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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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The Island

In a clean, white, and antiseptic society, a man has begun to question his existence and the very nature of his world. The man is Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan Mc Gregor), who lives day to day with the notion that he is one of the few survivors of a world wide contamination that has decimated much of the population of the world and forces the few remaining survivors to live underground in a high tech community.

In a world where schedule, diet, and activities are closely monitored, Lincoln begins to wonder if there is something more to life. He, like all of the other residents are told that the only remaining location that is habitable is a place called The Island and that their turn to win access via a lottery is coming.

The one bright spot in Lincoln’s life is his friendship with Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johannsson), who has grown close to him, even though physical contact is forbidden in their society.

Lincoln confesses his confusion over his life to Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean), one of the staff members who watch over Lincoln and the other members of the community. His dreams are of interest to the doctor as well as his belief that there is more to life.

Merrick attempts to address his concerns by letting Lincoln know that he is lucky to be alive as there were so few survivors and that in the mid 21st Century, their community and The Island are the only habitable areas left.

When a few chance discoveries lead Lincoln to ask even more questions about his existence, he begins to search in secret for the answers that he knows are out there. During the course of his exploration, Lincoln makes a shocking discovery that makes him realize that everything he has ever been told has been a lie and that he and his follow community members are in great danger. Further complicating the matter is the news that Jordan has one of the lottery as is about to leave for the Island.

Before long, Jordan and Lincoln are fleeing the community in fear for their lives and in a desperate race to find the truth. Along the way they are aided by a sympathetic worker from the community, Mc Cord (Steve Buscemi), who tells them the true nature of their community and their place in life.

Hot on the trail of Jordan and Lincoln is a team of operatives, lead by Albert Laurent (Djimon Honsou), who are ordered to return the pair at any price as they represent a threat of enormous cost and potential should their secrets get out to the world.

It is at this point that the films shifts direction form a captivating thriller and becomes a typical summer action film complete with over the top chase sequences, gapes in logic, one liners, and explosions. One such chase had a truck continuing on despite an unbelievable amount of carnage erupting around it. I had thought that the truck might have been automated, but this fact is left out as the audience is apparently not supposed to think and ask questions.

The two leads work well with one another, though Johannsson is not given much to do aside from running around and looking pretty. The biggest issue is that Director Michael Bay seems unable to stay with what works so well in this film and that is the story and the two leads. There is not a need for the constant barrage of explosions and action in the film as much of it seems tacked on and unnecessary.

The film is supposed to be a thriller and when it is sticking to those aspects, as it does for the first half of the film, it works very well. There are a few moments towards the conclusion where the thriller aspect is attempted, but as soon as a foundation is laid, it is destroyed in another explosion.

In many ways, The Island” is two films. One film is a solid thriller which uses elements of the best parts of “Logan’s Run”, “THX 1138”, and parts “Clonus”, and features a nice Twilight Zone-esque twist.

The second part of the film is a mindless chase and action film that conflicts with the tone and nature of the story which had been well established. For that reason, the solid start of the film is sadly wasted by the constant barrage of action.

As it stands, The Island” is simply a sum of its two parts, one positive, one negative, which results in a neutrally okay film.

3 stars out of 5


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