Next (2007)

Next (2007)
  • Time: 96 min
  • Genre: Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Director: Lee Tamahori
  • Cast: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel


Las Vegas showroom magician Cris Johnson has a secret which torments him: he can see a few minutes into the future. Sick of the examinations he underwent as a child and the interest of the government and medical establishment in his power, he lies low under an assumed name in Vegas, performing cheap tricks and living off small-time gambling “winnings.” But when a terrorist group threatens to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles, government agent Callie Ferris must use all her wiles to capture Cris and convince him to help her stop the cataclysm.

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  • Based on a story by Phillip K. Dick (probably the most frequently adapted writer of the past thirty years), “Next” starts off with what would appear to be a can’t-miss, sure-fire premise. In yet another in what is fast becoming a long string of unchallenging roles, Nicolas Cage plays Cris Johnson, a Vegas magician with the uncanny ability to see two minutes into his own future. So far, he’s used this talent only as a part of his stage act and as a means of beating the house at gambling when he heads to the local casinos. But now he’s being asked by the FBI to employ his unique skill in helping to thwart a terrorist plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in downtown Los Angeles. Cris, however, wants nothing whatsoever to do with saving the world (for reasons that are never made entirely convincing for the audience), so he’s off and running through the greater Southwest with both the feds and the bad guys in hot pursuit.

    “Next” might have been an interesting movie had the writers found a way to really make the time-bending premise believable and compelling instead of just using it as an excuse to get everybody zipping around in fast-moving cars. In addition, under Lee Tamahori’s directorial aegis and with a screenplay concocted by no fewer than three (!) paid writers, we’re treated to cardboard villains with sinister accents, chintzy production values and special effects, incoherently executed gun battle scenes, plot holes one can drive a mack truck through, and a plethora of predictable man-on-the-run, action movie clich├ęs. Even on a plot level, this gimmicky movie rarely plays fair with its audience, having Cris perform amazing feats that have little or nothing to do with his ability to read the future. Then, in a final act of disrespect, the filmmakers tack on one of those ridiculous we-were-just-kidding-folks endings that is enough to turn a person off movies forever.

    In addition to Cage, the movie wastes the considerable talents of Julianne Moore, in yet another of her hysterical, over-the-top law enforcer roles (when is she planning on appearing in a good movie again?), and Jessica Biel, who is at least appealing as the unsuspecting girl Cris drags along on his utterly pointless tri-state spree.

    “Next” proves that, even for Nicholas Cage – who has hitherto done pretty well for himself with movies set in Sin City (“Leaving Las Vegas,” “Honeymoon in Vegas”) – Lady Luck won’t always be smiling.

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