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I wish the writer had finished the movie he started
David Jones29 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Don't get me wrong; this movie is very well made. It was well acted, shot and directed. I was never bored.

But I started out watching a movie about a hit man who shoots mob victims sent back in time from the future, and knows that his final victim will be his older self. Interesting idea--even if it's not very plausible. But okay, let's just run with it. That's the movie I saw in the trailers, the one I expected to see.

So, when his future self comes back, present-day self hesitates for a moment and future self gets the drop on him and runs off. Now present-day self must hunt down and kill future self. Also interesting.


But then, it's all about a telekinetic farm kid who will one day rule the world with an iron fist. . . er, brain. . . if he isn't stopped.

Huh. . . ? Where the hell did that come from? I know, I know, it's foreshadowed by showing us that 10% of the population has trivial telekinetic powers. They can make coins float above their hands.

But to me, this film starts one story and then switches in mid-stream to a story stemming from a second, unrelated science fiction premise.

While it was refreshing that the movie didn't just turn into a series of action sequences in which JGL tries to kill BW (which would have been a pretty one-sided conflict, admittedly) I found this shift in emphasis to be far more distracting than Joseph Gordon-Levitt's prosthetic nose. Which I never had a problem with.

Anyway, I appear to be the only one bothered by this so just go ahead and enjoy the movie.
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Badly Conceived.
Calvin Evans30 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Looper was enjoyable enough but I really can't understand all the praise. Maybe I expected too much of this film, but I was looking forward to a slick piece of speculative sci-fi that was thought- provoking, realistic and fairly deep. Instead, I got a lazily strung together generic action movie with a splash of time travel and super- powers.

"I don't want to talk time travel sh*t" or something along those lines is commonly used in this film to breeze past any plot holes and presumably stop the narrative become too complex. This irked me as it was one of the main draws in my opinion.

I was very frustrated by the little amount of effort that was put in to creating a futuristic society. Forget the realistic near-future depicted spectacularly in films such as Children of Men. This world is more akin to the recent Dredd 3D film. Shallow and lacking in realism. Personally, I would love to have had more information on the state of government etc as the mobs seemed to be running everything but there really isn't any explanation given to this at all.

The dynamics of time travel in this film are completely unbelievable. The notion that you can chop someone leg or whatever off and their "future self" will lose it is completely absurd. You're clearly creating a brand new entity when you come back in time. Put it this way. If I created a copy of myself from 0.1 seconds ago next to me. Are we going to be magically linked? Probably not. It also presupposes some sort of multi-verse scenario, in which case, Bruce Willis's character shouldn't even exist in that eventuality. I don't want to rant about this too much but I thought of all the ways they could depict time travel. This was one of the worst.

And then there are the superpowers. Come on. Everyone has pretty much agreed biological evolution is basically over for us and it's all about technical augmentation now. The idea that in 33 years we'll be developing telekinesis is laughable to the point where the fact you're meant to accept this is almost offensive.

On top of this, the whole plot in general is very hard to swallow and lacks in verisimilitude. Again, I find myself being forced to accept these absurd scenarios such as the fact that the mob can't dispose of bodies, but can set up secret time machines?? Or that they have to send them 30 years back in time and not just 2 billion years or whatever.

And then there's the 30 year montage. Oh dear lord. I turned to my girlfriend and said. "Man, don't you just hate it when you get old and suddenly you're Bruce Willis". There was actually laughter in the cinema when Levitt morphs into Willis.

All in all, I really wouldn't agree with the reviews saying its clever etc. In my opinion the plot is extremely lazy and is secondary to the action. Which is fine. If you want to watch an action film. One of the main reason's I've even written this view is to counterbalance these reviews raving about this very mediocre film calling it a "masterpiece". I read reviews touting it's cleverness or how it goes to extra lengths to not leave plot holes and I think: am I even watching the same movie here?

Personally, I found myself rather disappointed.
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A disappointing let down from start to finish - caused by bad plot
J Goron6 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
!SPOILER ALERT! Contrary to the trailers, this is NOT a film about time travel. It IS a film about a telekinetic toddler (who is not in the trailers).

If you are expecting this film to be like Blade Runner, Primer or 13 Monkeys, then you may well be VERY disappointed.

Only about 5 minutes of the film seemed to actually involve time travel or Bruce Willis fighting his past self. When the story does attempt to explore these issues it does so embarrassingly badly. Half way through the film the plot changes AWAY from time travel and becomes a film about trying to kill a telekinetic little boy in the current day. A boy who has only a very weak connection to the initial plot about time travel.

This is really two entirely different plots badly mixed in to one. One plot is about time travel. The other plot is about the dangers of toddlers with uncontrollable telekinesis. Unfortunately the film does neither of these plots well, and ends up ruining both.

To make matters worse, the film moves very slowly in certain places. This just gives the audience time to think about how bad the plot it is.

There is virtually no action either - unless you count Bruce Willis's character shooting defenseless toddlers (for which the certificate should surely be more than 15), or needless torture and execution scenes. There is just a lot of running away from people taking badly aimed pot shots. (This happens a lot). Apparently nobody can shoot straight in the future. The only action scene worthy of the name comes in the last 5 minutes where Bruce Willis suddenly turns ninja and takes out ALL the bad guys in about 30 seconds, and then walks off. It's almost as if the writers got to the end of the story and then thought, "Oh yeah - we should probably have Bruce Willis firing some guns or something ..."

This film fails so pathetically to deal with time travel that it is frankly insulting to the audience. They don't give good explanations about why time travel exists, or how it works. Fair enough. There is a certain suspension of disbelief in any time travel movie. However, they DO establish certain rules about time travel during the film, which they then break, re-establish and break again whenever it is convenient for the writers.

Bruce Willis attempts to explain time travel, and give a justification for the writer's itinerant stance on the matter, only to then smash is hands on the table and angrily shout "It doesn't matter!". This makes it clear that the writers didn't even think they were being clever or original. They clearly knew the plot made no sense, and they were just making a pathetic excuse about time travel being "flaky" to justify their random plot lurches and inconsistencies.

The whole premise of a "Looper" was never satisfactorily explained: 1) Why did the mafia boss who supposedly "owned" the city live in a little basement? In his pajamas? 2) "It is almost impossible to get rid of a body in the future, because of tracking ... cough ... something ... cough-cough." So NATURALLY using time travel is the EASIEST of the available options to dispose of a body!? If a body disappears from the future, for example in a furnace, then surely it also disappears from the future in time travel? Same difference. 3) If mafia in the future are the sole owners and users of time travel, then why don't they just use it to take over the world so that they don't need to even worry about disposing of bodies? 4) Why didn't they just send the loopers back already dead when closing a loop, so that there was no possibility of failure? 5) Why did they always get THE SAME looper to close THEIR OWN loop? Asking for trouble. 6) Why even have more than one looper? Surely the job wasn't that strenuous that they needed to take shifts?

They broke their own rules on time travel, and made the ending of the film impossible and irrelevant given the events in the middle: As soon as the younger version shot himself at the end, then he couldn't have lived to meet the woman in China and eventually travel back in time, which means he couldn't have ever caused his past self to meet the rain man, and so the rain man would not be standing there in the corn field. Everything would have reverted back to how it was before - in exactly the same way that it DID DO EARLIER on in the film when he fell off the balcony and died and the bit where Bruce Willis traveled back in time got repeated. The rain man would have grown up and taken over the world in the same way he did before, and Bruce Willis's wife would still be dead.

They never actually explained WHY the first thing the rain man wanted to do was to kill the loopers in the future. Presumably it was because they were the only people who could go back in time and possibly stop him? So why didn't he just kill them with telekinesis like he did the rest of his enemies? Why did he chose to kill them in the ONLY method which would actually give them the opportunity to stop him in the past - namely, by sending them back to the past, alive.

The story never really addressed or capitalized on Bruce Willi's character being evil. This could have been a great angle to really explore, but instead they just washed over it.

This film was a dismal train wreck of ideas with great potential.
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Entertaining but very poor story line.
abuse-this21 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Plenty of reviews here go into detail on this movie but I thought I'd add my two cents.

Before seeing this movie, I saw the plot summary listed by the Media Center TV listings and thought it a pretty lame idea. Bored I turned it on anyway at one point. The acting, the direction, the entertainment factor are all good, but the base plot line stinks.

Why would you have an mob assassin kill his future self and why would you pay him so much better for that hit than others? He just shot his future self, him. He knows that he is going to be murdered by the people for whom he works. Why would he continue or want to work for them? The premise of murder in the future being too difficult to deal with bodies ... just because you can't hide the body doesn't mean people stop killing each other. Either they get caught more often or the number of disappearances reduces and more unsolved murders are on the books. The Mob could still kill people all sorts of ways.

And why send them back 40 years earlier to be killed? Why not send them to the middle of the Atlantic rather than some cornfield. You wouldn't even need the assassin in the early years. Just drop your victims in the middle of the Pacific. Much cheaper and cleaner.

The handling of future self verses younger self is very poorly handled. Everything that happens to the younger self would be in the memory of the older self such as the identity of the Rainmaker and he would never go after child 1 and 2. The rainmaker is supposed to have a plastic jaw from the gunshot at the closing scene. If is jaw had to be replaced, how is it he is still talking?! With young Joe falling for Sara and Cid, why would he ever continue his life to become old Joe in the first place? And how is it these GAT men of 2044 act as almost a police force and so brazenly? Jesse for example carrying a large caliber hand-gun at his waist in a front holster. And why would 2044 be so much easier a place to dispose of bodies than any other, like a war zone or the black plague? Why even transport the back alive? There are far too many problems with the plot of this movie to warrant any sort of rave praise or recognition, but it is somewhat entertaining.
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Terminator meets Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episode 8
Turfseer29 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The near universal critical acclaim for 'Looper' is something I'm having a hard time fathoming. I suppose we haven't seen a great sci-fi thriller in such a long time, that as soon as a mediocre to average flick such as this one comes along, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, practically calling it a masterpiece!

My first problem with 'Looper' is the overall concept. A crime syndicate in the future (2074)wants to dispose of its victims by sending them 30 years back into the past and have them disposed of by hit men, who they pay with bars of silver. Once these hit men (the loopers) live their lives for thirty years, the syndicate decides to dispose of them by sending them back to 2044, where they'll be disposed of, sometimes even by their younger selves.

It's explained that in the future bodies are 'tagged' so by sending them back in time, they cannot be traced. But why can't the syndicate send their victims in the present immediately back to 65 million B.C. where they would probably be immediately eaten by a dinosaur or other prehistoric animal, thus preventing the time-line from being tampered with? And by cutting out the middlemen (i.e. the loopers) in this way, the syndicate can keep all the profits for themselves.

Once we're introduced to the novelty of the how the looper scheme operates, the novelty soon wears off. We see Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) traveling to the cornfield and then performing executions one too many times. Finally, there's a plot twist: fellow looper Seth appears at Joe's apartment, explaining that his 30 year old self from the future appears in the cornfield and he's unable to finish the job. Abe, the enforcer from the future, forces Joe to betray Seth, who's tortured and his alter ego from the future is hunted down. You might ask what this has to do with time travel or science-fiction. Actually nothing--it's simply all action-thriller at this point in time in the script.

Soon, Joe finds himself in the same position as Seth. His 30 year old future self (Bruce Willis) appears but manages to prevent younger Joe from doing him in. In a rather derivative idea borrowed from the 'Terminator' series, Willis must dispose of a child who will one day grow up to be the 'Rainmaker', the sinister figure in the future who is now bent on eliminating all the loopers.

It might have been interesting had we seen what this Rainmaker character looked and acted like in the future, but that never occurs. We're asked to be content with meeting little Cid, our future Rainmaker, who has telekinetic powers coupled with a severe anger management problem. One is immediately reminded of Billy Mumy in the Season 3 Twilight Zone episode, "It's a Good Life", who plays a mutant who terrifies adults by 'wishing them away to the cornfield'. So the second half of 'Looper' feels much more like fantasy-horror than Sci-fi action thriller.

The meeting between the younger and older Joes in the diner is perhaps the most interesting scene in the film as it underscores the contrast between the more impulsive younger self with the more seasoned, experienced older one. Unfortunately, there is hardly any additional interaction between the two altar egos, with older Joe stalking off to blow away Abe and his crew of malevolent meanies. In true Bruce Willis fashion, the aging 'Die Hard' legend, is up to his old tricks, by machine-gunning most of the bad guys, sans Kid Blue, who appears out of nowhere on his flying motorcycle and immediately gets himself killed, instead of Joe, who is his intended target.

If the Looper second half feels a bit slower than the first, that's because director Rian Johnson spends a little too much time out on the farm, with Joe courting Sara (Emily Blunt). Although there's a feeling that we've seen this before, the ending proves to be passable as we finally have something to feel good about. Younger Joe sacrifices himself, preventing older Joe from killing Sara. He does this after he's able to foresee that Cid, growing up as the Rainmaker, will hold a perpetual grudge due to the murder of his mother and will take it out on all of humanity (including all the loopers) in the future.

Unfortunately, Joe's sacrifice, is not enough to make either young Joe or older Joe, likable. Younger Joe, before he takes his own life, is a criminal and a drug addict and older Joe, is responsible for murdering the second child on his list of three potential Rainmakers. In terms of a sympathetic protagonists, there's little to like here at all.

'Looper' is also unable to score points with its look at the dystopian future. One feels that one is simply viewing a second hand set from 'Robocop'--in that film, 'Old Detroit' looks remarkably similar to Looper's Kansas City of 2044 including the grimy 'futuristic' cars and emphasis on vagrancy as a national blight.

The performances in Looper are all acceptable, with an honorable mention going to little Pierce Gagnon as Cid, who manages to handle a number of complicated lines and take direction in a fashion way above his chronological age.

In the end, Looper proves only mildly interesting. While some of the action sequences are entertaining, the sci-fi premise is not developed into something clever enough to deserve all the the accolades that have been heaped upon it to date.
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Very clever, very original and very welcome.
janus-2029 September 2012
I would have thought it doubtful that anyone could have anything new to add to the sci-fi sub category of time travel movies. After watching Looper yesterday, i'm happy to report that Rian Johnson has removed those doubts and given me hope that sci-fi in Hollywood can be more than just empty spectacle.

First off i would say, don't get discouraged from watching the film if you think its going to be too complex or difficult to follow. To follow the story and recognise characters motivations does require a little concentration, but not to the point that you wont enjoy the action beats and other more visceral elements.

The story is well constructed, information and plot points are presented at an entertaining and well judged pace. There are some nice little throw away visual references and metaphors which, if you catch them, add a nice texture to the story and stop it feeling too clinical in its plotting.

The script is tight, hard edged and very dry in its humour, the actors are fantastic. I think its fair to say that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is well on his way to being "one to watch", Bruce Willis pops back to life here, clearly enjoying himself again, (although i wouldn't say this is solely a Bruce Willis movie in that definition).

This is a brilliant movie experience, its an wholly original and entertaining idea, that the writer/director has managed to successfully transpose to film without, it would appear to a layman, pressure or interference from external sources.

No matter how much of a good time you will have watching this film (and you will), Hollywood could stand to learn much more from it.
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Refreshingly original
markdroulston27 September 2012
Sitting here the day after viewing Rian Johnson's Looper, parts of it are still falling in to place. Standing out amongst this years crop of mostly underwhelming sequels and comic book adaptations, Looper thunders onto the screen, showing, much like Inception did two years ago, that there is a place in 2012 for fresh material and just how good it can be when it's done right.

The film tells the story of Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hit-man for an organised crime syndicate tasked with assassinating targets sent from the future. After being confronted with his future self (Bruce Willis) and failing to perform, Young Joe is forced to track down Old Joe and finish the job before being tracked down himself by the nefarious mob led by Abe (Jeff Daniels). However there is much more to the story than the basic premise, and Johnson isn't afraid to keep details close to his chest until later in the film than most movies of this type, so I won't spoil them here.

While certainly paying subtle homage to its predecessors, Looper is a stunningly original sci-fi masterpiece, vastly superior to any of the higher profile action releases this year. While certainly made on a much larger playing field than Johnson's previous work (Brick, The Brothers Bloom), there is still a small-scale, independent feel to the film, and it benefits from clearly staying completely under the control of the young director. Delivering excitement sprinkled with thoughtful themes of personal sacrifice, he offers us much to chew on.

Johnson understands that a successful action film doesn't need an explosion every ten minutes, and allows ample time for developing character and story, something which will likely divide audiences. Looper is very deliberately constructed, and after the highly charged opening establishing the intricate time-travel premise and direction of the plot, Johnson scales back the action almost too much as he ambitiously juggles the many and varied story elements he has created. Thankfully, any weakness in the middle of the film is largely overshadowed as Johnson launches the third act with such ferocity that the stark change of pace leaves you breathless.

Despite the problems in the middle of the film, Looper overcomes its flaws purely by being that rare beast in Hollywood nowadays, the totally original script. Not an adaptation, not a sequel or remake, but a fresh idea from the mind of an immensely talented young film-maker. In a perfect world, Looper would be the game changer it deserves to be, slapping Hollywood studios across the face and announcing that not everything has to be a PG-13 franchise based on a comic book. It's unlikely that this will the case, and it remains to be seen whether or not the film will even be a success, but it's encouraging to see that there are young auteurs at work who are fighting to craft new and exciting stories, even if we only get to see the results every year or two.

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To quote the main character: „It's messy."
haosstoposto1 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This story was written by someone who does not comprehend even the basics of time travel problems and paradoxes. It is a mystery why this chaos received so high grades. The plot in short: mafia from the future sends their assassination targets into the present to be disposed of; in the present there are killers, so called loopers (organized by a sadist from the future) who await their targets and kill them. Before or later, the looper receives a mission to kill his future self. Some of them fail to do so. And then the chase begins. First of all, the premise is pretty stupid, to use such advanced technology for such mundane goal. In the movie they have explained, that in the future it is impossible to get rid of someone without being tracked. It is, as it seems, far easier to build a time machine then to avoid tracking technology from a collapsed society. Then we have a pretty horrifying (and illogical) scene of punishment for a failed looper. His present self is mutilated and his future self loses his limbs one by one. This is wrong, all his wounds have been inflicted in the past so they would appear all at once in the future. And it is unresolved if his present self has been killed or will they keep him alive for the next few decades without his limbs, until he is sent into the present. Then we have our „hero", Joe who escapes his captors in the future, escapes his present looper-self and begins his search for a mysterious future mafia boss, the elusive „Rainmaker", who in the future has killed his wife. Then begins a „Terminator-rip-off". Terminator-Joe from the future does not have exact information about Rainmaker, only his date of birth and he manages to narrow his search to only three kids he will have to kill. He eliminates two targets and of course, his past self protects the real Rainmaker, the fact that it HAS TO BE KNOWN to his future self even before his trip to the past, because it is past, no matter when the audience has find out this. Then the Terminator-Joe eliminates his entire (ex-)gang and there is a showdown between him, his present-self and the Rainmaker-Kid. The situation is resolved when the present Joe kills himself and the Terminator-Joe disappears. Which would set in motion time traveling paradox: Terminator Joe does not exist so he cant be sent into the past and all his actions would be reversed. But no, all his actions in the movie remain. The Rainmaker-kid survives and he will grow up not to be mafia boss but exemplary member of future society. The end. Oh, and this Rainmaker-kid has a Carrie-like telekinetic abilities, which has nothing to do with a plot and is complete superficial. As for the pacing of the movie, it is horrible. We begin with a bang (literary), then a movie comes to a halt and we have an hour or so pure boredom (or character „development"). Then we have a final shoot out. All in all a very bad experience, caused by a fanboy-hype. If you want to see Bruce Willis travel through time, watch „12 Monkeys", a far superior movie in every sense.
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Parenthood and Self-Sacrifice
yernelg27 December 2012
i always approach a film especially when it is classified as scifi with liberal suspension of disbelief. because it is only through that that i was able to appreciate such scifi gems as Stargate and Fifth Element and many other that were otherwise written off by these so-called critics.

Looper is one of those films that should be appreciated by its message more than its genre. it uses the science fiction medium, complete with action stunts and wonders, as an apt and well-sculpted vehicle to a very beautiful message of self-sacrifice and positive reinforcement parenthood. the film goes to extra length to make the story plausible and solid and the actors, including the 'rainmaker' child, did a marvelous job of pulling it off.

i've always believed that the soul of any film, even as i appreciate great plot twists and great special fx and great acting and direction (yeah, i said great too many times!), is the message and/or portrait it intends to get across. Looper made a kill for it.
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Unfortunate this movie is getting so many negative reviews and comments
luckynumchris15 October 2012
I've been reading many reviews and the discussion boards on this site, and after just coming back from enjoying it, I was very disappointing to see so many negative reviews and comments. I'm definitely going to be responding to some comments in the discussion boards from some specific details of the movie, but for now I will just write a review. And a positive review since there is so many haters out there.

Firstly I have to say I am a big fan of sci-fi and specifically time travel. And as a huge fan I can see how since you're doing a movie/story about something that doesn't exist, or something we don't understand, of course there will be some plot holes and always ask, "why didn't he do this" or, "why couldn't they do that" or "he could've just done this" but being a film with only so much time to tell this unique story I think it did a great job with it. It takes a black-noir sort of character and puts him in the year 2044, where time travel hasn't even been invented yet but eventually does and used by only secret criminal organizations. These organizations seem to gather future "trash" and are disposed by loopers who are told to wait at a specific time and wait to pull the trigger. Which so happens to be our protagonist (who suspiciously reminds me of Max Payne). Now the kind of people that are sent back in time to be killed by "loopers" (yes there is more than one), we are given no prior knowledge of who they were or what they have done. What I really enjoyed was the fact of, what they considered is bad? Who deserved to die?

Anyway we are given a few glimpses of how the rest of the city looks in this time and how a first world country in some parts, looks like a third world country in others. People thrive on scraps, constantly stealing from one another and just surviving. While the rich are comfortable and most probably criminals or in some way affiliated with the crime land. Now I know this can be considered very cheap and cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason. It's supposed to show how the world is brought down by it being run by criminal minds. People from the future who come from the past to make the past "better" and how these people are ignored for rich people to think of themselves. Which was the point of the movie, because when you are talking about changing the future, do you want to change the future to make it better for you? Or for the rest of the world? This would make more sense to people who have seen this movie, but for those of you that haven't, I just hope you don't read a lot of these "reviews" and decide not to "waste your money." It talks about time travel, different dimensions and for being a time travel movie leaves very little holes (of course they are some but it's inevitable in a sci-fi).

I can't finish this review without saying how great the cinematography of this film was. At time you could just feel how the character was feeling, when he was giving narrating sections while showing all he did was murder faceless people, over and over. And he actually has plans, and start to care for who he is and what he becomes.

I could probably talk about this movie all day, but I don't want this review to be a novel, so I'll finish it here but my main objective of this review is for people not to miss out on this great movie, as the acting is top notch and at some part comical, with a great new actor who is no older than 10! How the director makes Joseph Levitt's character act like Bruce Willis and either Rian or Joseph does a great job depicting it, it's as if I was listening and watching Bruce Willis most of the film. My biggest complaint was the action sequences when it came to gun play. I found it lazy how everyone shot at Bruce Willis but the bullets flew all around him. There were times he took cover and I guess because his character is just smart enough he knows when to take cover and just shoot because the opponents he's dealing with are clumsy and inexperienced. Anyway small complaint for a very well done film. 9/10 Enjoy!
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