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A movie directed by Michael Bay

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  • Jan 21, 2009


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 with its sheer entertainment value.

The Island? 

The Island isn't at all original and the story is dangerously similar to other science fiction films like THX 1138, Soylent Green, Logan's Run, and even The Clonus Horror to a certain degree. But despite the film's lack of originality and the many, many plotholes in the screenplay, which was written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, The Island manages to be a great escapist thriller.



Lincoln Six Echo lives in a world different from our own. Lead to believe that a catastrophic event caused the annihilation of much of the Earth's population, Lincoln Six Echo and the society of other survivors live in a contaminate-free zone. Here they are constantly being monitored and scanned to ensure that all survivors are healthy. But something isn't right and Lincoln can't quite figure out what it is. Unlike his friends, he is dissatisfied with his plight and he is burdened with questions and an overwhelming curiosity.

Every day a lottery is held and the winner is sent to "The Island", a paradise on Earth, where humanity can repopulate. When Jordan Two Delta, Lincoln's best friend, wins the lottery he is happy for her but also saddened by her upcoming departure. Then everything changes when Lincoln discovers that there is no Island and that lottery winners are killed. Lincoln and Jordan escape from what turns out to be an underground compound. They learn from a technician named McCord that there was no global contamination and that the "survivors" are actually nothing more than clones created to serve as organ donors for the rich and the famous. Going on the run together, Lincoln and Jordan attempt to find their real world counterparts. Meanwhile, Albert Laurent, a bounty hunter hired by Merrick, the inventor of the cloning procedure, pursues them. But can Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta survive and set the other clones free?


Running for their lives...

The film stars Ewan McGregor as Lincoln Six Echo / Tom Lincoln, Scarlett Johansson as Jordan Two Delta / Sarah Jordan, Djimon Hounsou as Albert Laurent, Steve Buscemi as McCord, Michael Clarke Duncan as Starkweather Two Delta, and Sean Bean as Merrick. For the most part, the cast is quite good, though Scarlett Johansson's performance is rather whiny and she appears to be breathless most of the time (probably due to her smoking habit). Ewan McGregor is terrific as both Lincoln Six Echo and Tom Lincoln; giving the two characters separate identities while displaying their shared personality traits. Steve Buscemi is hilarious as the lovable lowlife McCord, though he has little screen time. Also giving a top-notch performance is Sean Bean, who is simultaneously charming and maniacal as Merrick. Rounding out the cast is Djimon Hounsou, who gives a fine performance despite the fact that his character lacks much of the complexity and nuance that his typical roles possess.

Is there any hope?

As is often the case with Michael Bay's films, viewers can expect an abundance of beautiful visual effects, exciting chases, and the usual explosions of course. Yet unlike most of Michael Bay's films, The Island has a real heart at its core giving the film a more humanistic quality that we're used to seeing in special effects extravaganzas.

A sexy, naughty clone!
Running for Their Lives The Island? Sexy, Naughty Clone! Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson

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October 13, 2010
I actually really like this flick, dropping a review of this myself. Great review.
February 03, 2009
Hmmm. Another good review for a film that was generally reviled. I'd put more stock in your opinion. Suppose this goes on the check it out list.
January 26, 2009
Wasn't that called The Beach? Never saw it, but it had a great soundtrack. How was it hypocritical? As for Buscemi, he and Michael Bay have been close friends since Armageddon. Don't ask me why.
January 23, 2009
I saw this film when it came out in theaters because a friend of mine is a big fan of Scarlet. Michael Bay is a great action director but he is definitely lacking in the art of storytelling. I can't deny that his films easily connect with mainstream audiences though. nice review.
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 …
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 …
review by . December 26, 2005
I wasn't very sure if I wanted to see "The Island" when it first came out. Sure, it looked like a really cool action yarn, but something about it was holding me back. Well, I finally got up the courage to check this film out and I have to admit that it was a rather good movie. Directed by Michael Bay, who's directed such action fare as "Armageddon" and "The Rock," the viewer is insured that there will be plenty of explosions and gunplay.    The story is rather compelling. In …
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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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