If I didn’t already know this was based on an existing graphic novel, I might have assumed that the title was a leftover “working” title, and no one could be bothered to come up with anything better when the film was completed. Despite the major-league production values and the marquee value of Indiana Jones and James Bond in the cast, this is a forgettable pot-boiler that does proper service to only one half of its title.
A nameless stranger (Daniel Craig) wakes up with no memory of who he is, a wound in his side, and a large and strangely unremovable metal bracelet on one wrist. He reaches the nearest town, where people recognize him as Jake Lonergan, notorious stagecoach robber. Awkward.
Mix theoretical physics, rock’n’roll, neurosurgery, Orson Welles and Rastafarian aliens from another dimension and you get this goofily eccentric genre-bending science-fiction action comedy. This is definitely one of those “love-it-or-hate-it” movies that you recommend to friends with caution. After watching this, they will either thank you profusely or recommend you for civil commitment.
This second teaming of writer Ed Neumeier and director Paul Verhoeven is not close to being the equal of their first effort, RoboCop. The attempts at social commentary are just as ham handed and the 1997 film lacks the humor and human dimension of the first. Fans of the original Robert A. Heinlein novel are also advised to steer well clear, as any resemblance between the source material and the final product is strictly accidental beyond the title and the names of a few characters. All this would be forgivable if it produced a good movie. Sadly, forgiveness is impossible in this case.
The film does offer some nifty special effects and plenty of grue for fans of the old ultra-violence, but other elements like story logic and characters that matter to us are missing in action. Continue reading