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</script></div>{/googleAds}Is The Island a smart science fiction story ruined at the hands of an "I want to blow something up" director? Or is it just a bad movie that initially mesmerizes us with its bright, shiny baubles and fancy beads? Consider this. For its first 90 minutes, The Island is a slick, delicious piece of futuristic fantasy in the oeuvre of Blade Runner and The Matrix. But its closing act is so implausible, drawn out and downright farcical; that any credibility built to this point is lost in a sea of Armageddon and Pearl Harbor banality.

The screenplay by Caspian Tredwell-Owen was originally to be based late in the 21st century. But with animal cloning becoming an almost regular occurrence, the filmmakers realized that bringing it back to the near future would give the story a stronger topical resonance with audiences. Instead a futuristic sci-fi actioner, they made a contemporary thriller.

Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) are merely numbers who live amongst a sanitized urban colony of inhabitants who wear white jumpsuits and lead extremely mundane and regimented lives. The cityscape is made up of steely art-nuveau fingers that resemble Blade Runner's 2019 Los Angeles. The only hope for a better life comes in the form of a nightly lottery drawing that grants the winner a guaranteed slot on "the island", supposedly the only uncontaminated habitat left on Earth.

Of course Lincoln begins to get suspicious and uncovers the truth of their sterile prison-like environment where every action is monitored by embedded microchips and ever-present cameras. He learns that human clones are bred as insurance policies for rich people who can afford to make duplicates of themselves. Whenever a kidney, liver or heart is needed, there's no need to search for a compatible donor. Just make a call and order up a fresh organ from your identical clone. It's guaranteed to be a biological match and the donor will surely put up no fuss to donate. After all, he's told he's going to "the island."

As intriguing as it sounds, that's about the extent of everything that is interesting in The Island. After Lincoln and Jordan escape from the isolated clone compound, the film slips into the skin of a fast and furious "blow 'em up flick" filled with car chases, fistfights and gun battles. I guess people who like that kind of stuff would call it a great way to end the story. But people who are looking for a bit more brains will undoubtedly call it a cop out.

Taken with a huge dose of recognition and acceptance that the summer movie season is a time for brawn over brain, The Island might go down a bit easier. But regardless, one must still ponder how this thing turned so bad in such a hurry. I blame it on Hollywood. Not the Hollywood/Los Angeles setting that comprises the film's latter half, but rather the "Hollywood" mindset of meddling studio executives who undoubtedly referenced a formula that calculates the ratio of box office dollars to the amount of explosives used during filming.

As Lincoln and Jordan arrive in the city of Los Angeles, the movie turns into a fast-paced, chopped-up visual slurry of machine guns that can't hit targets, people who can't be killed, and gravity defying chases on motorcycles that curiously sound like the pod racers from Star Wars Episode I. Instead of a huge psychological payoff on the same impact level of the reveal in Soylent Green or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Island ends with a cheap Hollywood"ized" thud that I'm sure pleased the studio suits. And most undoubtedly, they'll be counting their millions on Monday morning after the film's successful first weekend.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; French; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; director's commentary; featurette.

* Audio Commentary: With director Michael Bay
* Featurettes:
o The Future in Action - 15-minute look at the action sequences and the special effects.

Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase Packaging.