I am not, as a general rule, a huge fan of movie remakes. Now and again, however, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. When I went to see it, I expected it to be a simple action flick. Lots of shooting, some explosions, and robots and bad guys getting mowed down left and right. What I didn’t expect was a surprisingly deep (for Hollywood) action movie with political and ethical questions.
Without giving too much away, let me say this: the movie has a rather murky and mixed message. In some aspects, actors come across as almost caricatures and in others, you might feel almost like you’re being preached to… but you aren’t really sure what the message is supposed to be. At the same time, there are moments in the movie where I was nodding my head at a reveal… or chuckling at a bit of satire. The politics of security versus freedom was touched upon. There was a good bit of character growth for a doctor, which I found interesting, while he fought between his ambition and his medical ethics. There was also some decent discussion of the ethics of using automated weapons on American citizens… Messages were there, but they were sometimes open ended, almost as if the director or actors didn’t want to agree with the conclusion.
As far as the action itself… by and large it was impressive. There were some excellent firefights… if you could get past the ‘shaky cam.’ I don’t know about most viewers, but I don’t like leaving the theater feeling dizzy. There were a couple of scenes where it was literally too much, where my brain just kind of went into shut-down because there was strobing lights, dark backgrounds, and a shaking, spinning camera. To top it off, even the the moments where the main character was literally getting pounded, it was hard to have any dramatic tension… I mean, the moment of drama was solved before we really had any anticipation of danger. There wasn’t enough build-up, I suppose.
The movie looked good, though. And despite the nausea inducing shaky-cam, it was mostly fun. In my opinion, it was a better movie than the original, which is a good thing.