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Review: Self/Less

Self/Less
07.09.2015
4 10
 

PLOT: A terminally-ill billionaire (Ben Kingsley) signs up for a process called “shedding” where his consciousness will be transferred into a younger body that’s been biologically engineered to be free of any flaws. To his horror, he discovers that his new host body (Ryan Reynolds) may have been stolen from an unwilling donor.

REVIEW: Sometimes I wonder whether I’ve seen too many movies for my own good. If I wasn’t such a huge fan of the little-known John Frankenheimer movie SECONDS, I’d probably think SELF/LESS actually had a pretty decent premise. Certainly, there’s something to relate to here, as our bodies often betray us as we get older due to illness, genetics or simply time. Who doesn’t – from time to time – want to trade in the old model for something new? This is all territory that SECONDS explored brilliantly, with the film gradually turning into a surreal paranoid nightmare that proved even looking like Rock Hudson in his prime wasn’t necessarily a good thing (rumor has it – Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson was so disturbed by seeing it on acid that it kicked off his ‘Smile’-sessions nervous breakdown).

 

Of course, SELF/LESS is no SECONDS but it seems like director Tarsem Singh wanted it to be, with the first thirty or so minutes of this playing out like a virtual remake. However, after a promising opening SELF/LESS all but turns into yet another BOURNE IDENTITY-clone when its discovered his new body comes with a deadly skill-set that leads to our now-brawny hero uncovering a big conspiracy that you’ll be able to spot coming from a mile away.

Considering the prime summer date and wide release, SELF/LESS feels suspiciously low-rent, with New Orleans-location work that suggests this was a project instigated by a solid tax credit and designed to quickly cash-in/out at the box office. Maybe if it had been better this would have been possible but despite Tarsem’s reputation for style over substance, this doesn’t have any of his trademark imagery and feels almost DTV-level, like it should have skipped theaters altogether.

It’s yet another poor star vehicle for Ryan Reynolds, who’s struggled to break-out as a serious leading man – although the recent MISSISSIPPI GRIND and DEADPOOL just might put him back on track. Reynolds really doesn’t get much to do here, as the majority of his screen-time has him in chase mode and participating in some of the dullest action scenes of the year. Everything feels regurgitated, from the BOURNE-style hand-to-hand bits to an incredibly boring car chase, with only the ridiculously over-the-top finale featuring Reynolds wielding a flame-thrower standing out based only on how unintentionally funny it is.

 

While he clearly gives it his all, his performance makes very little sense. He’s supposed to be playing Ben Kingsley, but there’s no continuity between the performances suggesting we’re watching the same guy. While it’s explained that his body has some deadly skills thanks to muscle memory and his subconscious, it doesn’t explain how Reynolds – who’s still supposed to be Kingsley’s meek white-collar businessman – suddenly transforms into a Stallone-like action hero who racks up a body count in the dozens. Shouldn’t he have shown even the slightest compunction about killing? As for Kingsley, after the first fifteen minutes he’s out of the film completely, which is a shame as he brought gravitas and humanity to the part.

Kingsley’s not the only one who’s wasted. The usually great Matthew Goode is awful as the sniveling baddie – whose past is all too easy to figure out. Derek Luke fares even worse as his henchman with all the body swapping being ripped off from the Arnie-vehicle THE SIXTH DAY (now they’re not even stealing from good movies!). DOWNTOWN ABBEY’s Michelle Dockery has a part that feels like it’s been left somewhere on the cutting room floor. Natalie Martinez could have had an interesting role as Reynolds’ pseudo-love interest, but her character simply isn’t written well-enough to be engaging considering the position she’s supposed to be in (which I won’t reveal here).

In the end, SELF/LESS is a totally disposable actioner, maybe only distinguished by the fact that it ranks among the more violent PG-13 movies I’ve ever seen, with immolations aplenty (it seems like Tarsem has a thing for burnings). It’s another dull part for Reynolds, who deserves better.

 

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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9:44PM on 07/09/2015

Figures

Thats everyone will hate and bash on this movie. But honestly this was really good movie. Yeah maybe it didn't have amazing acting and to everyone who said they wasted kinsly well how else was he going to be in the movie. I thought it was very different and quite good. I was really happy with how it turned out.
Thats everyone will hate and bash on this movie. But honestly this was really good movie. Yeah maybe it didn't have amazing acting and to everyone who said they wasted kinsly well how else was he going to be in the movie. I thought it was very different and quite good. I was really happy with how it turned out.
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3:01PM on 07/09/2015

I really wish they put more effort into this one...

This looks like it was done for a quick paycheck. It should have been released right to dvd/bluray/netflix instead of thinking it had theater quality performances.

I still want to see it but I don't know anyone willing to pay theater prices to see it.
This looks like it was done for a quick paycheck. It should have been released right to dvd/bluray/netflix instead of thinking it had theater quality performances.

I still want to see it but I don't know anyone willing to pay theater prices to see it.
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12:26PM on 07/09/2015
This movie didn't look interesting at all & not even Reynolds promoted it for a summer movie. He is too busy having a blast with Deadpool now & I don't blame him. Tarsem Singh started out so strong & then 3 bad films in a row, yep sounds like Shyamalan syndrome to me.
This movie didn't look interesting at all & not even Reynolds promoted it for a summer movie. He is too busy having a blast with Deadpool now & I don't blame him. Tarsem Singh started out so strong & then 3 bad films in a row, yep sounds like Shyamalan syndrome to me.
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+0
10:05AM on 07/09/2015
I so want Reynolds to be a success but stuff like this keeps happening to him. I really fear that all the praise we're lavishing on Deadpool is going to come to nothing and the film will flop. It feels almost inevitable it'll go the way of Dredd. I still remember the way this website made a big deal of Snakes on a Plane and Gangster Squad prior to its release.
I so want Reynolds to be a success but stuff like this keeps happening to him. I really fear that all the praise we're lavishing on Deadpool is going to come to nothing and the film will flop. It feels almost inevitable it'll go the way of Dredd. I still remember the way this website made a big deal of Snakes on a Plane and Gangster Squad prior to its release.
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6:53PM on 07/09/2015
Dredd was an independent movie in 3D at a time when the only movies in 3D were blockbusters. That's still usually the case. It didn't even come to my town because there was only one 3D theater around and they were playing something with a bigger budget. Deadpool is opening in the same month that worked so well for Kingsman, and there's a built-in (American) audience, something Dredd lacked.

Either way, thank you for reminding me of Snakes on a Plane. It's still real easy for me to remember
Dredd was an independent movie in 3D at a time when the only movies in 3D were blockbusters. That's still usually the case. It didn't even come to my town because there was only one 3D theater around and they were playing something with a bigger budget. Deadpool is opening in the same month that worked so well for Kingsman, and there's a built-in (American) audience, something Dredd lacked.

Either way, thank you for reminding me of Snakes on a Plane. It's still real easy for me to remember why that got to be such a big Internet thing. Because they're snakes! And they're on a plane! With Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson! I mean, it's the sort of concept that should just write itself. In 2006 anyway.
8:26AM on 07/09/2015
What this film needs is an echoing Ben Kingsley voiceover commenting on the violence from within Reynolds' brain. Could have been an amusing action comedy.
What this film needs is an echoing Ben Kingsley voiceover commenting on the violence from within Reynolds' brain. Could have been an amusing action comedy.
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6:24AM on 07/09/2015
Wow, while the trailer did look a bit like Seconds, I didn't get any sense of it being a Bourne-style action movie. Disappointing, because I thought it looked like it might be good.
Wow, while the trailer did look a bit like Seconds, I didn't get any sense of it being a Bourne-style action movie. Disappointing, because I thought it looked like it might be good.
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-1
4:20AM on 07/09/2015

also

Why does he deserve better? Its not like he was fantastic then started getting shitty films, he's always done shitty films! He's ok in some comedy roles because like Melissa mcartney he's got his one act.

So yeah please explain why an run of the mill comedic actor deserves better!
Why does he deserve better? Its not like he was fantastic then started getting shitty films, he's always done shitty films! He's ok in some comedy roles because like Melissa mcartney he's got his one act.

So yeah please explain why an run of the mill comedic actor deserves better!
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-2
4:07AM on 07/09/2015

hopefully

Hopefully this bombs hard, then deadpool bombs even harder than dredd so we don't have to out up with this idiots films and the soloist's cummin in his pants comments about him anywhere but on the straight to dvd shitty action films reviews!
Hopefully this bombs hard, then deadpool bombs even harder than dredd so we don't have to out up with this idiots films and the soloist's cummin in his pants comments about him anywhere but on the straight to dvd shitty action films reviews!
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3:35AM on 07/09/2015
Big fan of Reynolds and will obviously be checking this out. But I'm starting to notice a trend with his films as of late; it seems that he's a much better comedic and dramatic actor than he is at action. Like Colin Farrell as well, his action films don't always seems to hit the mark like they should, while he usually fares better with his dramas (ie Buried, Paper Man, Woman in Gold, The Captive, The Nines).

I'm hoping Deadpool does really, really well for him since it seems he was born to
Big fan of Reynolds and will obviously be checking this out. But I'm starting to notice a trend with his films as of late; it seems that he's a much better comedic and dramatic actor than he is at action. Like Colin Farrell as well, his action films don't always seems to hit the mark like they should, while he usually fares better with his dramas (ie Buried, Paper Man, Woman in Gold, The Captive, The Nines).

I'm hoping Deadpool does really, really well for him since it seems he was born to play the role and is very passionate about the character, film, etc and opens more opportunities for him to take on some more meatier roles.
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4:03AM on 07/09/2015
Buried is the only somewhat decent film you lust, the rest are trash. You might personally like them but on the whole they are bad movies!
Buried is the only somewhat decent film you lust, the rest are trash. You might personally like them but on the whole they are bad movies!
12:55AM on 07/09/2015

Ryan Reynolds needs to have some hard words with his agent.

I really hope DEADPOOL reverses this trend because I like Ryan Reynolds and I'd hate to see him in the same place as Taylor Kitsch - another would-be star whose career crashed and burned due to some lousy movies.
I really hope DEADPOOL reverses this trend because I like Ryan Reynolds and I'd hate to see him in the same place as Taylor Kitsch - another would-be star whose career crashed and burned due to some lousy movies.
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12:53AM on 07/09/2015

Downtown Abbey

Is this the American remake of the British series Downton Abbey? I never heard of it, but it wouldn't be surprised if it had been made.
Is this the American remake of the British series Downton Abbey? I never heard of it, but it wouldn't be surprised if it had been made.
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+0
12:40AM on 07/09/2015
Another Ryan Reynolds flop.
Another Ryan Reynolds flop.
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