The Complete Cage: “Next” 
Oh wow, this was not a good place to start…
Tagline: “If you can see the future, you can save it.”
“Next” is very (very, very, so very) loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story “The Golden Man”. The movie follows Cris Johnson (stage name: Frank Cadillac), a Vegas magician who has the ability to see every possibly outcome of events up to 2 minutes into the future. He stays on the down-low, except when he’s about to get arrested, when he’ll embark on ridiculous chases in stolen cars. Now somehow he catches the attention of an FBI agent (Julianne Moore) who needs him to help her track down a russian nuclear device that terrorists have snuck into the country. I don’t know why she thinks his two minute window is going to be any help at all (when she finally does capture him, she just forces him to watch CNN Clockwork Orange-style…) but her interest also somehow tips off the terrorists about his abilities, so now they’re after him too.
In the middle of all this, Cris is obsessed with one particular vision of a hot girl in a diner that he’s inexplicably seen much further into the future. So he hangs out at that diner every day hoping to run into her, and of course this is that day! After an actually pretty good meet-cute, they run off together. Cris does that old turn-a-rock-into-a-salamander trick, add in a rained-out road, and BOOM, they’re doin’ it in a motel.
It’s all pretty bland from here. Action sequence, girl gets kidnapped, Cris decides to help, search though a warehouse, terrorists are defeated, bomb goes off anyway. There’s not much of a point in going into it too much because everything that happens after the motel is just one of Cris’ visions. Being with the girl enhances his powers I guess, so he got to see how that whole shitty day plays out.
It’s a real shame how boring the movie got because there are a few flashes of inspiration here. The idea behind the character is sound, but they didn’t find enough interesting ways to show his abilities. The warehouse search has a cool sequence where a bunch of different versions of Cris “peel away” to search every nook and cranny before he needs to go anywhere, which culminates in a terrorist shooting a dozen of these versions down while the “real” Cris makes it though to deliver a zinger. Mostly though, it’s a bunch of flat characters and unjustified decisions and bad CG, so when they get to this twist ending it doesn’t feel earned at all.
This is kind of an odd Cage movie because his character lacks many of the tics we associate with his acting. I’d like to think that Nic brought in a lot of the details in the character though, like the lame jokes, and the interest in shamans and italian painters. I honestly don’t know what drove him towards this role, other than making out with Jessica Biel.
Rather than give a starred rating, I’ve decided to simply rate the films of Nicolas Cage against themselves, according to my own personal preference. Not much to say, since this is the only review so far, so with nothing to compare it to, Next comes in at number one. It will not stay there for long.
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