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Movie Review: Next

Directed by Lee Tamahori
Written by Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, and Paul Bernbaum from the novel The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick

Tamahori, the promising director who made Once Were Warriors and The Edge, fell to over-the-top ludicrousness with Die Another Day and xXx: State of the Union after that early show of talent.  And here, he adapts Philip K. Dick, a sci-fi author whose books have been turned into a mixed bag of good and bad films.  This sort of falls in-between, although I lean on the positive here.

Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) can see the future two minutes ahead of time when it directly involves his life.  In a nifty opening scene we see him get out of a jam, eventually being pursued by government agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore), who has a hunch about Cris’s powers and wants to use them to find a nuclear device that is being smuggled into the U.S.  Cris pretty much evades Callie for much of the movie, and meets his love interest Liz (Jessica Biel) in the meantime.

Apparently, Cris’s foresight has been able to go beyond the normal two minutes when it concerns Liz (awww), and eventually, in almost Groundhog Day fashion, he figures out how to win her attention and it’s not long before they hit the road together.  Oh, but Ferris is on the trail, and so are the bad guys, who seem to know about Cris as well and hope to knock him off before he eventually gets caught by the government and helps them out.

It’s a tightly told action picture, with some nifty moments here and there, which is a refreshing return back to normal for Tamahori.  But this won’t be favored by most critics and I have a feeling it’s going to bomb pretty hard.  It isn’t wow-bang exciting, and there are a lot of unbelievable character actions in this, and well, let’s just say it: Jessica Biel, like her Jessica counterpart Jessica Alba, will always be pretty to look at but never a compelling actress.  And hey, you’re either a fan of Cage or you’re not.  I think he’s always interesting to watch.

So, if you’re a sucker for basic sci-fi, like I am (hell, I even liked that Dick adaptation Paycheck with Ben Affleck), this will be a fun time-waster.  Most of you will likely stay away, and I have no real reason to persuade you otherwise.

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