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A movie directed by Michael Bay

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The Island Sinks due to the sum of borrowed parts.

  • Jul 22, 2005
  • by
Pros: Good Leads and Premise.

Cons: Action sequences are not needed.

The Bottom Line: Has its moments, but does not meet the potential it shows early.

In a clean, white, and antiseptic society, a man has begun to question his existence and the very nature of his world. The man is Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan Mc Gregor), who lives day to day with the notion that he is one of the few survivors of a world wide contamination that has decimated much of the population of the world and forces the few remaining survivors to live underground in a high tech community.
In a world where schedule, diet, and activities are closely monitored, Lincoln begins to wonder if there is something more to life. He like all of the other residents are told that the only remaining location that is habitable is a place called “The Island” and that their turn to win gain access via a lottery is coming.
The one bright spot in Lincoln’s life is his friendships especially with Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johannsson), who has grown close to him, even though physical contact is forbidden in their society.
Lincoln confesses his confusion over his life to Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean), one of the staff members who watch over Lincoln and the other members of the community. His dreams are of interest to the Dr. as well as his belief that there is more to life. Merrick attempt to address his concerns by letting Lincoln know that he is lucky to be alive as there were so few survivors and that in the mid 21st Century, their community and The Island are the only habitable areas left.
When a few chance discoveries lead Lincoln to ask even more questions about his existence, he begins to search in secret for the answers that he knows are out there. During the course of his exploration, Lincoln makes a shocking discovery that makes him realize that everything he has ever been told has been a lie and that he and his follow community members are in great danger. Further complicating the matter is the news that Jordan has one of the lottery as is about to leave for the Island.
Before long, Jordan and Lincoln are fleeing the community in fear for their lives and in a desperate race to find the truth. Along the way they are aided by a sympathetic worker from the community, Mc Cord (Steve Buscemi), who tells them the true nature of their community and their place in life.
Hot on the trail of Jordan and Lincoln is a team of operatives lead by Albert Laurent (Djimon Honsou), who are ordered to return the pair at any price as they represent a threat of enormous cost and potential should their secrets get out to the world.
It is at this point that the films shifts direction form a captivating thriller and becomes a typical summer action film complete with over the top chase sequences, gapes in logic, one liners, and explosions. One such chase had a truck continuing on despite an unbelievable amount of carnage erupting around it. I had thought that the truck might have been automated, but this fact is left out as the audience is apparently not supposed to think and ask questions.
The two leads work well with one another though Johannsson is not given much to do aside from running around and looking pretty. The biggest issue is that Director Michael Bay seems unable to stay with what works so well in this film and that is the story and the two leads. There is not a need for the constant barrage of explosions and action in the film as much of it seems tacked on and unnecessary. The film is supposed to be a thriller and when it is sticking to those aspects as it does for the first half of the film, it works very well. There are a few moments towards the conclusion where the thriller aspect is attempted, but no sooner than a foundation is laid, than it is destroyed in another explosion.
In many ways, “The Island” is two films. One film is a solid thriller which uses elements of the best parts of “Logan’s Run”, “THX 1138”, and “Parts a Clonus Horror”, and features a nice Twilight Zone esque twist.
The second part of the film is a mindless chase and action film that conflicts with the tone and nature of the story which had been well established. For that reason, the solid start of the film is wasted by the constant barrage of action which is sad as the film had a lot going for it.
As it stands, “The Island” is simply a sum of its two parts, one good one bad, which results in a simply ok film.
3 stars out of 5
Gareth Von Kallenbach


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More The Island reviews
review by . October 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      THE ISLAND      I don't know but I kinda like Michael Bay, at least the man knows how to deliver on the action even though he is not known for great story telling. But I think he is a pretty good director and he hires Steve Buscemi [probably my favorite actor] a lot so at least he can recognize talented actors. But regardless of the over all assumption that he can't really tell a story I would say to those people to check out this flick right …
review by . January 21, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Running for Their Lives
  WARNING: This review may contain spoilers!   2005 was a year of Box Office disappointments, a year when many good films were overlooked. One such film is The Island, an intriguing science fiction/action film that should have been a mega-hit, but wasn't. The Island was directed by Michael Bay (Bad Boys and Armageddon), a filmmaker for whom I have very little respect mainly because of his habit of emphasizing action at the expense of story and characterization. Yet this film won me over …
Quick Tip by . November 23, 2009
The 1st hour of THE ISLAND is inspired filmmaking. But once our heroes leave the Island, you'll wish they'd never left.
review by . March 21, 2009
I have seen Star Wars III, Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, and The Fantastic Four. While all those movies were excellent, The Island outshines them all. Scarlett Johansen and Euwene MacGregor are excellent as clones who have lived in an enclosed city with the promise of an ultimate trip to "The Island." This is supposed to be the ultimate reward for their service and those that get chosen to go, do so via a lottery.     MacGregor starts to get haunted by a dream where he is …
review by . June 30, 2007
One of the great untold tragedies of the 20th century was the prevalence of medical testing on unwitting subjects. Some Americans have probably heard of the Tuskegee airmen, black American servicemen who became unwitting test subjects for medical experiments. But how many people are aware of the medical testing performed on ignorant prisoners, on poor people on various Caribbean islands, or the large-scale testing of vaccines on African villagers throughout the latter half of the 20th century. The …
review by . March 06, 2007
I had the opportunity to watch this film the other day and though it was okay. I've took it as another movie that has something desperately to say along with a long line of other frustrating Hollywood thrillers. There are a number of things that is good here but the bad brings down the entire experience. The underlying problem with this movie is Michael Bay. He has missed the mark yet again. The Island starts out as an engaging, entertaining Sci-Fi film. Then, about halfway through, it gets Bayified. …
review by . March 27, 2006
I don't know what took me so long to watch this movie, well yes I do the shaky reviews and the fact that it's a longer movie ( over two hours) but I'm very glad I did! I felt like I didn't want to write a review, since so many people before me have explained it so well, yet I felt like I wanted to show my love and support for the enjoyment it brought me and everyone else who saw it with me.    I loved how the characters did things that you wanted them to do; they reasoned, they …
review by . February 18, 2006
I wonder if Michale Bay has ever heard the phrase, "more is not always better"? "The Island" is defintely a case-in-point.... More/longer chase scenes... more mini-climaxes (I thought the movie was ending 30 minutes prior to the actual ending)!     Don't get me wrong, "The Island" is not a terrible movie - it just isn't great. In fact, I knew that I had to write the review immediately or I would forget about it- it is that forgettable.    I am also a little …
review by . January 21, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Explosions, Steve Buscemi     Cons: EVERYTHING ELSE     The Bottom Line: Just don't waste the time, money, or effort at loading the DVD player; spend those few calories scratching.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. Let’s see.      1 cup THX 1138   1 cup The Matrix semi-clarified (skim it but do not remove all confusion)   ½ cup The Running Man   …
review by . January 03, 2006
Pros: Good script, action and acting.     Cons: Perhaps a little too much violence.     The Bottom Line: The Island is a great movie to loose yourself in because there is not a lot of mind-strain involved, which makes the film perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. I have a growing fascination, bordering on infatuation, with Scarlett Johansson. And no it’s …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #37
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


When you add up all the best things aboutThe Island, you might just conclude that there's hope yet for Hollywood's most critically reviled hit-maker, Michael Bay. Recruited by Steven Spielberg to direct this lavish and often breathtaking sci-fi action thriller, Bay rises to the occasion with an ambitious production that is, by his standards (and compared to Bay's earlier hits likeThe RockandArmageddon), surprisingly intelligent as it explores the repercussions of cloning in a sealed-off society where humans are cultivated for spare parts, surrogate parenthood, and full-body replacements for wealthy clientele. But when two of the clones (Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johanssen) begin to question their fate and the motives of their keepers, they escape into the real world andThe Islandbecomes just another Michael Bay action extravaganza, albeit an impressively exciting one. With elaborate chase scenes and a high-tech feast of CGI to dazzle the eye,The Islandrecycles much of the plot from 1979'sClonuswhile borrowing elements fromLogan's Run,GattacaandMinority Report, and while it's not as smartly conceived as those earlier films, there's no denying that, in many ways, it's Bay's best film to date.--Jeff Shannon
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