The Island by The Bay
Although I did rent the 40 Year-Old Virgin on its first night of release, the film that I first chose was of greater interest to me, not just because of the blonde but because of the premise and the potential. The second film I've seen recently to not be a disappointment despite lackluster reviews and fair box office, Michael Bay's The Island is a blend of thought-provoking science fiction, pulse-pounding action sequences, and a palpable feeling of dread throughout the picture. And it works, although you have to get past a few moments of sheer unbelievable survival (i.e., falling off a thirty story building, surrounded by exploding wreckage and bullets) and melodramatic this-is-your-slow-motion-closeup moments (i.e., the end). If you've seen any Bay film previously (I'm looking at you, Armageddon), and forgiven these excesses, you'll have no problem here. What's better, he's actually learned to hold back on a lot of the crapulence. Compared to recent efforts, this is actually a restrained Michael Bay.

The Island succinctly combines the elements of Logan's Run, The 6th Day, and Coma. In fact, if one tries, you can picture Mr. Bay himself pitching his idea to the studios. ("I'm thinking 'Logan's Run' meets '6th Day'... with maybe we 'Coma' it 10%...") Well, maybe the first two because it's unlikely that a studio executive could go back more than 25 years. In summation, occupants of a walled-in community are told that the outside world is 'contaminated' and that they can get to the one unspoiled paradise ("The Island") by means of a lottery (Logan's Run). In reality, they are illegally-raised clones of wealthy people in some near-future time (The 6th Day). Unbeknownst to them, their pick on the lottery signifies that their organs are needed for harvesting, which also means they will be murdered in the process (Coma). Combine some witty exchanges, neat and gruesome effects and some intense chase sequences and you've got your film.

As with my FF review, I note that the film is far from great, but still quite enjoyable. The inevitable encounter with Ewan McGregor's 'sponsor' (read: real-world double, who refers to his clone as his 'insurance policy') where they compare accents is funny (McGregor's Scottish to his American), and Scarlett Johanssen has a couple of lines that are funny, but clearly don't distract from her status as a complete babe. Naturally, as with all Bay films, you can predict just about everything that is going to happen, it was about 10 minutes too long, and the ending was a little too pat (but then, these are more of his notorious traits). That said, I'd recommend The Island as a mostly satisfying way to spend a Tuesday. Today.

PS. The title search on Amazon brought up an old film, completely unrelated that used to scare me in my youth, called Island. Starring Michael Caine, it was about modern-day pirates in the Bermuda Triangle. I remember it most for some of the shockingly brutal attack scenes. I wonder if they would be that shocking anymore.

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