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NEXT


STARRING: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, Peter Falk

2007, 96 Minutes, Directed by: Lee Tamahori
 

In this “adaptation” of a Philip K. Dick short story titled The Golden Man, Nicolas Cage plays a character that can “see” two minutes into the future and thus change the future. As you can imagine this is particularly handy, especially when it comes to dodging bullets or finding the right pick-up lines.

The movie only takes the basic concept behind Dick’s short story and spins its own post-9/11 counterterrorist action story around it.

For starters there’s the Feds who want to enlist Cage in helping them find a nuclear bomb planted somewhere in L.A. by international terrorists. What the terrorists actually want to achieve is never made clear as they are of the Die Hard Euro-trash variety instead of more likely al Qaida types in this politically correct Hollywood I suppose it is far easier to insult European sensibilities than Muslim ones.

Still, having a two-minute edge isn’t that fantastic really: even if you knew exactly where a nuke is about to explode in downtown L.A., can you make it there within two minutes, never mind defuse it? Never mind. Finding and capturing Cage remains the Feds’ highest priority in a way that will make U.S. citizens wonder just how well their tax dollars are being spent.

"Cage is a bit like Superman here, but without any Kryptonite . . ."

Cage's character is however reluctant to co-operate. As he rightly points out, if he agrees once to such an agreement they will force him into working for them forever, whether he’d want to or not. Next however never explores this particular moral issue, preferring instead to be a bog standard Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer-style chase actioner.

After a while it however becomes apparent that having a protagonist that can change the future is a bit like Superman, but without any Kryptonite. Cage’s character is simply too powerful to befell any harm and no matter how hard the movie tries to cheat, it cannot find its way around this and create any tension in the process. What is the point if your hero is invincible? To worsen matters the movie’s ending is the biggest cheat of all, as the Cage character’s powers become stronger and almost god-like.

With some bland action sequences – one almost wishes for Michel Bay’s presence as Lee Tamahori of Tomorrow Never Dies and xXx: State of the Union fame clearly doesn’t seem up to the task. (Long gone are the days when this Kiwi export was referred to as the director of the brilliant Once Were Warriors.)

Cage telegraphs his performance and the only person who seems interested in the proceedings are the always professional Julianne Moore. Uninspiring with an ending that can only count as the biggest cheat since Bobby Ewing walked out of the shower, Next is to be filed under the same category as the recent similar Denzil Washington-starrer Déjà Vu: bland and easily forgettable . . .

 

 




 

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