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March 3, 2021
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NEXT
(2007-06-08)
(wgvu) - Next is yet another nail in the career coffin of Nicholas Cage. Next is also an abomination on so many levels, but I'll tell you the real up close up personal one first: it is yet another adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story that takes a kernel of an idea, and leaves out the rest. This has been done over and over, from Screamers to Total Recall,to Imposter , to Minority Report, to Paycheck, and now this thing. Only Blade Runner, based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and last year's A Scanner Darkly, have bothered to genuinely adapt the brilliant stories or novels of PKD, a science fiction cult writer of mighty status. Next is based on The Golden Man, and the only aspect of that story is the central idea, of a person who can see two minutes into the future. In the original story, which was published in 1954 in IF magazine, the character isn't even a human, he's a mutant. The producers of the movie obviously only optioned the story to swipe the main idea and use it for their action fodder. Nick Cage is one of the producers, and his cavalier sin doesn't bode well for his karma, or reputation.

Next begins in Las Vegas, which is too bad, because it might remind you of Leaving Las Vegas, the film that won Nicholas Cage an Oscar, you know, back when he was a really good actor. Cage plays Cris Johnson, a sad sack magician who uses his two minute power to play to drinkers and gamblers at a casino. He spends his off time with small time gambling, again using that two minute thingy. But he calls attention to himself after foiling a would-be robber, and ends up in a high speed car chase, one of a gazillion in the movie. (clip) Along with casino authorities and the local police, the FBI are hunting Johnson. Julianne Moore, who better get herself into another good movie fairly quickly to erase the stain of Next, plays a hard-nosed, grim jawed FBI agent. Now I personally dig redheads with guns (in the movies at least) but Moore, who plays Agent Farris, chomps through her role with unimaginative dramatic flair. Johnson evades the FBI with the assistance of a statuesque beauty with golden locks played by Jessica Biel, who is Liz Cooper. In this diner scene Johnson uses his powers to foresee various reactions from Cooper after he makes a pass. (clip) Cooper and Johnson flee to New Mexico, with the FBI on their trail. That's because a rogue Soviet nuclear bomb is in America in the possession of terrorists, and they want to use Johnson to figure out where before it goes off. Eventually Johnson is nabbed and they rack him up against his will. (clip) The terrorists are also out to get Johnson, and soon he has to make a choice between freedom, death or helping out the good guys. Next is a stinking turkey, and probably won't be in theaters long. If you're a Cage fan, or a long suffering PKD fan, and just have to see it, well, you've been warned.
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