What’s this? An action sci-fi that isn’t convoluted or confusing but instead incredibly original and exciting? That’s exactly what you’re in for with Looper, one of the best blockbusters to be released this year and with a huge surprise, every badass moment throughout is earned with some great character development and plot.. Well, almost.
Joseph Gordon Levitt stars as Bruce Willis. No, no let me try that again, Joseph Gordon Levitt is Joe, a 20 something year old looper in the year. 2044. If you’re wondering what in the hell a looper even is, it’s basically the guy responsible for killing people who return from the future, looper’s know where they emerge from and kill on sight, without a minute’s hesitation. Time travel has not yet been invented in 2044 but it has in the future, in about 30 years. Looper’s don’t question their jobs or the physics of time travel but simply sit in a field in Kansas where the portal is, holding a large gun, waiting for the person from the future to emerge so they can be killed, it’s as simple as that.
Joe, isn’t one for the details of it all but merely does what he can to save up for a trip to France. He’s a loner who takes a lot of drugs and has frequent associations with a local prostitute. He’s a cold individual who does what he can to protect his interests. This however changes when one evening, the figure that emerges from the portal is his future self (played by Bruce Willis). Of course, Joe fails in killing him and is on the run from his employers, a quick witted yet violent mobster, Abe (Jeff Daniels) and a gun totting yet unreliable henchman, Kid Blue (Noah Segan). Joe’s older self is also hiding from the henchmen yet is on a mission to prevent a tragedy from happening in his future while younger Joe finds himself in the care of a young farmer (Emily Blunt) and her 5 year old son. He still intends on killing his older self and clearing his name yet their paths are soon to cross as his older self is heading their way.
How’s that for an original plot?
This is all thanks to Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brother’s Bloom) who is a creative force to be reckoned with as well as one who knows to respect the audience with great screenwriting and meticulous direction. Trust an art house direction to understand how a fun yet substance filled big budgeted film should go.
What’s so refreshing and invigorating about Looper is the attention to detail in both the plot and it’s characters. Also, as mentioned, the originality of it all! Yes, some plot developments dwell on cliche and the ending could’ve been a little better but this is unlike any recent film to be released as of late. It takes very few conventional routes in its approach to the story, including brutality which the story benefits from this time around. Most sci-fi blockbusters that are released these days carry an M rating (or most notably a PG-13 in the states) but that’s not the case with Looper, characters swear, the violence is bloody, essentially, you’re aware from minute one that these characters aren’t caricatures but instead real people with serious flaws, which helps in convincing the audience that all of the plot details in which these characters have to work within are beyond rational and logic, yet the movie takes its time in explaining all of the details to the audience.
When all is said and done however, Looper is not a perfect film. Like most films the minute the plot’s direction is revealed, the protagonist always tends to hide out somewhere where we meet the female lead or essentially the love interest, played pretty damn immaculately by Emily Blunt. The shift in tone and pace changes and you either go with it or don’t. But it doesn’t derail the narrative/story.
To also make it clear, the performances are also outstanding including a makeup covered Joseph Gordon Levitt, and with special mention to Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan, Paul Dano and Garrett Dillahunt, who plays a bounty hunter,the best in the business his time on screen is pretty outstanding, but above all, Bruce Willis is back to being badass. One scene in particular just proves why we loved him in the first place and why we’ll always rely on him to deliver the action and fun.
With the exception of one scene, Looper is a tight, exceptionally well written and directed action sci-fi that’ll restore your faith in blockbusters and just gives you another reason to want to go to the movies yet also serves as a reminder as to what we love about original storytelling.
Dr Octagon chops it up with Stash about his next career move
He is the man and myth behind albums like Spankmaster and the 1996 masterwork Dr. Octagonecologyst. He has penned such lyrics as “In my real world, orang-utans dance for Thanksgiving with skeleton bones and skunk tails.” But when we spoke to Dr. Octagon (aka Kool Keith) he spoke in serious tones about his inspiration and where he wants to go in the next chapter of his career. Fresh from a recent trek to Europe, the veteran MC is gearing up to hit Australia to perform his aforementioned classic 1996 album in full. First order of business for Keith though was finding out how cold he could expect the weather to be and if he should pack his thermal underwear and a bubble goose jacket. With that out of the way he told us, in his trademark drawl, “I love Australia, it’s like a second home.” Taking a break from promoting his new album Love & Danger, which dropped last month, he’s clearly looking forward to the visit. “Always happy to go where I feel welcome and Australians are [the] coolest people I have met travelling.” The upcoming shows Down Under will mark the first time he’s ever performed the album live. Rather than a cash-in, he says the idea to perform the album was actually proposed to him on Twitter. “I loved the idea and my manager Tobias worked with Way-2-Fonky to put the whole thing together. It’s an exclusive too, never done this before in full and probably never will again.” The fact that many of his Aussie fans have expressed their admiration for the album probably helped too. Along with Dr. Octagonecologyst, the other album always the topic of discussion is his 1988 opus Critical Breakdown with group Ultramagnetic MCs. “It really depends on who you meet and talk to. All sorts of folk enjoy different projects I’ve worked on but it’s all love.” The possibility of seeing Critical Breakdown performed in full is there if everything aligns. “If the fans want it to happen and the rest of the group can get together to make this happen then I’m down.” As with everything he does, Dr. Octagonecologyst was a result of Keith’s environment. Recorded in California, alongside Dan The Automator and DJ Q-Bert, he believes that such a concept-driven album couldn’t have been made in his native New York. “There’s too much going on, you might see a fight in the street and it’ll change your whole vibe.” At the same time the intensity of New York has worked in his favour, as it did with his suitably graphic follow-up album Sex Style. “It [inspiration] all comes from the same place, it comes from me but depending on the project it can be someone or something completely different.” Even with his reputation as hip hop’s concept album king, the rapper (real name Keith Thornton) is looking to head in a different direction. “My last two last albums I was in jail, I was in prison lyrically,” he says with conviction, pun intended. “I’m getting into a variety of new beats, doing my own production. I like to move forward and not focus on the same thing.” Never one to stick to formula over the course of his solo career, which kicked off with the Dr. Octagon project, Keith has also recorded under the pseudonyms Dr. Dooom and Black Elvis. While his creativity has never been in question, he believes he had become somewhat pigeonholed with this musical schizophrenia. “I opened up Pandora’s box in the wrong way. I’ve met people that want me to write a whole song about a hat or a rapper that wants me to write about [baseball player] Derek Jeter for three verses.” He’s also looking to cut down on collaborations, saying “everyone that works with me gets more recognition than me. I made them stars.” Concept albums do have a place however and he believes many of today’s rappers are following in his footsteps. “They’re making music that is conceptual and characterised. With movies today people wanna see concepts like Batman and The Avengers. It’s the same with music, you damn near gotta put a movie poster out for your album.” With no one to appease Keith is excited about the idea of switching things up and doing it for himself. “I rapped for other people, I rapped for mass appeal. I never wrote anything for myself.” For Keith he sees it as perfect timing for a fresh start. “The industry is in a shitty state at the moment if you’re not willing to be proactive, for those who are its more open than ever.” With over 14 albums under his name, just counting solo projects, Keith is showing no signs of slowing down. “To be the best you have to be able to prove it consistently and undoubtedly. I have so much finished music though I could take a break, think for a while and still be able to put dope music out.” Ultimately it’s all about pushing forward and continuing to evolve and grow as an artist. “What keeps me motivated is seeing how others let their work ethic slip, you stop moving and evolving you die. If you want to be a shark you got to keep moving.” Words to live by.