Next (2007) - Review

Next is Nicholas Cage’s second sci-fi action flick of the year, and it substantially better than the first one (that was Ghost Rider for those of you lucky enough to miss it.).

In “Next” Cage plays a Las Vegas magician who happens to be covering up the fact that he actually has a “magic” or “super” power. His character, Chris Johnson, can actually see into the future..but only 2 minutes ahead, and only about things that directly affect him. It’s a high concept plot, based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick.

Cage also served as the producer for this movie, and I assume it’s a part he really wanted to play. I honestly had a hard time getting into him being the character at first, but that’s mainly because the trailer projects the movie like he will be doing Matrix moves to avoid bullets (which he does…but not as often as the trailer makes it seem like). I didn’t go into this film expecting a highly in depth psychoanalysis of the ramifications of this sci-fi concept, so the shallow take on the concept didn’t set me aback, like I’ve read in some other reviews of the film.

This is a speculative fiction/action movie hybrid flick that really harkens back to the good old days of action movies. In a lot of ways it reminded me of early Bruce Willis action movies, or the best of the Van Damme and Segal flicks from the 80s. There is a stereotypically strong female FBI agent played by Julianne Moore, a hot chick who is ready to jump in the sack after meeting a stranger no more than 4 hours before played by Jessica Biel, and we even have the stereotypical foreign bad guys…and it’s a nice mix of foreigners too…but we know they’re evil…because they don’t speak English. All the staples of an 80s action flick are here…except the ending.

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I won’t spoil the ending for you – in fact, I’m not even going to give you a hint – because if you do decide to go to the theater and see this flick this weekend…the ending is the reason to do it. You will either walk of the theater going “that sucked”, or “that was different.” I don’t really think the ending can give you any other reaction (with the possible exception of “eh” if you’re sick of the film by that point).

One of the most surprising things about the film was how unfinished some of the special effects seemed. These days it’s pretty hard to tell if a tree is CG or not if you’re not really paying attention, but there was one point in the film where the shots just looked unfinished. It was very clear that they were CG…and BAD CG…it passes quickly, and you forget about it almost instantly, but it’s worth noting.

Overall, I liked Next. It’s a fun, action packed, throw back to an older style of action movie. If you go into it knowing what you’re going to get out of it, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Grade: B

That’s right…I’m grading them now….stop with the emails….

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