The Island is a sci-fi action thriller staring Ewan McGregor and the stunning Scarlett Johansson. The story revolves around ‘Lincoln Six Echo’ (McGregor) who with friend ‘Jordan Two Delta’ (Johansson), residents of a utopian society which is seemingly home to remaining survivors of a contamination outbreak that wiped out the rest of the world’s population.
Whilst their recovery has reversed their mental age, what keeps them going is the hope that one day, they will win ‘the lottery’ and be selected to live on ‘The Island’ – the last inhabitable place on earth, where they will help re-colonise the planet. It soon transpires that something more sinister is at play under the control of Doctor Merrick (played by an increasingly typecast Sean Bean).
When we join Lincoln he is already starting to question his existence, has become friends with a (human) engineer (played by the excellent Steve Busemi) and finds his friendship with Jordan becoming increasingly more intimate. Upon discovering what really happens to those who are sent to the Island, he escapes, rescuing Jordan in the process.
It’s at this point the action starts, one car/bike/truck chase after another. Whilst the effects are effective, these relentless chases start to bore. Whilst involved in car accidents, shootings and falls from 200 storey office blocks, both remain remarkable unscathed.
What really started to annoy me though was the relentless brand placement, alongside the usual product placement (i.e. the Nokia phones, the GM motorcars etc.)
Every so often the film would stop to promote a Microsoft brand – be it an Xbox sponsored virtual fighting sequence or a heavily branded MSN Search internet kiosk. To top it all of, to tell the world about the island they need to visit MSNBC. And why not.
In typical Michael Bays style, this film promises much, but delivers little. Much like Pearl harbour, the film drags on far too long (136 minutes), whilst managing to gloss over the more challenging aspects of the movies central themes, instead ploughing head first into the action sequences at every turn. What saves the film is its casting – Busemi and McGregor stand out.
Overall, an average film ruined by all too visible sponsorship.