October 5, 2012 8:15 AMReply
First and foremost, it should be noted that this was a co-production with the Communist Chinese government, so, of course, communist Chinese and Communist China could not be not be portrayed in a bad light. And, right on key, that's what we get. A movie about time travel in which Communist China is the center of the universe in the future, and America has descended into a dystopian hell hole. Gee, what a surprise.I guess that is what we can expect more and more of in the future from blockbuster films: after all, China only permits 34 foreign-made films to enter its film market; only films made in China as co-productions and subject to Chinese censorship are exempt from that number. Does this sound familiar anyone? China expects foreign companies to transfer their expertise to domestic Chinese production companies, while demanding that more and more Western studio films portray Communist Chinese and Communist China in a positive light. So, domestically, we'll continue to see good, bad and indifferent portrayals of America, but only positive portrayals of Communist ChinaAnd, the film? Frankly, half way into the film, I realized that my movie ticket was subsidizing authoritarian Communist China's censorship, and walked out of the theater. That's the first time I've ever walked out of a movie.But the half I saw? Dreadful. In spite of an interesting time travel premise, and innovative visual design, the movie was confusing and focused far too much on images and sounds of guns killing people. Very loud bangs of guns going off again and again and again. Very loud bangs of doors closing and objects falling. A very poor attempt of creating suspense through loud noises.Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I usually like, was covered in weird prosthetic make-up (which was distracting), and was trying to channel Bruce Willis: it was not an effective performance. Bruce Willis, the co-star, well, I'll just say that he has never been one of my favorite actors.Also strange was that in a movie of over 25 credited male roles set in Kansas City, America, and Shanghai, China, only one male actor was of a race other Caucasian. What is up with that? Can the Communist Chinese not stomach depictions of African American or Asian American males? Or, possibly the Chinese version had more roles for Chinese males (people in China get a longer Sino-centric Director's cut of the movie than we see in the West). It should be noted that in the half movie I saw, there were three women depicted (a blockbuster film with hardly any women in it --yet another surprise): a charming African American waitress in Kansas City, an idealized loving Chinese wife living in Shanghai, and a somewhat callous, materialistic Caucasian prostitute, also in Kansas City. So, the filmmakers seem fine with depicting women of racial diversity, but men get short shrift. If you're male, you're Caucasian, or you're not in the film. Weird.And, finally, this movie received excellent reviews (94% positive review on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.3 out of 10 on IMDB). The great new movie "The Master" with Phillip Seymor Hoffman only got 85%. If I were a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, I'd bet that the Chinese-American Co-Production company that made this film put the squeeze on Rotten Tomatoes, and hired people to post positive reviews on IMDB. Because that's the only way I can see this God awful mess getting such glowing reviews.This movie is a dog. Don't go and see it. And, don't subsidize Communist Chinese censorship.