Source Code (2011)
My Synopsis: it's RoboCop, no, wait, it's Time Cop, ummm, no, more like Total Recall! That's not it either. It's Donnie Darko, older, with more facial hair, time traveling to find the terrorist on a train, save the world, and mess with he space time continuum.
Why do I always subject myself to Jake Gyllenhaal movies? Probably for the same reason I always end up watching Shyamalan disasters. I just keep hoping all the hype is for real! Or I'm truly sadomasochistic and have to have the torture. Ok, so he wasn't that bad in this movie. But he'll never be as good as he was in Donnie Darko. But that's another movie entirely. This movie we have all seen at some point. It's like Speed and Time Cop combined. Seriously.
Or Quantum Leap, yeah. And there's a real good reason I think that is the best comparison. The entire premise of the film is based on Gyllenhaal's character traveling back in time and inhabiting another persons body. In this scenario he arrives 8 minutes before a terrorist bomb is to blow up a commuter train his host is on. His mission is to find the terrorist though, not fix things and make them right so everyone lives happily ever after as he leaps on to another host of problems. Of course he makes that his mission eventually after realizing the real him is just a brain left over from a helicopter crash. He even sort of has a Al, though he isn't a wise cracking hologram but rather a female military computer tech whose job it is to monitor his progress and seems to get the bots for him... Er... His brain (interesting play on the that whole 'love him for his brain' thing) Another difference is this point of time is written, everyone dies, Jake's only job is to find out who the terrorist is so the brains with bodies can hunt him down before he strikes again. Unfortunately for Jake he does only have 8 minutes, but he gets plenty of retries so we get to see different scenarios in which the central characters interact and blow up. A little Groundhog Day to keep us interested.
Interwoven in this tale is, of course, the ambitious scientist who developed the technology, or source code, that makes all this possible. That is the only the technology is explained by the way. It is a merely a source code that only currently works with with Sam... Er... Jake's unique brain. The unfeeling scientist only cares for this mission to be successful so that his careers advances. I don't think I have ever hears the title of a movie mentioned so often in the film as I did coming from this guy and I still don't know what the source code is, only what it does. I've already told you by the way and it will be at least 5 more minutes before I tell you again.
Also Jake obviously has to fall in love with the female lead. This gives him the motivation to actually try and change the known future.
When asked what I thought of this movie, by a TV news anchor looking for a.film to see on her Friday night off, my answer was simply " it wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible." Which was apparently a perfectly good answer to her. As for you, dear readers, I was sure you expected more. Thus I would further that statement with "it's an interesting, familiar story with predictable outcomes, social commentary, and paradoxical boundary breaking." There were even some cool effects. But I usually find Gyllenhaal pretty bland as an actor so the story just felt like an old shoe that wasn't getting any new tread. Oh, but I'm almost positive the writer and director were well aware of it's comparison to Quantum Leap (as far as I know I am the first to make this correlation by the way). This is made apparent by the fact that the voice of his father on the phone was none other than Scott Bacula aka Dr. Sam Becket.
I don't want to ruin the movie for you since I didn't say it was horrible and I only ruin horrible movies. Plus I've kind of changed the way I approach these reviews by not tipping my hand to early as to what my opinion is and I think they may even be getting shorter. I've seen so many movies lately but it's hard to do a timely review win the schedule so I guess I've mellowed out some on my opinions. Trust me though, if I find a movie I feel passionate about (be it good or bad) I will not hesitate to get long winded. What I will say about the ending is Time Cop. I've probably ruined the whole movie for you now. You're welcome.
Farewell for now,