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The Island

Title: The Island

Director: Michael Bay

Stars: Ewan McGregor ; Scarlett Johansson ; Djimon Hounsou ; Sean Bean

Reviewer: Matt Eccles

Rating (out of 10): 5


The basic premise of The Island is of a near-future dystopia when clones are bred as insurance policies to provide healthy replacement body parts for well-heeled investors. Unaware of this, the clones are raised on tailor-made lives in pristine confines which they may escape only if they are chosen by a lottery to be taken to the fabled Island. However, clone Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) smells a rat, so plans on breaking out, taking the alluring Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) with him.

This film, then, could have had the best of both worlds: an interesting philosophical reflection on what exactly constitues being human coupled with big, crowd-pleasing set-pieces. But it's directed by Michael Bay, who gave us the likes of The Rock and Armageddon, so any promise of profundity is forgotten as soon as the clones are on the run. What's left is a simple, overlong chase movie with bangs, crashes and cliff-hangers that are far less likely to create an interest as a headache. It becomes clear that the cloning issues are raised only as a device to further a plot that desperately throws implausibilities into an idea-free cavern.

What seem to be a succession of movie in-jokes confirm that Bay is determined not to let us take this film seriously, but this merely back-fires. Only the presence of wise-cracking Steve Buscemi keeps the interest level from waning too far in the first half, whereas the increasing silliness and lazy plotting of the second makes The Island a patchy and forgettable waste of a movie.

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