Sunday, December 30, 2012

Video review: "Looper"

Ambitious but not entirely successful, “Looper” is much more than your standard science fiction action flick.
Writer/director Rian Johnson (“Brick”) has crafted a film that’s less concerned with the mechanics of time travel than with the ramifications it has on its characters. It also has one of the boldest casting movies of the year, with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the same man separated by 30 years in age.

Joe is an assassin, or “looper,” living in Kansas City circa 2044. The loopers kill victims sent back in time by a crime syndicate that runs everything in the future. Their careers are prosperous but brief – retirement comes when the victim who shows up to be assassinated is themselves, three decades into the future.

Unfortunately for Young Joe, Old Joe has apparently been preparing carefully for this day and manages to escape. This sets off a nasty temporal snafu, as well as pitting the two of them against each other and the entire looper operation.

Eventually, the story leads to a lonely farm where a protective young mother (Emily Blunt) guards her son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) from the world at large – for good reason, as it turns out.

“Looper” is bursting with originality, but the movie seems to spin sidewise from itself and lose focus. Eventually it all gets tied up in a satisfying way, even if the journey getting there isn’t always a smooth one.

The film is getting a terrific video release piled high with cool features, and you don’t have to pay top dollar for the Blu-ray edition to get lots of goodies.

The DVD comes with a feature-length commentary track by Johnson, and also includes Gordon-Levitt and Blunt. The best commentaries usually include both filmmakers and cast. The DVD also boasts an animated trailer, five deleted scenes with commentary, and two making-of featurettes about creating the story and the musical score.

Go for the Blu-ray, and you receive 17 more deleted scenes with commentary and another featurette, “The Science of Time Travel.”

Movie: 3 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars

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