Ror Reviews: LOOPER

Looper has been getting a lot of rave reviews, but are they warranted? Read on to find out what I thought of Rian Johnson's time travel flick starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt. Some mild spoilers ahead..

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By Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy - 9/30/2012
Sci-fi in general is a tricky genre to get right, but add in time travel and it gets even trickier. One of the main reasons so many of these type of movies fail is that they make things so complicated that they end up bending - or breaking completely- their own rules, and when that happens it just takes you out of the movie, no matter how much balletic gunplay is on display. Thankfully writer/director Rian Johnson knows this, and although the film is not without a few surprises, the focus is squarely on telling a pretty simple story, but doing it very, very well.



If you've seen the trailers then you know the premise. In the future, hitmen known as "loopers" dispose of targets sent back from even further in the future when time travel has been invented. They are well paid, but accept the job knowing that one day they will have to "close the loop", and eliminate the older versions of themselves, sent back as a target from the future. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) find himself in a bit of a predicament when his future self (Bruce Willis) zaps back with no intention of dying quietly. That's how it starts, but where it goes from there will most likely surprise you. As I said, things are kept relatively simple, but at the same time the story does not unfold in a conventional way at all. Expecting both Joes to team up to take down the "bad guys"? Not here. Aside from its unpredictability, another major upside to Looper is its refusal to pander or insult its audience's intelligence, and from one perspective, they are the bad guys.

The two leads are on top form here. Levitt subtly apes some of Wills' mannerisms and voice, without ever coming across like he's just doing an impersonation of him. And although his facial prosthetics look a bit rubbery and unrealistic at first, you do get used to them. He makes young Joe an anti-hero we can root for, but never too sympathetic either. Likewise the older version. Willis hasn't showed this much range in quite a while, probably not since 12 Monkeys which Looper has a few things in common with. Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano also offer fine support.

The action scenes are, for the most part, brilliantly handled and exciting. My only gripes were a few "oh just fucking shoot him" moments (for a bunch of professional killers, these guys can be lousy shots), but it never really hinders the tension too much. Director Rian Johnson also, thankfully, doesn't resort to any slow-mo gun battles - everything is quick, impactful and brutal. The dramatic elements work, and there are even a few laugh-out-loud zingers in the razor sharp script too. Without giving too much away, one of the best things about the film for me was the ending. No sequel bait here - a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an end, and that's that.

Looper may not be a "game changer", but not everything needs to be. It's still one of the best sci-fi movies we have had in a very long time. Trust me, Rian Johnson is going to be at the top of everyone's CBM director wish-lists after this.











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28 Comments
DioFoRio - 9/30/2012, 1:56 PM
didn't read. Looked at the stars and getting excited to see it!.....Will read later
GLprime2814 - 9/30/2012, 1:56 PM
A real good movie, something different.
DioFoRio - 9/30/2012, 1:57 PM
I just want to see a solid story with thought out time travel and I will be satisfied.
vanillabear - 9/30/2012, 2:20 PM
Great review Ror. Seen it on Friday brilliant movie in my opinion.
angus666 - 9/30/2012, 2:33 PM
This first comment disagrees with the review? What a surprise.
thewonderer - 9/30/2012, 2:42 PM
I love the idea that his future self was able to outsmart his younger self in everything but the most important thing, fate.

The rainmaker isn't something set in stone, yet the hardened old Joe couldn't understand that.

Loved the dialogue in the diner, hilarious stuff.

Incredible movie
DrainBamage - 9/30/2012, 2:46 PM
I liked it. I did think it was a little slow on some parts and I thought the whole 'TK' thing was a bit random, but I definitely thought it was worth the price of admission.

The performances were good, even from the actors that had smaller roles like Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs & Coyote Ugly) and Garret Dillahunt (Last House on the Left, The Road & Sarah Connor Chronicles).

It gets a thumbs up from me.
Bane2099 - 9/30/2012, 3:33 PM
FOX should give Johnson a shot at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes since Wyatt backed out...what do u guys think?
Adventurer - 9/30/2012, 3:42 PM
I think the most import thing to remember is that this film is not about time travel. It's about the difference between selfishness and love and how love can make you selfish. It's about what true selflessness is, and how difficult taking a long hard look at oneself can be.

Personally, I can't imagine a more important topic for a film to discuss.
marvel72 - 9/30/2012, 6:29 PM
i watched dredd today good movie nice & violent,looper is the next film on my list.
LokiDionysos - 9/30/2012, 7:13 PM
I really liked this movie and the concept of it. It's good that they're getting the closing the loop idea out in a big way. It helps comic book movies like the X men first class sequel by exposing this concept to non-comic book/sci-fi fans in a simple and big way. It could even make some of Kang's story easier to do if they choose to use him in a Marvel movie and approach time travel from a time loop/younger and alternate versions of the self story..
DJCheckPoint - 9/30/2012, 7:16 PM
Great Movie. Great Review. Glad your not like Josh Dickding who deleted commments from people who dont like his reviews like i do. Your reviews are professional and always on point.
DoctorDoak - 9/30/2012, 7:30 PM
As usual - great review, Ror. Bruce and JGL were phenomenal -- especially in their scenes together. And Rian Johnson is amazing at what he does... I can't wait to see what he does next. I absolutely loved the movie and hope to see it again this week!
monstalova - 9/30/2012, 7:36 PM
Why do you give 5 stars when you think that the movie could have been better??? If you give 5 stars that means it is as good as anything you have ever seen.... Dont use the star rating if you dont know how. By that reasoning Jaws, The Dark Knight, Back To The Future etc. are on the same level as Looper??!! Be a bit more fair so it looks like your not trying to get a quote in a TV ad again :)
Adventurer - 9/30/2012, 8:54 PM
@Monstalova... Five stars doesn't mean that a movie couldn't be better. It means that a film is in the upper echelon (top %20 or %10 if using half stars) of quality.

I agree that the movies you listed are all deserving of five stars. Also, none of them are perfect (No movie is). Some of these could also be argued to be better than others. This doesn't mean that they don't belong in the same echelon of quality.

Personally, I think Ror's review is right on.
monstalova - 9/30/2012, 10:38 PM
Adventurer if you wanted to kiss Rors ass harder slip sum tongue in there... Joking joking. Ror can you tell me how you would explain your rating system cos im intrigued to know how you give Looper 5 stars when you know its not one of the best movies you have seen??
theartofoneness - 10/1/2012, 2:09 AM
I just saw it tonight and I felt like the trailer let me down. the trailer made it seem far more action packed but I found it a lot slower than that. It was still a good movie and it was very fun to watch JGL be bruce willis. he actually did a great job as that.

As for the ideas and story I thought it was pretty well done. the main logic hole for me was how this agency knew that they didnt close their loop. Like their old self comes back, runs off, you bring the gold back, everyones happy. But somehow the looper agency knew they hadnt closed their loops without any real evidence beyond the looper not showing back up to work.
RorMachine - 10/1/2012, 4:51 AM
Monstalova, why don't you learn about the star rating and what each one means before mouthing off? I think that would be a better idea. 5 stars does not mean perfect..NOTHING is perfect, it simply means that it is an excellent example of its genre. Looper is as good as sci-fi gets..are there better movies? Of course there are, that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a top score. By your rationale, everyone has to like every movie they award 5 stars to equally? Ummm, no that's not how it works. Jaws is a 5 star movie, Looper is a 5 star movie, I prefer Jaws. See?
usclerkguy - 10/1/2012, 4:57 AM
Looper was thoroughly entertaining....a cool sci-fi/crime drama....a futuristic Pulp Fiction(hitmen)with a splash of Terminator(time travel). Great performances from Bruce and JGL as well as the supporting cast.
InFamouslyCool - 10/1/2012, 6:43 AM
In the theater at the end of the movie everyone sat there in silence just waiting for more (?)
The ending was a bit... well, nice movie.
MisterNiceGuy - 10/1/2012, 7:00 AM
5 stars is like an 80% or better genius
monstalova - 10/1/2012, 7:10 AM
Good too see you can take a critism Ror. Iv bn doin reviews for a long time and dont know too many people at all that give 5 stars because they thought a movie was pretty good... Anyway so i take it Looper is your new favorite movie? :)
RorMachine - 10/1/2012, 7:35 AM
Yes, Looper is my new favorite movie because I gave it 5 stars. Run along now..
monstalova - 10/1/2012, 7:39 AM
All i am trying to say is your article was sounding like a 3 1/2 ,4 star review then i see the 5 magic red stars below... Didn't really make sense to rate 5 stars with the words you were writing but i guess we have different ways of scoring movies. I believe 5 stars should be saved for movies which are near perfect ( directing, acting, dialogue, story etc., etc.) who knows maybe you jumped to the dark side of reviewing so you have other agendas, not just your own opinion....
RorMachine - 10/1/2012, 9:27 AM
How is is only a "3 1/2 ,4 star review"? I only mention ONE gripe, and sum up by saying "It's still one of the best sci-fi movies we have had in a very long time". haha, you're clutching at straws.
TheJoker - 10/1/2012, 3:17 PM
Come now children!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
TheJoker - 10/1/2012, 3:19 PM
But on a serious note JGL was brilliant when he was talking to Jeff Daniels for the first time. I wonder how many times he watched Die Hard?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
marz66 - 10/6/2012, 6:27 PM
Good review,Ror. I thought the movie was good.Not great.I will definitely add to my blu ray library when it comes out.

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