The Island

Directed by Michael Bay

> > Feb 2006

The Island - Directed by Michael Bay
By Joshua OstroffMuch to Michael Bay's embarrassment, his blockbuster-directing career was both immortalised and emasculated by the singing puppets of Team America: World Police ("I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark when he made Pearl Harbor… Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?"). So the ex-video director decided to do a film that amounted to more than the mere action-stravagnzas he's been pumping out since Bad Boys, Armageddon and The Rock brought home about a billion dollars worth of bacon. The concept is pretty awesome, albeit apparently swiped from '70s cheapie flick Clonus. Survivors of an environmental holocaust live in an antiseptic underground shelter working away their days in hopes of winning a lottery that'll transport them to the last habitable place on earth, the titular Island. The spoiler is that they're actually white-clad clones being "grown" for organ harvesting and the island is really the operating table. As escaped clones Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two-Delta, Ewan McGregor and Scarlet Johansson do fine, if unremarkable, work. But Bay still screws it up by turning almost the entire enterprise into an overlong chase sequence. Who needs to actually explore the muddy ethics of genetic engineering when you've got whiz-bang explosions? This surface treatment is made worse by Bay's cribbing of visual and plot cues from the sci-fi vault (especially George Lucas's THX-118, Gattaca and Logan's Run). Having deservedly flopped, Bay will likely take this as a sign that he should once again lower his cinematic IQ without realising he never bothered to raise it in the first place. The extras are as superficial as the movie, with an in-denial commentary (Bay blames the film's failure on poor promotion) and a fairly impressive 15-minute featurette on the action sequences. (Dreamworks/Universal)
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