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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 34.31%
Just Average: 11.76%
Pretty Crappy: 8.82%
Sucks: 3.92%

5 reviews, 72 user ratings

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by Natasha Theobald

"Worthy premise and cool cast override any questions concerning originality."
4 stars

This movie knows from whence it came. It is well aware of its genre and the expectations within it. It knows that its story stands beside countless others and that the look of the film is not entirely new. For me, though, the thought-provoking premise and a great cast more than made up for the sometimes overwhelming sense of deja vu. So, while the action occasionally devolves into silliness and the story might have a hiccup or two, I was on board for the whole of the journey with complete and overt enthusiasm.

Since World War III, those who survived have been bound by the manifestation of the theory that without feeling or emotion, there could be no war. To that end, all citizens are dosed with a drug called prozium, not just to flatten their emotions but to make them completely non-existent. Anything that might evoke response has been removed, leaving the world with a starkly modern look, lacking the color and verve of fashion or architecture or any external expression of creativity. Such things are simply not allowed. The true believers in this theory are responsible for eradicating all art, literature, and music, any remnants of a time when people were allowed to express emotion and anything which might tempt them to question the quality of a life without. And, those who choose to feel or are unable to quell that part of their human nature, even with the drugs, are faced with the harsh sentence of death.

John Preston (Christian Bale) lives and works among these ideals. He is part of the group charged with enforcing the law of the land. He is successful, in part, because he is able to know, intuitively, when someone is feeling, perhaps before they know it themselves. His skill was put to the test, first, when his wife was charged with the crime of feeling. Foolishly, she had allowed herself to fall in love with him. Having missed this important opportunity to prove himself then, he is more than eager to attack when he becomes aware that his partner (Sean Bean) has fallen to rebel ideals.

Shortly after an introduction to his new partner (Taye Diggs), another intuitive with big career goals, John is, by accident, left without his daily dose of mood eliminator. The slight pang which follows is enough to make him question the validity of the tyranny under which he has excelled, as well as the value of life within its confines. He faces the danger of an uncertain future, masking himself with the necessary stoicism while deciding what, in truth, might be worth the fighting for.

The first worthy mention goes to the casting for the film. First, Christian Bale is a brilliant choice for John Preston, as he does the stoic, thinking, trying not to feel thing exceptionally well. Plus, he kicks some ass and looks good doing it. Sean Bean has a small but important role, and the sight of him really got me excited about what was to come. He gets a very nice moment to read beautiful poetry with an exacting dose of pathos. Other welcome additions include William Fichter, Angus MacFadyen, and Taye Diggs -- all adding class and cunning to the affair. Also of special note is Matthew Harbour as Robbie Preston, John's son. He has some great creepy moments and a truly inspiring change of course. Finally, Emily Watson plays Mary O'Brien, a willing martyr for the cause who is able to touch people in a way few others can.

Writer-director Kurt Wimmer has the courage of his convictions, never losing sight of the ultimate point he is making. The beauty of the vision is intensified by the vigor and, sometimes, brutality of the action. There are a couple of moments where the events of the story betray flawed thinking by characters from whom you would not expect it, but, that aside, the story remains intriguing. All elements combine to serve up a mostly satisfying, never mindless, singular vision.

If you like some meat on the bones of your action or just want a movie that challenges you to follow through with the path of its premise, I highly recommend this not too dubious vision of a not too distant future.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6437&reviewer=317
originally posted: 07/08/03 02:03:44
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User Comments

9/02/14 Dude Stupid, pretentious crap 1 stars
9/19/12 austin stupid 1 stars
4/21/11 man total crap 1 stars
3/18/10 yo dude love this film. kicks ass in so many unconventional ways. Bale is perfect in the role 5 stars
8/01/09 r0b it could be worst 2 stars
9/08/08 Andy W Exellent movie, have hooked several friends on it. 5 stars
9/06/08 Halad65 Awesome! XD XD 5 stars
6/21/08 David V Lame rip-off of the The Matrix among other science fiction movies. 2 stars
3/19/08 Dunecat Extremely underrated movie, on par with The Matrix 4 stars
9/07/07 some random hobo this is simply a very good, smart movie and the fight scenes are unprecedented. 5 stars
7/08/07 Jubei It's 1984 with martial arts.Should've focused more on Bale's discovery of emotions. 4 stars
7/06/07 T A compelling homage - the mainstream critics missed the boat on this one. 5 stars
2/09/07 K. Sear It has a pretty weak plot but it was fun. 4 stars
12/21/06 Colin Smart Indiscriminate killings is never justificed 3 stars
12/14/06 Tony rottentomatoes.com lost its credibility by rating this movie very low, they suck! 5 stars
11/09/06 Jason Fantastic..not a rip off of the matrix, new idea 5 stars
9/08/06 Jiz Had a couple "that was stupid" moments but for the most part was excellent. 5 stars
6/19/06 Herbert GREAT!! 5 stars
6/02/06 tatum Great action and story, better than Matrix sequels 5 stars
4/13/06 gfh a fine film about the dangers of too much control 4 stars
4/12/06 Not Brain Dead Only a moron would think this was a rip-off of The Matrix. See a few movies, then write 3 stars
2/18/06 VC amzing 5 stars
12/31/05 Quigley this film really makes you think about humanity. Bale, the plot and the fights were awesome 5 stars
8/29/05 ES Acting is strained at best, the concept a bit unbelievable & the action merely ok 3 stars
7/06/05 ACTION MOVIE JUNKIE decent action film watch it at least once 4 stars
4/20/05 Dan the gunplay seems realistic and feels as if someone could really be trained to be that good 4 stars
12/12/04 Vince A good sci fi flick with brains, atmosphere and action 4 stars
11/23/04 James Battle good film, lacked in the accessory department 4 stars
10/08/04 Will Dontex Cool gun fights-almost more realistic than the Matrix, plot sucks but great action! 4 stars
10/03/04 malcolm Fahrenheit 451 + 1984 with dope and martial arts. i can't wait to see Bale as Bruce Wayne. 5 stars
9/27/04 The Cleric Masterpiece of action. Great performance from Bale. A must-see 5 stars
9/20/04 Samuel Haase A most excellent and entertaing film, better then any of the MAtrixs 5 stars
9/09/04 Stanley Dorvil Teaches you what you really are. 5 stars
7/26/04 lucas great borrows from a ton but makes it mesh well 5 stars
7/07/04 Daveman Kinda entertaining but there is just too much heavy-handed sci-fi and unintentional humour. 2 stars
6/01/04 John Poo\'s "Arse/Off" I AGREE 'Glen' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/23/04 Glen Interesting premise. Great action scenes make it a must! Especially the final fight 5 stars
5/17/04 Anne Great movie. Many people who do not like it seem not to get the underlying theme throughout 5 stars
5/12/04  Shaun Rose Very underated film, Gun and fight scenes are cool 4 stars
4/30/04 Jack Sommersby Action is OK, but the character scenes are the ones that are more involving. 4 stars
4/18/04 P.Rodriguez Has the action scenes I love; short & sweet. None of that Vam Damme crap thank u very much 5 stars
3/21/04 BlackTerror Not great, but good. You can hardly tell this was a low-budget movie. 4 stars
12/07/03 Sammy The Gun battle are second to none and the fights are short but sweet. 5 stars
11/08/03 Sphelx Excellent, it did everything the Matrix didn't, the Gun Kata was unbelieveably good. 5 stars
10/14/03 Rlamb A big suprise 4 stars
9/30/03 Obi Wan Why didn't anyone tell me about this? Completely new fight choreography!! 5 stars
9/29/03 Bob Hoskins Worth a watch for the action sequences alone 4 stars
9/19/03 Jinnvisible like orwells `1984` with comedy cute puppy scene + matrix FX great for the under 12`s 3 stars
9/09/03 Doc Shock Farenheit 451 + Matrix + THX1138 = Equilibrium. Good flick! 4 stars
8/02/03 awn Like Fahrenheit 451, only with MUCH more action. A truly amazing movie over all. 5 stars
7/28/03 Boomer WOW!!! I've never scene any choreography like this. Fight-scene are new and fresh!! 5 stars
7/17/03 Dead Ringers FX Rule! A pleasant surprise. A beautiful drama and action sci fi film all in one. 5 stars
7/15/03 Gremlin Cool movie. Kick ass action scenes. 5 stars
6/26/03 Ingo Seen it all before... 3 stars
6/17/03 Dude Not bad 3 stars
6/15/03 kristof most overlooked movie of the year 5 stars
6/15/03 Jerry Forget the matrix! this movie is better! 5 stars
6/11/03 FLiK Its a Matrix without the prophecy-this-prophecy-that-plot. Still one of my favorites... 5 stars
6/07/03 Satan This rocked harder than "the matrix reloaded" 5 stars
5/30/03 Jack Sommersby Its character moments actually outshine the overdone action ones. 4 stars
5/23/03 Chris Better than the matrix: reloaded 5 stars
5/16/03 Eric Best gun battles ever, this is better than both Matrix films. 5 stars
5/16/03 INCUBATOR Way better then the 2nd Matrix, Ray Bredbery forever! 5 stars
2/01/03 Allan Jones Nice!!! 5 stars
1/28/03 x-cal I WANT THIS ON FRICKIN DVD NOW!!! 5 stars
1/08/03 Myztiq totally worth it. makes you think and action is sweet! 5 stars
12/09/02 Killboy Does things with guns like Japanese chefs to with spatulas. Action is scarce, but unGODly. 5 stars
12/08/02 Phil Reese Matrix in inspiration, perhaps, but not in execution: see it and you won't be disappointed 5 stars
12/08/02 Zor Good if you like post apoctalyptic totalitarian moves. 5 stars
12/08/02 Conner Do not under any circumstances see it. There is not a single redeeming feature. 1 stars
12/06/02 Butterbean Not as bad as the plot suggests it would be. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
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  06-Dec-2002 (R)
  DVD: 19-Apr-2011



Directed by
  Kurt Wimmer

Written by
  Kurt Wimmer

  Christian Bale
  Sean Bean
  Taye Diggs
  William Fichtner
  Angus MacFadyen
  Emily Watson

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