Time: 127 mins.
SYNOPSIS: Lincoln Six-Echo is a resident of a seemingly utopian facility in the mid-21st century. Like all of the inhabitants of this carefully controlled environment, Lincoln hopes to be chosen to go to the "The Island" reportedly the last uncontaminated spot on the planet until he makes a terrible discovery that everything about his existence is a lie. Together with a beautiful fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta, Lincoln makes a daring escape to the outside world he's never known. With the forces of the institute relentlessly hunting them down, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a desperate race to save their lives.
BOTTOM LINE: There are many things to like about this movie, especially the art direction and cinematography that creates a very distinct vision of the future. However, what begins as an intellectually intriguing premise (with nods to THE MATRIX and LOGAN'S RUN) is never fully realized, the long set-up tossed aside for high-octane action sequences that are ridiculous in the extreme. Bay is a masterful visual stylist and this film delivers some extremely glossy goods. Unfortunately all the chaotic, explosive delights come at the expense of the story. Once Lincoln and Jordan enter the "real world" the film's pace goes into overdrive with barely a second wasted on the lie that was their existence.
Instead, we're forced to swallow sequence after sequence of improbable escapes by two creatures with no practical experience in actual society who manage to elude trained military personnel without batting an eye. Naivité and luck can only account for so much, making the final third truly hard to swallow. The film allows them to get away because it needs them to, yet once they are out and about it fails to deliver on its' initial promise. I have to give props to McGregor, who tackles a duel role with great panache, along with a bit of scene-chewing. Johansson looks amazing, but there's nothing going on behind her eyes for the entire film. Bean, Buscemi, Hounsou and Duncan each have their own moment to shine, giving the film much needed depth and humor. In the end, it's a clever idea that should have been developed into more, but it will likely satisfy most sci-fi/action lovers looking for an explosive good time.