Photo Credit /Paramount Pictures
Film Distribution / Paramount Pictures
Runtime 116 minutes
Given the choice, I choose to watch film in 2D rather than 3D. There are two reasons for this. The first is that except for the opening titles, which are animated and obviously much easier to produce an effective 3D effect, the 3D is usually ineffective. After the first couple of minutes it adds nothing. The second is that viewing it in 3D mutes the colors. I’d rather see brighter colors than ineffective 3D.
However, the 3D in this movie is the best I’ve ever seen. It is effective throughout the entire film and many scenes are far superior seen in 3D than in 2D. So, from that point of view, this film might be worthwhile seeing just because of the 3D, which was the only reason people went to see Bwana Devil in 1952 which was the dawn of 3D films. It’s not clear whether 3D failed back then due to lack of interest in 3D or the low quality of the films, which Bwana Devil epitomized.
Maybe it’s better because director Ang Lee (from a script by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke) and Director of Photography Dion Beebe shot the film at 120 frames per second (standard is 24) and in 4K 3D. It certainly shows, and future 3D productions should be shot the same way.
However, the film is better than that just the 3D. Will Smith is a U.S. government assassin who is targeted by his employers and by an assassin who anticipates his every move. I used to have negative feelings about films that painted the US government as being murderously unethical. But that was before the 2016 election and the astonishing attacks on the Trump campaign by the top echelons of the CIA and the FBI, and later on President Trump himself. So now I buy into these stories.
While Will Smith gives a very good performance in a dual role, Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a sterling performance as someone sent by his employers to track him down. The other exceptional supporting performance is by Clive Owen. I always thought he would make a perfect James Bond, a lot better than the guy they have now.
I generally disdain the car and motorcycles chases that are de rigueur now in these types of movies. But the one in this film is eye-popping, mainly due to the exceptional 3D and cinéma vérité-style filming.
Although it tends to drag at the end, this film is an entertaining treat.