Looper Review: A Smart Sci-Fi Extravaganza That Lacks Character

Photo Credit: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/09/27/looper-500-days-of-the-terminator/

Looper is a movie with a lot of great ideas that would have come together had the main character been given an ounce of humanity.

The rules of world this film takes place in are laid out in front of us right from the beginning. Time travel doesn’t exist yet (in 2044 that it), but in thirty years it will. Loopers are assassins in 2044 who kill people that the mob from the future want killed and send back in time. This is an intriguing idea built in an entirely believable world. Director Rian Johnson’s creative mind is up to the task of bringing you in, but that’s about it.

Once you’re there you’ll find little to make you invest emotionally. The noir-ish protagonist Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has such a weak emotional attachment to the plot around him that a lot of the big scenes fall flat. He realizes what he should be fighting for way to late. At just under two hours, that is a LOT of time to not care about the main character. Gordon-Levitt does the best he can with the material, but the script just doesn’t flesh out Joe enough for any sort of investment.

His older counterpart (Bruce Willis), on the other hand, has a lot more to chew on. He benefits from living the last thirty years and having something real to fight for. Too bad he drops in and out of the story without ever really getting a chance to connect with the audience. But Willis is an experienced actor, and delivers a performance that saves the shortcomings in the script towards his character.

Emily Blunt does a fine job. Nothing too memorable but she carries her scenes with just enough emotional weight to give the third act some meat.

Technically, Looper is top of the line. The action scenes dazzle when they appear. Johnson does a great job of creating a particular mood with the camera work and sound.

Really, the only thing lacking is the characters. Had they been stronger Looper could have been something really special. But instead its an intriguing sci-fi flick with some great ideas that never get a chance to blossom because there is no humanity within them. A little humanity goes a long way. Grade: B-



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