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Next Review

Samrat Sharma / fullhyd.com
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
Those dastardly east European terrorists are at it again. They want to blow up Los Angeles, but as always, they don't have a clear agenda as to why. I would have given that some leeway had it been John McClane doing the butt-kickage. But, alas, this time it is Nic Cage. I think it is precisely because Nic Cage is in LA that they want to blow it up. I mean after his latest films, and now Next, I totally empathise.

This is an absolute waste of the first rate writing of Philip K Dick, upon whose prose the film is based, among other things - but I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start by examining what poor ol' Nicky is doing in LA. He plays Cris, a man who can see two minutes into the future. He uses his powers to make money from gambling and doing cheap magic tricks. He also uses it later to sleep with Jessica Biel. BUT, when the FBI comes asking him to save LA from the very terrorists, he refuses.

Speaking of the FBI, Agent Callie (Julianne Moore) is very serious when she says that they need a man who can see 2 minutes into the future to stop the bomb. Really, that's what the FBI wants. Poor Liz (Jessica Biel) is only in for the ride, by the way, and looking smoking, which we must presume was her sole job.

Cris feels that when he is with Liz, he can see up to 2 hours into the future, and hence he must patao her. Which he accomplishes by picking from a host of various future outcomes and impressing her. They are now on the run from the FBI together.

When Callie approaches Liz and convinces her to drug Cris, she does the opposite, which somehow ends up in Liz being strapped in explosives by the terrorists. Now Cris must save LA, because he must save Liz, who is in LA. Mind-boggling.

This is your standard blow stuff up, chase things in cars, have PG-rated sex with a hot chick kind of movie, and it is as dumb as they come. It is openly goofy, and not only for the plot points of FBI wanting to use a pre-cog, but because it often ignores the rules it set for itself in the beginning. Though, in all fairness, the narrative does have some fun with the high concept, like when Cris throws an object at the head of a man who hasn't appeared yet.

The fun Cris has misusing his powers to hit people and hit on Liz is so infectious, you almost wish the film wasn't about the terrorists and the bomb and all that watcha-matcha hoo haa. It borders on the extremely ridiculous when the movie decides to go down that path, and your eyes begin to hurt from all the rolling.

Anyway, by the end of the film, you have been exposed to so many of the fake scenarios in Cris's head, that you don't accept anything for real, until the next set of events takes place. For a movie that treats its central gimmick so sacrosanct, it ends with such a big cop-out that you feel it like a strong hard slap on the face. For all the car-blowing-up fun the film has been having, the end twist is the absolutely the worst way to treat the very, very patient audience.

With the acting from all ends being extravagantly farcical, I really wanted this film to transcend into the so-bad-it's-good territory, but some really inept direction by Lee Tamahori, and some strange plot decisions later, the film ends as a so-bad-it's-bad film - something Lee Tamahori and Nicholas Cage have been doing very well without each other for the past few years. If you think about it, the team-up was inevitable. Of course, it all makes sense now. No wait, it doesn't - that was me thinking about 2 minutes into the future.
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Next (english) reviews
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  • Cast
    Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, José Zúñiga, Jim Beaver, Jason Butler Harner, Michael Trucco, Enzo Cilenti
  • Music
    Mark Isham
  • Director
    Lee Tamahori
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait to rent it - NA
Tinkertee Tonk on 30th Oct 2007, 5:35pm | Permalink
Very funny review!! May be he should be doing telugu films instead (ofcourse anonimouosly cuz it preserves his health). The movie for its silly theme maintains fairly good tempo and at least deserves a star above his rating.
Anand Raj on 26th Oct 2007, 4:37pm | Permalink
The review isn't mine but James Berardinelli's...he has given 2 1/2 stars out of five for this movie...have a look at...

Next represents Nicolas Cage's second superhero movie in the space of two months. However, where Ghost Rider was based on a comic book, Next takes its inspiration from a Philip K. Dick story. The result is not unlike what we have come to expect of many (although not all) Dick adaptations: maddeningly inconsistent. The first act of Next is brilliant, but the rest of the movie can't keep pace and the whole thing ends up collapsing under its own weight. The film fails to play by a consistent set of rules and, while it's possible to justify that endgame twist, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Some viewers will feel cheated by what Next does, and it's hard to blame them.

Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) has an ability that makes him unique among men - he can see up to two minutes into his future. This gives him short term invulnerability and allows him to be extraordinarily effective in crime fighting situations. There's an anomaly to Cris' superpower, however - he can see more than two minutes ahead into the life of one other person: Liz (Jessica Biel), a young woman he has never met. Cris is on a quest to encounter her if only to determine why he's having visions of her future. Meanwhile, FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) is tracking Cris. Having discovered his true nature, she needs his help. Pretty much quoting Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, she notes that with great power comes great responsibility. A terrorist in the Los Angeles area (Thomas Kretschmann) is about to detonate a nuclear bomb and the FBI believes Cris can help them prevent a disaster. (One keeps expecting Jack Bauer to show up.)
Next opens with a fascinating sequence of scenes in a casino. These show how Cris is able to use his ability to win some money, prevent a shooting, and evade a dragnet. It's compelling filmmaking from Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day) and sets the bar high for the rest of the film. Unfortunately, the movie cannot stay at this lofty level for long. After Cris meets Liz and the two go on the run to the Grand Canyon, the script loses its punch. One source of frustration is the lazy way in which Cris' powers are handled. There's no consistency. At times, he seems both infallible and indestructible. On other occasions, he's neither. It's never explained why he can see far into Liz's future - this becomes a plot device without which the rest of the story cannot unfold.
This isn't the most expressive performance of Nicolas Cage's career. He seems to be going through the motions, almost as if he had moved to this production immediately after completing The Wicker Man and didn't elevate the level of his acting. Julianne Moore brings intensity to the part of Callie, although the character is incomplete. Callie is driven by personal demons, but we never find out what they are. There's a sense that a scene (or scenes) explaining this might not have made the final cut. Jessica Biel is appealing as the woman who offers Cris salvation through love but, as with Callie, the character is unfinished. Thomas Kretschmann is unimpressive as a generic 24-style terrorist.
Since 9/11, there has been an upsurge in movies about heroic figures foiling terrorist plots. Last year's Déjà Vu introduced a time travel element into the formula, but told a more coherent and tightly plotted story than Next. The plot contains a lot of unrealized potential; the character and his ability are interesting enough to warrant future exploration, but it's unlikely the film will generate a strong enough box office to result in a sequel, especially with a much bigger superhero film immediately around the corner. This isn't a bad movie; it's watchable but the direction in which the filmmakers choose to take it results in a vague sense of dissatisfaction.
© 2007 James Berardinelli


Aamchi Hyd on 22nd Oct 2007, 3:48pm | Permalink
Fun review, enjoyed reading it, but even though I was disappointed at the cop-out of an ending, still feel the movie measured up (in retrospect). Leaving Jessica Biel out of this, and what her character does, et al, and the motivations for the poorly written Julianna Moore (who's sadly doing a lot for stuff that cops out in the end, think....The Forgotten); the movie still packs a punch (think Minority Report, which had a far superior take). Plus, Nic's turn in this is far, far superior to what he screwed up due to The Wicker Man remake and Ghost Rider. Sad that Hyd doesn't get to see his superb efforts in Adaptation and The Weatherman.
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