I may becoming a Christian Bale fan. I got a bad initial impression of him because he was in Batman (not sure which one, probably XVXXIIIXXX³ or whatever they’re on). That movie I didn’t bother to review because, well, while it was probably the best of the Batman series, it was still a Batman movie. Do I really have to explain that?
This movie, however, while I expected more out of it, none of its problems were due to Bale being the lead man. In fact, he probably saved the movie. It was an over-CGI’d affair with a good plot that some editor hacked to pieces and a great back-story. Think of it as a Brave New World for 2002. Instead of soma, they have “the dose.”
The idea is pretty straight-forward and isn’t really all that new: mankind, probably lulled by some control freak cult of personality figure, has decided that in order to eliminate their violence-prone warmaking they must eliminate the emotions that cause all of that. So they all take a daily dose of a drug that blocks all emotion, turning them into basic robots.
Bale is a “top cop” or enforcer who goes after those who don’t take the dose and who horde the things that trigger emotion such as art, books, music, and the like. Predictably, he becomes intrigued by his victims, especially when one of his own becomes one of the emotionals. So he goes off his dose and tests the waters only to find something he hadn’t expected.
The plot’s obvious predictability is usurped twice with some great story bumps, providing good twists to the line, but overall it wouldn’t have suffered if the editor had left in many parts you can plainly see are missing. The VGI is great and not too fake to be obvious, in a MATRIX-style fashion. The fight scenes are kind of cool and feature a “gun kata” martial arts style involving pistols, which is hokey, but at least original.
Overall, I would say you may as well see this movie, but don’t get your hopes up that it’ll be any kind of new-century 1984 or Brave New World or anything. It’s good, but not great.