2nd Chances, 2nd Guesses
When Ben Garvey (Paul Walker) got married and had a child he turned his back on his criminal ways and got himself a respectable job, but then his criminal past is unearthed by his bosses who decide to let him go. It forces Ben to take a heist job with his brother which unfortunately goes wrong and leads to not only his arrest but being sentenced to death by lethal injection. Having said farewell to his wife and child Ben is lead down to the execution chamber where he is injected. But Paul comes to and finds himself in a psychiatric hospital in Oregon where he has been given a second chance by God to work there as a handyman. Confused by this especially as he is told he cannot leave the area and visit the family he left behind Ben tries to come to terms with things except something about the hospital and his situation makes him unsure of what is real and what isn't.
Let me cut to the chase as "The Lazarus Project" is simply one of those movies which is about whether it is real or isn't. But before we get to that we have a strangely detailed build up as we enter Ben's life with his wife and child and see that he smokes in bed, has nightmares and has a criminal brother. The detail which we are given is surprising but it important as some minor elements end up becoming significant in creating this aspect of is it real or isn't it real during the second half.
So as to that second half without giving too much away we are quickly lead to question what is happening as during the robbery Ben is knocked unconscious and so could it be a dream. But then maybe it is real and Ben has been transported to another place to get a second chance as long as he obeys the rules. Or maybe there is something more elaborate going on, more of a conspiracy which Ben finds him self in the middle of. The thing is that due to the nature of the movie we begin to question things very early on and so it is not so much a surprise but a case of when it will reveal what the truth is.
Now "The Lazarus Project" is one of the late Paul Walker's movies and whilst Walker is solid for me he was always better in roles which played to his action abilities. But as I said Walker is good as is the rest of the cast with Bob Gunton once again bringing warmth and depth to a character in a way that makes us like the character but also be a little suspicious of.
What this all boils down to is that "The Lazarus Project" is a decent reworking of a familiar concept of the person unsure of whether the situation they are in is real, fantasy or fake. But it puts things into motion so quickly that you are already questioning this before the character even does.