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:: The Island

The Island borrows heavily from classic 70s sci-fi, but revamps the genre in a decidedly modern, if Hollywood, way. Ewan McGregor is Lincoln Six Echo and Scarlett Johansson is Jordan Two Delta, best friends who live in an enclosed facility when the world outside has been contaminated after a nuclear war - or so they have been told.

In their world they wear white uniforms, their diets and sleeping patterns are monitored and physical closeness with each other is banned. On the other hand their clothes are laid out for them, their food is cooked and they are taken care of. The one thing they live for in their routine existence is to win an apparently random lottery to go to The Island, the last uncontaminated place on Earth. When Jordan is chosen to go to The Island Lincoln realises things aren't as they seem and the two make a daring escape.

The first half an hour sets up Lincoln and Jordan in their controlled environment while Lincoln discovers the real reason they are in the facility, and what the world is like outside. The tension in the exposition is so well done it‘s a shame that most audiences won't find it a surprise at all. The film trailers give it away so I feel safe to say it - the two are clones, harvested for their parts as an insurance policy when the 'real’ version of them becomes sick. They escape into the real world, much like our own but with way cooler motorbikes.

When the secret‘s out it's non-stop mad-cap action for the next two hours, with completely unbelievable luck for the couple as they escape hired guns again and again. You can really see the hand of director Michael Bay, known for his work in 'The Rock’ and ‘Armageddon’, taking the action to extremes. At some point the main characters fall with a ton of debris off the side of a skyrise building and land in a conveniently placed net. It's so absurd it's almost funny, but this movie takes its action very seriously and keeps the suspense at an intense level.

The cloning plot means Ewan McGregor gets to shine as two characters at once, but Johansson's character is disappointingly shallow as the girlfriend figure. Still, the sexual tension is very well played since the two characters aren't aware of what sex is, and their innocence about the real world offers some very funny moments.

The film gives nods to significant movies of the past. Some scenes look identical to those from 70s classic ‘Logan's Run’ where humans are again kept in a controlled facility after a nuclear contamination, while the non-stop action is akin to the more recent Schwarzenegger film ‘Total Recall’. Still, the majority of the movie is an action rather than a science fiction, so expect less fun sci-fi toys and more blowing stuff up.