sara’s sister unfortunately found out…

So he decides to kill himself that will automatically erase his future self from existence and save them both.

This is a welcome variation on such a fascinating concept.

It’s one of those that ventures here, there, backwards, forwards and every which way you can.

The blood is sometimes frequent, as is the language and therefore merits its 15 certificate.

Special effects are great and there’s enough technology to keep fans of The Gadget Show happy.

The computer that Willis uses and the irrigation robot are worthy highlights.

There’s enough action and gunplay to keep things exciting and performances are more than acceptable, especially from the leading roles.

Support also serves up a fairly tasty meal and the young Pierce Gagnon is impressive as the troubled Cid.

Back to the Future is king and although incomparable, another is the entertaining Van Damme and Ron Silver action vehicle Timecop.

If I had a slight criticism, Rian Johnson’s effort tries to be a bit too big for its footwear but nevertheless, it fares better than the standard slice of science fiction pie.

I really don’t see how a sequel could be made as all bows have been tied.

Joss Trank’s Chronicle was far more blatant and Cid’s telekinetic clout also steals from Akira.

This will make you think and won’t threaten the switch of brain shutdown that is usually associated with action popcorn.

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