This is another sci fi action movie that I never got around to watching because I figured I already knew the story.
You can get a pretty clear idea of it from the trailer. A hit man who kills future people sent back in time from the mob. Then one day he has to kill himself. Action happens.
What I didn’t expect is how fun and tense it would be, and how… unexpected certain parts of it were, some of it quite disturbing, even.
But there were major things that made no sense to me–time travel nonsense aside.
The big one being… why do they need to send the victims back in time alive? If the point is disposal of the bodies, then just send back a corpse and your problem is solved. You wouldn’t even have to hire anyone to burn or bury them, just have them sent back to the bottom of the ocean or something.
But, I’m not too worried about that because it makes for an interesting story about having to kill your future self. If we worry too much about uses for time machines, we’ll start wondering why any group who had one would bother being a criminal organization at all and wouldn’t just send a volunteer back in time to make billions in the stock market or gambling and put it in a bank account for the group to access in the future– but we could do this all day. It doesn’t matter.
Mostly the movie held together and was really fun and exciting, and had an interesting plot and characters, who for the most part had clear motivations.
The other things that didn’t make sense are Major Spoilers, so skip ahead if you haven’t seen it.
So, one thing introduced early on in the movie is the fact that some people in this future world have a mutation that allows them to control some small objects with their minds, like float a quarter over their palm, or move a lighter around. They are called ‘TK’s’, which I assume is short for telekinetics. This has nothing to do with anything happening in the story, and no character ever uses any TK skills to do anything of consequence.
Until… the very end, when suddenly we are shocked to learn that the future killer man who is currently a little kid has super powers that let him explode people with his mind.
I can’t understand why this is in the movie. When we’re learning about the ‘rain man’ who is closing all the loops by killing the loopers, we never hear about him doing any unexplained things. There is never any suggestion of him being anything more than human, or doing any impossible acts. The only thing we hear from future Joe is that ‘he saw his mom killed and has a prosthetic jaw’ which nicely foreshadows the events of the climax. But this telekinetic stuff? The only hint we have of that is the quick mention of it at the start of the movie that relates to nothing.
It’s my opinion that in the original script–and maybe even an early version of the movie–the ‘rain man’ was just a normal guy, maybe still a super genius like the kid was, but not superhuman. Then some producer said ‘hmm, are people going to understand why this person is dangerous? Give him super powers or something!” So they had to shoehorn in this TK nonsense.
If they really wanted to include it in the movie wholeheartedly, then Joe should have been a TK. Then he could have used his powers to help him kill people, which would have lent a bit of believability to the ending action sequence where he KILLS EVERYONE somehow. As it is, he’s a retired ex-drug addict who’s been out of the killing business for at least a decade, judging by the timeline, yet somehow he’s a super powered terminator machine.
But it’s a fun action movie, so whatever.
And finally, the other major thing that makes no sense is him killing himself in the end because he wants to… what? Protect a future that he doesn’t care about? He was perfectly willing to kill his older self and spend the rest of his days living in the now. Old Joe is the one who cared about the future, cared about what had happened to his wife and wanted to change things. Young Joe wanted everything to go back to normal. Up until the very end his motivation is to kill Old Joe so he can get his life back. It never, that I can tell, becomes a want to protect the kid or some wish to make the world a better place. That kind of idealism is never shown as being a part of the character. And even if he WAS interested in saving the future, what a crazy amount of trust must he have in a woman he just met, to think that the sole act of preventing her death would magically fix everything.
But I guess it was a neat way for the movie to tie things up without having to kill a child.
Despite some head shaking and wol’ing (saying What?? out loud) this movie was really rather enjoyable, and kept my attention the whole time. I thought the acting was very good–Willis and Gordon-Levitt did a great job of matching each other’s mannerisms, and were a believable pair. Emily Blunt was also really great, as well as all the bit players.
Over all this was a really entertaining movie, and I’d recommend it to any sci fi fans, or anyone who just wants a fast paced action movie.