dir: Lee Tamahori
[img_assist|nid=733|title="I'm worse than you." "No, I'm worse than you."|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=220|height=144]
Are you fucking kidding me?

This flick is terrible by any of the standards you care to think of to apply. Except maybe that someone didn’t leave the lens cap on the camera. Maybe that’s the only bit they got right.

Everything else is, not to exaggerate too much, so fucking awful that it renders the film a crime against humanity. I’m amazed the film prints didn’t fall apart on the subatomic level and cause black hole singularities from the weight of their crapulousness. Destroying projectors, creating gaping holes of nothingness in the fabric of space/time, drawing in and disintegrating countless foolish movie patrons.

And to add insult to injury, it’s awful even by the standards of most Nicolas Cage films. Now, don’t get me wrong, Cage has starred in some movies that haven’t sucked completely and utterly. But he has starred in many that have sucked more than the infinite gravity of the aforementioned theoretical black holes. Such monumental powers of sucking necessarily make me wary whenever his name and creepy hairpieces appear onscreen.

You think I jest? Have you sat through Ghost Rider, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Wicker Man, Windtalkers, Gone in Sixty Seconds, or many of the other shite films he’s been in? I have. Sure, it’s not his fault, you keep telling yourself that, Nicolas Cage fanboy/girls. Sure, it’s the director’s fault. In each and every case.

Sure it is. In the lists of ‘worsts’, this also ranks as one of the absolute worst movies made from an idea science fiction author Philip K. Dick is being blamed for. For all his craziness and drug use, I can’t see how Dick could have thought up anything this idiotic and pointless even on several of his wildest benders.

Cage plays Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas magician who hides his secret ability – he can see two minutes into the future - behind the palaver and lacklustre lounge act that is the cover for his bread-and-butter, which is cheating at the various games of chance on offer. Whenever anyone suspects him, he just ‘knows’ where everyone and everything is going to be, so he avoids all obstacles and security thugs and makes his escape. How neat.

The FBI, as led by Julianne Moore, have somehow detected his ability, and want to use him to stop a catastrophically nuclear attack on, um, Los Angeles? Somewhere, it doesn’t matter. The point is that Cris always knows everything and can avoid anyone unless there’s a woman involved.

And there is a woman involved! He has somehow foreseen, beyond the two minutes he’s usually privy to, some girl in a diner (Jessica Biel), who will liberate him from the everyday, and probably the load from his sack. In a scene that would be more amusing had we not seen the same thing in Groundhog Day, he tries and fails at countless attempts to pick her up when he finally finds her.

Now, the essential problem with his ability is that, look, if you like the movie, and get caught up in its cornball shtick and fast-food friendly premise, you’re not going to care that the way his ability is used in the movie is idiotic. And, oh my good gods is it idiotic.

From being able to see two minutes into the future, the script essentially renders it impossible for Cris to ever fuck up because they simply posit that anything happening isn’t ‘real’, it’s just another version of a possible future he’s viewing until he finds the one with the best path. For the life of me, I’ll tell you now for free, it makes no sense at all. How he gets to view every course of possible action within a two-minute timeframe simultaneously, whilst time is passing simultaneously, and when these possibilities take longer than two minutes or more at a time to play out, is either a brilliant idea of Einsteinian complexity, or lazy hack writers making shit up as they go along. Considering how much of a generic Hollywood mass produced product this is, what do you think is the more likely answer?

But it might not bug you as much as it progressively bugged me. I found myself getting progressively more irritated with both the stupidity of the premise and the laziness of the outs that they kept arbitrarily creating. And Cage in full smug mood is very painful. At some arbitrary point, he turns to his love interest after shagging her, and utters the immortal existentialist gag about a Zen Buddhist monk who asks a vendor for a hotdog with everything on it. She, being Jessica Biel, looks at him with this pained smile on her face, as if she’s humouring a nutjob. I like to think she was stepping out of character, and letting us know that working with Cage was not exactly the high point of her career.

The problem with the plot device isn’t that it doesn’t really make sense: the real problem is that it distances the audience from really getting caught up in what’s going on. There’s not much tension to be had in a scene threatening danger when you know that the hero’s going to get out of it no matter what, in an unearned and empty manner. Sure we know the hero, whether it’s Wolverine, Elizabeth Bennet, Spider-Man, Bond or John Rambo, is going to survive a seemingly deadly encounter, but we still need it done in a way that impresses us and isn’t too much out of character.

None of that is possible here. The one time it looks as if Cris’s abilities haven’t saved the day, the writers use the most tremendously shameless reset button to show the audience just how much contempt they have for each and every one of them.

What utter crap. Avoid at all costs.

0 reasons at least that each and every one of the people involved in this flick should have known better out of 10

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