Although I’m a big Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan and who can deny the charisma of Bruce Willis, I gotta say…I wasn’t really looking forward to this one. The trailers looked intriguing, but they never completely sold it and hooked me in. But I thought…hey….why not? If the movie’s terrible, there’s always Emily Blunt to look at for 118 minutes. See…you gotta look for the good in EVERYTHING. At least in these economically deprived days. Times are tough. And without further ado or any more words from our commercial sponsors I am free to begin deconstructing the time travel plot of September 2012’s science fiction action film…Looper. Here goes nothing.
Looper is written and directed by Rian Johnson. In addition to Joseph, Bruce and Emily, the feature also stars Jeff Daniels and Noah Segan. The film’s studio, Endgame Entertainment, negotiated a deal with FilmDistrict at last year’s Cannes Film Festival (I need to get out there one of these days). FilmDistrict released the movie though TriStar Pictures here in the States. And even before my press screening yesterday, the film has already garnered an excessive amount of praise from the critics…and in our game…that’s always important. So the pressure was on, needless to say, as I settled in my chair to watch Looper yesterday, but no worries…I was up to the task.
Looper takes place in the futuristic world of 2042, where a 25-year-old assassin (for lack of a better word), Joseph Simmons (Gordon-Levitt), works for a mafia company in Kansas City as a Looper. Loopers are basically hired guns that dispose of agents sent by their employers in Shanghai from the year 2072. For anyone not keeping track of the math, that’s thirty years into the future. They live and by die by one rule. Shoot. Don’t ask questions. Be on time and shoot. You’ll understand what I’m talking about when you see this one. A Looper’s target must NEVER escape. That’s would be B-A-D!
So what happens when a Looper’s target escapes, you’re probably asking? Let’s just say Abe (Daniels) and crew will do unimaginable and terrible things to you. So when a Looper must decide between giving up half his stash of silver he’s been saving up for the past ten years or ratting out his best friend after failing to complete his hit, which do you think they’re going to pick? That’s an easy choice when the shoes are on the other feet, but what if that failed Looper is you? Like they say in Taken…Good luck!
The failure of Simmons to take out his future self (Willis) finds him both on the run and on the hunt. He’s being hunted by Abe and the hounds and is also quite busy tracking down his older self. Everyone has their own agenda here. The older Johnny will do anything to prevent any harm that happens to his wife (Qing Xu) thirty years into the future and the younger version will do anything it takes to protect his own hide, his pseudo love interest (Blunt) and her estranged son, Cid (Pierce Gagnon). Now let’s take a minute to speak about young Pierce Gagnon. One word sums it up. Phenomenal. Like the little boy from The Others and the one from The Sixth Sense, Pierce steals the show here, in my opinion. And like the reviewer at Ain’t It Cool News already pointed out yesterday, get ready for the OH SH1T moment of the year. Really! It’s spectacular!
So there’s really a lot to take in here. Like Back to the Future in the 80’s, if you want to play you need to pay attention and really follow along. It’s not that complex, but it’s easy to get lost in the back and forth time travel shuffle. It’s lower action budget shows at times, but it’s the original story and ascending intrigue that sucks you in here and I’m going to be bold like the rest of the reviewers out here in cyberspace and say this is pretty much an instant sci-fi classic, at least in the time travel genre. It’s not balls to the wall action like the Expendables 2, but it was never intended to be. There’s enough to get your blood curdling here, so don’t fret. And my best advice for you if you ever find yourself in the Looper profession, especially as a Looper on the run, NEVER EVER get caught with your pants down. Come to think of it, you probably shouldn’t sleep either. Time is of the essence.