It is the year 2008, and World War III has broken out. America is in a heightened state of security. One must use fingerprint identification to cross from state to state. And you are constantly being monitored by this new surveillance branch of the government known as US-IDENT. Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson) has woken up in the desert suffering from amnesia. He makes his way into Los Angeles and is researching for a role as a police officer in his newest film. He rides alongside police officer Roland Taverner (Sean William Scott) and he ends up in a very confusing story about a lot of confusion.
This movie is highly disappointing. I was so hoping for this movie to be amazing; it being the second movie to be written and directed by Richard Kelly (also did “Donnie Darko” (2001)). This movie crashed out of the American box office shortly after it was released (hint!hint!). However, I could see the same happening to “Donnie Darko” which is a cult classic (If you haven’t seen it you must go and check it out).
Let’s start with the story. It is a very interesting take on the post WW3 world. We’ve seen this kind of scenario in movies (eg. “Equilibrium”) and it tries to bring us into that world again. A tense and restricted environment, where the public is heavily policed. Except instead of showing us this world from the perspective of the police, like in “Equilibrium”, it shows it to us from the perspective of an actor turned politician who has recently reappeared after a period of being missing and suffers from amnesia. He is being used by an anti-government group who are trying to make him become involved in some illegal activities and then blackmail the government so as to fund their cause and further their position against the government. It sounds like a story that if you get a good director, which I thought Richard Kelly was, it could be interesting. However, this doesn’t work at all. While you are watching the movie and trying to see all of the interesting quirks that Richard Kelly tries to throw into his movie, you get confused with the story that I just feel hardly develops and doesn’t make much sense.
The direction isn’t that great, meaning that the director just plain old messed up. The job of the director is to make sure that the story develops correctly, the acting fits the film, and the viewpoints work out. As I watched this film it became harder and harder to understand what was going on because of the imagery I have to decrypt.
There are a total of TWO aspects of this movie I like:
(1) I loved the moment half way through the movie where Justin Timberlake basically does a music video for “All Those Things That I Have Done” by The Killers. I thought that video looked awesome, however I have no idea how it helps me understand the plot, so it shows me that Richard Kelly is 100% capable of doing a music video (he can make a call the Timbaland or something I guess).
(2) I liked that Dwayne Johnson’s character always did that things with his hands whenever he was confused or worrying about something, and that he says “I’m a pimp… and pimps don’t commit suicide.”
Everything else about this movie is bad. I was so looking forward to this movie and this may just be one of the biggest disappointments I’ve experienced from a movie since “1408”. I think that Richard Kelly owes me an apology, a HUGE apology. Richard Kelly is however working on a new movie (in post-production), I haven’t heard of an official release date, sometime later this year, but I hope it proves me wrong to say that Richard Kelly is a one hit wonder, because I don’t need another M. Night Shyamalan. M. Night Shyamalan came out with “The Sixth Sense” and I was hooked and forced myself into thinking he was good for three or so more films that he would make something great and got nothing but disappointment after disappointment until I’ve finally given up hope on him releasing anything of worth (and before anyone says it, I will not watch “The Happening”).
I cannot find anyone I would recommend this movie to, not even Richard Kelly fans because this will only make you no longer be a fan.
IMDB says 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes says 34%
I say 2.5/10