Sci-fi movies ran out of ideas about 15 years ago – right around the time they released Aliens vs. Predator vs. G.I. Jane vs. Dragon Ball Z – but that's ok, because we have a rich repository of classic science fiction themes and concepts to plagiarize from. "Source Code" is the latest film to mine the past for usable plot lines, and thanks to its lack of originality it comes across as flat as a mid-90's "The Outer Limits" episode, only without Alyssa Milano's tits in a starring role.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of a soldier who wakes up in the body of a doomed commuter who gets blown up on a train with a bunch of other people. Turns out that his brain has been sent back through time to relive this poor schmuck's final moments again and again until he figures out the story behind the bomb that eventually kills everyone. I know what you are thinking: a movie that relives an eight minute sequence on a crowded morning train over and over and over again in nauseating detail? What could be better than that! I live for commuting!
I'll tell you what's better: the fact that our protagonist is dead. Sorry, I know that's a spoiler, but if you were honestly excited about seeing this movie then you are already past the point where anyone can help you, so you might as well not waste precious time you could spend organizing your collection of Jem action figures watching this trash. Wow, the idea that the military would take control of a dead soldier's mind and use it for their own purposes, that's never been done before ROBOCOPUNIVERSALSOLDIER has it? What a fresh take on an important philosophical question: who owns a soldier's soul after he has been taken off the battlefield feet-first?
It appears that the answer to that particular question is "boredom." Did Gyllenhaal's brain get put to work piloting a next-generation superfighter or monitoring global Internet traffic for anti-terrorism information? Of course not, because that would require a budget slightly larger than whatever it cost to rent a Chicago commuter rail train for 23 eight-minute periods.
I don't know about you, but Mr. Cranky spends most of his commuter time either ogling dangerously young single mothers (inbound) or swimming deep inside a bottle (outbound). Neither of these activities require his brain – they rely entirely on other, less developed aspects of his neurological anatomy. Maybe in the sequel, we'll see Jake Gyllenhaal's spinal cord sitting in coach for six hours on a runway at O'Hare. Unless that's already being marketed as a reality series for MTV3. Long live the Tercero.
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