Let‘s Recycle a Few More Ideas: Equilibrium
May 2, 2006 (Updated May 2, 2006)
by George Chabot
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Good looking, but the Xerox machine is a little blurry.
Cons:Stoop down, turn around, pick a bale of clichés.
The Bottom Line: While it's better than Kill Bill, that's not saying much. Cliched, derivative, lacks imagination - kids will love it!
Recommend this product?
After youve watched a few movies that deal with the bleak future science fiction writers apparently feel is in store for us, you can begin to spot the cliché and predict whats going to happen all too easily. And thats the problem with Equilibrium, a fairly decent looking film that is nothing but a collection of scenes from older movies. How many older movies? Hell, I dont know - I stopped counting after five or six. Demolition Man and The Wizard of Oz, were two that came to mind without a doubt, with The Matrix, 1984, A Clockwork Orange, Fahrenheit 451, RoboCop, and so on, following merrily along.
Add heaping helping of John Woo style Hong Kong Phooey, Gun-fu, and Starship Trooper inspired black-clad Nazi types in charge, and spice it up with Japanese samurai sword fighting (excuse me while I barf) by non-oriental actors and you have a 14 year-olds wet dream of what the greatest action movie should be. Me, Im more than 14 years old, so I have reservations about a film that rips off almost as blatantly as Quentin Tarantino does.
The future is bleak. People are required to dose daily with a drug that turns them into automatons. You see, the emotions are the b-a-a-d thing from which all problems and conflicts arise. What has been substituted for government is a god-concept that is broadcast on large video screens. To ensure that any sense offenders are caught and punished, jack-booted thugs led by Grammaton Clerics - super gun-fu experts like John Preston (Christian Bale) - ferret out these heinous villains and burn their possessions, and themselves as well. Now what the real Mona Lisa is doing in somebodys shabby apartment is never explained. Also horribly colored 70s furniture, lava lamps, shag carpeting, and so on are also verboten. The thought police are busy working overtime.
Bale finds one of his fellow clerics (Sean Bean) with a piece of contraband and terminates him. He also forgets to take his dose of dumb medicine one day and begins to feel emotions, even though hes smart enough to act like he doesnt. There is a god representative that he reports to - the real god only appears on video.
Bale gets a new junior cleric for a partner - wooden Taye Diggs. Now Taye believes he can see through Bale and has dreams of a big promotion. The obligatory samurai sword fight (there goes that gag reflex again) disabuses him of that notion, just before his lights go out forever. Imagine what goes through Bales mind when he finds there is no god - thats right, he looks behind the curtain, just like Toto, and finds a guy working the levers.
OK, so the story is derivative and, frankly, crap. It also lacks the fortitude to explore the concepts of what living in such a society would actually lead to, substituting a plethora of martial arts for good science fiction. So the action is good, while it lasts, but like they say about a Chinese dinner - an hour later, youre hungry again. The costuming, sets, and CGI are well done, but the story doesnt seem to care about itself, so why should you?
An aside - for all the posturing about people not feeling emotion, there were sure enough scowls and smirks to make me doubt that they werent. So much for the acting.
The Dimension DVD is presented in 2.35:1 theatrical format, in color, and runs 107 minutes. There are a couple of full-length commentaries and a featurette included as extras.
If you want mindless action, Equilibrium may just fit your pistol. If you want a little thought, youre going to have to look elsewhere. 2 ½ stars.
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