The Island (2005) starring Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan directed by Michael Bay Movie Review

The Island (2005)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson in The Island (2005)

Lincoln's Run

There is no denying that if you want someone to deliver big special effect driven action and huge crashes which ring in your ears then Michael Bay is your man. Bay has proven time and again that when it comes to action he will continually deliver bigger and louder action. The sad thing is that Michael Bay is the director behind "The Island" a modern take on old sci-fi movies such as "Logan's Run" and any cleverness to the story ends up wasted as the action takes over and it descends into chaos. And it is a shame as for about the first 40 minutes or so "The Island" is amusing and clever and it regains some of this intelligence late on but the middle section ends up a melee of vacuous special effect driven action, noise for noises sake. Some will love it as it becomes a visual treat but for me it ruins what could have been an above average movie.

Sometime in the future Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor - Valiant) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson - In Good Company) are just two of thousands of people who live in a Utopian facility having been told they survived a contamination. But Lincoln begins to question things as he becomes bored by the daily routine where choices are made for the inhabitants and the only thing they have to look forward to is the lottery where the winner gets picked to go to the Island. But as Lincoln starts snooping around he discovers the shocking truth which forces him and Jordan to go on the run.

Steve Buscemi as James McCord in The Island (2005)

For about the first 30 minutes "The Island" feels like a take on "Logan's Run" where we have this futuristic population who all dress the same, do the same thing, are ruled by computers and have no purpose as such. All they have to look forward to it the lottery where one of these people gets picked to go to the Island, a place in the open air. We get some story that they are survivors of a contamination but it does feel very familiar, just dressed up with modern special effects and a couple of appealing stars.

Now the thing about this is that there is always one who has to question things so we have Lincoln Six Echo who wonders what is the point, why he has to eat certain food, why he has to wear the same boring outfit and so on. And typically it is his probing around which reveals the truth a shocking truth for Lincoln and one which I would love to tell you but it would spoil things. But it is actually amusingly clever and is a nice modern twist on those old sci-fi movies such as "Logan's Run".

Now just as typically we have Lincoln Sex Echo and Jordan Two Delta, you have to have a smoking hot partner, go on the run having discovered the shocking truth and they cannot be allowed to reveal that truth to others. This is where things go wrong because whilst later on there is more amusing intelligence the whole of the middle section is just action, just one long chaotic chase scene. Now some will love this, some will love the futuristic vehicles and over the top action, it is what you expect from a Michael Bay movie. But for me it spoils what went on before becoming drawn out and noisy just for the sake of cramming in as many crashes and CGI driven scenes as possible.

Now what is a nice surprise is that both Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson are good as Lincoln and Delta, they both deliver the innocence of their character but also the humour which comes from it. And both looks just as good when it comes to the action with Johansson delivering smoking hotness when it comes to being an action chick. So none of this draws on their acting ability to create deep characters, neither does it when it comes to Sean Bean and Djimon Hounsou.

What this all boils down to is that "The Island" starts off brilliantly with a decent update on the sci-fi of "Logan's Run" but then when it has impressed with a clever update it becomes just another vacuous action flick with Michael Bay delivering big CGI driven action sequences.