The film stars Christian Bale, Emily Watson, and Taye Digs.
Similar in at least a way to the Law Abiding Citizen, the movie suffers from a lot of outlandishness. When I say that the movie was outlandish, that doesn't necessarily have to be taken as an insult. A lot of the time, silly can accomplish a lot of things, especially when it is supplemented with strong acting and directing. Christian Bale is definitely no slouch as a leading man, although, this was at a much earlier time in his career. Before he reached critical acclaim in The Dark Knight Trilogy and American Hustle.
The story follows John Preston, a warrior-priest and enforcement officer that works under a new way of living. Basically, feelings have become outlawed, as well as any form of artistic expression. Citizens are forced to take daily injections of drugs to suppress their emotions. This is all well and dandy for Preston, after all, he doesn't know any better. However, when he accidentally misses a dose, he begins to experience a lot of emotions that make him question his point of being and his own morality.
In-response, he tries to aid the resistance using his own advanced martial-arts that he has been taught.
Even as I write this, I still find myself intrigued by the premise. The idea has absolutely so much potential. It is just an interesting and really cool idea that takes some of the most potent paranoia and makes a world out of it.
There isn't a dreary atmosphere in the way that you saw in something like The Machinist. (I know that they are completely different movies, but I wanted to name a Christian Bale film for some reason.)
It fears more like Batman, ... the Tim Burton one. In that, it has a lot of comic-book depictions of evil. Everybody wears bland dark colors and there's not much color to behold.
I suppose that we'll focus on the negatives about the movie at first. That seems like a different approach to what I usually do. One of the fairest criticisms is that it heavily borrows elements from a lot of other movies. The premise is intriguing, but it has been done other times before. They aren't elements that we haven't already seen. The film also is a silly movie in-general.
For example, there are scenes that poke fun at the way Christian Bale's character seemed almost to be the child of his own son because the apathy stripped him of all his innocence. I like it the way I put it, and even like it in retrospect, but it looked ridiculously cheesy on the screen. The action-scenes are over-the-top and mindless. John Preston can dodge bullets by moving around sporadically.
Other-wise, the characters aren't easy to become immersed in. The high-concepts helps to mask the fact that it doesn't have much in the way of an in-depth story. Lastly, they most certainly don't make as much use out of the story as what could have been done. It actually reminds me of the movie In Time in that sense.
As for positives, if this movie succeeds in sending a message, it's because of the performance of the protagonist. You can see the soft transition from apathy to genuine consideration, and the way that it is portrayed can sometimes be entertaining.
The action-scenes are unrealistic, but they help by attention. It's not like the rest of the movie is mindless. Which might make it seem disproportionate. I'd say that you have to be capable of checking your brain at the door with the action, and putting it back in for the other stuff.
I liked the action-scenes for the most part. They are mostly gun-based, but they moved around freely like it was a form of hand-to-hand combat.
I think the best way to describe this movie is that it is the kind-of movie that you will like more in-retrospect than while watching. In-retrospect, it is a cool idea, but while watching, the ridiculousness is more apparent and you have to endure some of the more tedious moments.
It isn't perfect, but it's not bad.
Rating: Above Average