I hate any film hamstrung by a dearth of possible story resolutions.
I hate any film hamstrung by a dearth of possible story resolutions. Such films reduce the cinematic experience to a dull game of multiple choice as the audience watches the director (in this case, director Gary Fleder) plod toward foregone conclusion A, B or C.
See, it's the future and scientist Spencer John Olham (Gary Sinise) is arrested by Agent Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio) for being a spy. Earth is at war with Alpha Centaurians and the Centaurians have the ability to create humanoid robots that double as nuclear bombs. There are a couple of tricks at play here. The first is that the human being who's been turned into the bomb doesn't know it. The second is that the bomb isn't detectable until right before the explosion, so the authorities, when arresting people suspected of being nuclear bombs, pretty much have to play a hunch, kind of like John Ashcroft.
Thus, Spencer is just a bit indignant when Hathaway arrests him and decides to cut a big hole in his chest. Spencer is convinced he isn't a bomb and thinks he can prove it because his wife (Madeleine Stowe) is a doctor and he's had himself scanned. (Apparently the authorities don't conduct these sorts of scans before cutting a person open, but that's the kind of a nitpicky point the human bombs are always harping on). Spencer is able to escape from Hathaway, whereupon he accidentally kills his best friend (Tony Shalhoub) and discovers an underground (isn't there always an underground in the future?) where he hooks up with a good-hearted rogue (Mekhi Phifer). Together, they go back into the city and try to prove Spencer's innocence.
Despite the fact that it's the future, the cops are apparently even less capable of tracking and imprisoning one mildly athletic scientist than they are now. Furthermore, when Spencer needs to break into the medical facility, all he does is grab a used glove out of the trash so the DNA scanners on all the doors will think he's somebody else. Good to know security is really tight in the future. Ultimately, the thing that makes this movie especially stupid is that the ending is so predictable. Either Spencer is or isn't a bomb. From the beginning, the obvious conclusion (Foregone Conclusion "A") is that it isn't Spencer who's the bomb, but some other "unexpected" member of the supporting cast. Ultimately, the film doesn't deviate wildly from this prediction, which makes it only slightly better than the concession stand advertisement.
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