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A disappointing let down from start to finish - caused by bad plot
!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.