The Island

Early buzz indicated that Michael Bay had finally directed an epic that didn't sink to the idiot shallows of Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. Fat chance. I've elevated the rating by half a because Scarlett Johansson is a luminous camera subject that even Bay can't sully, and because the plot contains a glimmer of an actual idea. A borrowed idea — hello, Blade Runner, hi there, Matrix — but an idea nonetheless: A greedy scientist (Sean Bean) has learned how to clone the rich and famous so they can borrow a liver, a kidney, a younger face, you name it, when age and disease set in. The clones are programmed to think they are humans living underground to avoid contamination. Only the promise of life on an idyllic island gives them hope. It's Johansson's Jordan Two Delta, the clone of a Calvin Klein supermodel, and Ewan McGregor's Lincoln Six Echo, the clone of a playboy designer, who catch on to the lie and escape. Unprogrammed for sex, they discover it anyway, even though clones never reach a maturity level above fifteen — this film's target audience. What the clone lovers find is a new world — it's 2019 — of highway collisions, flying motorbikes, exploding buildings, bad acting and moral incoherence, very much like old Bay movies. Some things never change.

From The Archives Issue 387: January 20, 1983
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