Looper (2012)


It’s Going to Happen to YOU, It’s Not Going to Happen to ME!

Looper (2012)When I originally heard about today’s movie, I had exactly zero intention of watching it.  It reminded me of the movie Premium Rush in more ways than just sharing a main actor.  It also just seemed like a super basic action movie that really had nothing to set itself apart from any other random action movie I could choose to watch instead.  But, as my end of the year review was coming up, my friend Greg told me that this movie would probably have to be his movie of the year, even after we had both just seen Django Unchained, which ended up making third on my list.  I decided that I had to see it, and was actually able to accomplish that before the year ended, it just still didn’t make my list in any capacity.  And, since it didn’t make top or bottom of 2012, what level of mediocrity did this movie attain?  We’ll find out as I review Looper, written and directed by Rian Johnson, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Pierce Gagnon, Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan, Xu Qing, Paul Dano, and Piper Perabo.

In 2044, Joseph Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works for the mafia as a “looper.”  With Minority Report going on, the only way to kill someone is to have them sent through time with silver strapped to their backs to be killed and disposed of by Loopers so that no one would notice, since they weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.  The only caveat is that their contract will eventually end as well.  They know that their contract is at an end when the older version of themselves is sent back with gold strapped to their backs to be killed by the younger version of themselves.  When this happens, they are no longer Loopers and live with this gold until someone takes them and sends them back to the point when they kill themselves.  But this creates a lot of problems if the Looper fails to kill themselves, as Joseph finds out when his friend Seth (Paul Dano) fails to close his own loop, leaving the mob boss Abe (Jeff Daniels) to have to take care of the situation in a brutal way.  That doesn’t really help Joseph learn from his mistakes though because Old Joe (Bruce Willis) gets sent back and knocks young Joseph out.  Joseph has to fix the problem before Abe takes it into his own hands.

This movie was pretty fantastic.  It wasn’t quite able to make its way into my top list of 2012, but it was not far off.  The surface of the movie feels like a pretty standard action movie, but the science fiction stuff compounded with the time travel stuff makes this movie have a lot more going on under the surface than I would’ve expected.  Time travel always tends to leave a lot of plot holes in a movie, but I felt like this one was handled so deftly that I didn’t notice any plot holes at all.  I’m not saying they weren’t there, but I was so riveted by the story that I wasn’t bored enough to pay attention to trying to find any.  And parts of it were just shocking.  Like what Bruce Willis sets to doing when he gets loose back in time and decides he needs to stop the Rainmaker.  I couldn’t believe they went there.  The story actually has a lot of surprises in it, all the way up to – and including – the end of the movie.  The situation did make me laugh a little bit just because it seems the character Joe would fall in love with anybody as long as they helped him recover from his addiction.  Old Joe fell in love with the Asian lady because she helped him out with that, and Joseph falls in love with Emily Blunt because she helped him through his withdrawals.  Thank God Joe never met Dr. Drew.  That could’ve turned out weird.

The effects and action in the movie were all solid.  The look of the future was never over the top like Back to the Future Part 2 makes it look like it will be in 2 years, but they had enough going on that it didn’t seem exactly contemporary.  The most futuristic thing was probably those jet motorcycles they used.  Those seemed almost over the top, and also sounded like the land speeders from Star Wars.  There were parts where they looked a little goofy, but never enough to take me out of the movie.

The performances in the movie were all pretty great, but none of them ever really did much to give me cause to talk about them.  I heard a lot of talk about Joseph Gordon-Levitt and how he did such an amazing job becoming Bruce Willis, but I didn’t really notice that.  He did a good job in the movie, but he actually felt more like DeNiro than Willis to me.  I also heard a lot about how good the kid, Pierce Gagnon, did in the movie.  That one I totally agree with.  That kid was pretty crazy.

My expectations for Looper went from complete disinterest because of the trailers to expecting a lot because of the opinions of my friends.  In the end, Looper ended up being a fantastic movie that far exceeded my original expectations while not quite making it to the point where they met up with the hyperbole my friends used.  The story was fantastic and surprising, the action and visuals worked really well, and the performances were all completely solid.  I can understand not completely trusting this movie enough to purchase it straight away, but I imagine any rental of it stands a good chance of leading to a purchase.  Check this movie out.  Looper gets “I’m from the future.  You should go to China” out of “This time travel crap, just fries your brain like an egg…”

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2 responses to “Looper (2012)

  1. Good review Robert. The plot makes perfect sense even if it may seem a bit confusing at first, and the suspense draws you in but something just did not mix so well in the end. I didn’t really care all that much for the characters and that’s sort of why the pay-off didn’t do much for me.

    • The easiest way to take care of the problem of time-travel is the scene in the diner with the Joe’s: “We don’t have time to talk about this!” It’s like MST3K. “If you’re wondering how they eat and breathe, and other science facts, just repeat to yourself it’s just a show and should really just relax.” Then you can move on with your story. You’re right about the characters, though. Neither Joe was someone I would root for.

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