Reviews & Previews - The Island

Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2005 at 06:00 PM

The Island

By: S. Tran

Starring: Ewan Mcgregor, Scarlett Johansson
Directed by: Michael Bay
Running Time: 136 Minutes
Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexuality and language.

Da Plane! Da Plane!

Alright, just kidding there really isn't any plane. But if there were a plane it would have likely been blown up along with every other vehicle in the movie. The Island is a goofy summer movie with an interesting (if poorly thought out) premise that you might want to check if you want to enjoy the theatre's air conditioning for a couple hours.

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson play a couple of clones who discover that they exist solely to provide replacement parts for their real world counterparts. Of course once they discover this fact it doesn't take long for the inevitable chase to begin. Its ironic that the film deals with clones because most of the action sequences in the movie are liberally borrowed from other movies.

During the highway chase scene I couldn't help but think that I saw all if it before in Bad Boys II. You know you might be in trouble if you bothered copying anything from that film. Director Michael Bay even manages to crib a bit from The Empire Strikes Back during a hover bike chase. Given McGregor's recent turn as Obi Wan Kenobi this seems appropriate. All the action is also accompanied by rousing soundtrack, frenetic camera moves and machine gun editing. Its all competent work but nothing ground breaking or new.

I was hoping that the cloning angle would provide for some thought provoking drama, but really its just an excuse in the movie to give McGregor and Johansson something to run away from. The writers never really develop the interesting possibilities of the story once the running and shooting and blowing up of things start. The problem this creates is that you're left with a story with a lot of holes in it. Like the old bait and switch scam the movie promises us a clever science fiction based tale but only delivers standard summer action gruel.

Both McGregor and Johansson are nice to watch. They are supposed to play adults who have the intellects of 15 year olds, but you don't really get the impression from either one that anyone told them this. They act as adults except for the occasional moments of ignorance about the real world played for laughs. The supporting cast also have their moments but no one really has a chance to stand out with the script they are given. Overall, this is a renter unless you love the stars.


2.5 stars out of 5


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to