Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ethan Phillips and Brian Stepanek

Michael Bay

Running Time:
136 mins

Out to buy on DVD 09/01/06

"You are going to the Island"

For the survivors of the contamination, life at the facility was one of order and structure as the few thousand humans that are left try to help the human race recover. This basic life does have a purpose however. Every week there is a lottery spin, were everyone gets the chance to win transportation to the Island, the last uncontaminated habitat on the planet. For Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) this isn't enough and he wants much more but as his starts to ask questions, the answers he uncovers reveal a terrible truth.

When it comes to big action event movies, Hollywood tends to turn to two men, director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer but can Michael Bay deliver without Bruckheimer backing him up?

You know what to expect with a Michael Bay movie, big action, loads of explosions and larger than life characters and situations. They are never life changing films or ones that will win Oscars but they do tend to entertain. 'The Island' is no different but there is something just not quite right with the film.

The premise is a solid one. The organ harvesting from human clones is a science fiction plotline that has relevance in the modern scientific world. Would you like to know that your heart or kidney transplant came from a living, breathing copy of yourself? What if that clone realised what was going to happen to them and wanted to live? These are questions that the film tries to answer but as with all big budget productions, the story is just an excuse to string together more and more elaborate action sequences and 'The Island' is filled with them.

When it comes to directing action, Michael Bay is one of the best. He takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride and has done this successfully in the 'Bad Boys' movies, 'Armageddon', 'The Rock' and 'Con Air'. 'The Island' is no different but there is nothing truly original here. When you are watching the film, you can't help but think that you've seen some of the visuals before. The big car chase is very similar to 'Bad Boys II', the vision of the future looks like that represented in 'I, Robot' or 'Minority Report' and the amount of product placement is also similar to 'I, Robot' or 'Minority Report'. This last point is probably the thing that most viewers will notice and what really makes the film suffer. While there are many futuristic designs and inventions, there are far too many modern items in a movie that supposed to be set after 2050. Many of the cars in the chase sequences are cars from the present, standing out next to the ones designed especially for the film. When you see a futuristic truck smash into a current version of the Volvo range, you know that the production has cut some corners.

On the acting front, both Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson are good. Both play the naive clones extremely well but you would expect this from two accomplished actors as them. Scarlett makes her action debt and takes the step with ease, showing that quality actors can adapt to any genre. Of course she looks beautiful but is the honesty and goodness that she portrays in the role that makes the character of Jordan Two Delta so watchable. The same can be said of Ewan McGregor's Lincoln Six Echo but the actor also gets to play the client of the clone, boat designer and adventurer Tom Lincoln and it is the interaction between the two that make for some of the more amusing scenes.

On the supporting side, Sean Bean is again asked to play the villain and he rises to the occasion, even though he might seem to be on autopilot from now and again. Djimon Hounsou is an impressive and imposing figure as hired specialist Albert Laurent. He is an actor that can play type of role and he excels in the action genre. Michael Bay stalwarts Steve Buscemi and Michael Clarke Duncan also noticeable make appearances in smaller roles.

'The Island' is an entertaining but flawed Sci-Fi romp. The good performances from the cast make this a lot more watchable however and as with all Michael Bay films, the action is first rate. It is just a shame that the commercial product placement of the film make the film not that futuristic.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well, highlighting the excellent visual effects.


The Making of The Island (14.56 mins)
Director Michael Bay, production designer Nigel Phelps, set decorator Rosemary Branden, producer Walter F. Parkes, 2nd Unit director Kenny Bates, special effects supervisor John Frazier and stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean and Steve Buscemi take you behind the scenes of the production of the 'The Island'. The featurette looks at the huge sets for the Clone village, the lab and birthing centres and the foundation room. It also looks at the huge stunt sequences of the film, including the armoured car smash, the lorry/car chase and the sign fall.


With only a short Making of… featurette, the DVD package for 'The Island' is very disappointing. Michael Bay movies are usually feature packed but moving to a new studio and the lacklustre performance of the movie at the box office may have contributed to this poor DVD treatment. Fans will not be impressed.


I, Robot

Minority Report

The Usher Home | Hush, Hush... | The Big Story | The Usher Speaks

Stuck @ Home | Coming Soon | Links | Contact the Usher