The Island

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi
Director: Michael Bay
Certificate: US 2005, cert 12A, rt 127 mins,

From the action-by-numbers Hollywood stable of Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay (director of cinematic greats like Armageddon and Pearl Harbour), comes a sci-fi actioner called The Island in which Ewan McGregor plays a young man known as Lincoln Six-echo, hoodwinked, like many others, into believing that the world has suffered from an environmental disaster and his only hope is to win the lottery and escape to a supposed paradise called ‘the island’. In fact, Lincoln’s a clone like many others, bred by rich and wealthy backers, for spare parts

Discovering this through Steve Buscemi’s engineer, Lincoln decides to make a break for it rescuing the glamourous Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson) in the process. Escaping into the real world, the pair are on the run from the evil Corporation who have been hoodwinking them (shades of The Truman Show).

From a fairly promising beginning about the dangers of cloning, we’re led into by-the-numbers ‘sex-and-action’, with action director Bay now safely in the world he knows best – meaningless car chases, cliffhanger moments, and the creation of breakneck excitement – will the clones catch up with their rich sponsors ? Will the corporation agents catch up with the clones? Many films can be said to have lent a hand here from Bladerunner to The Truman Show to Logan’s Run and the truth is, good as those sources of inspiration are, you’d be hard-pressed to find a similar level of subtlety and ingenuity here, particularly as the final sequences are so noisy, run-of-the-mill and at times pretty dull.

Matt Arnoldi

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