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NEXT - 2007
Paramount Pictures
Rating: USA: R

Poor Mr. Dick. That's Philip K. Dick, of course. Hollywood discovered that his science fiction stories can translate into awesome movies (like MINORITY REPORT or BLADE RUNNER) many years after his untimely death. Of course sometimes the translation is garbled and the movies are not so great (like SCREAMERS or IMPOSTOR), but that's no reason to stop trying.

NEXT was directed by Lee Tamahori (DIE ANOTHER DAY, ALONG CAME A SPIDER, THE EDGE) and written by Gary Goldman (BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, TOTAL RECALL), Jonathan Hensleigh (THE PUNISHER) and Paul Bernbaum, based on the short story "The Golden Man" by Philip K. Dick.

The story opens with Cris Johnson (Nicholas Cage: 8MM, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD), aka low rent Vegas magician Frank Cadillac, sitting in a diner, clearly waiting for someone. No one shows up.

He hits the casinos and we learn from narration that Cris has a psychic power of sorts. He can see the future, but only two minutes or so into the future and only with regards to himself. This is more than just precognition, however. Cris can see every possible path he can take, every possible action and that action's outcome, within that two minute window.

This proves very useful while gambling but Cris purposefully doesn't win too much. He doesn't want to be noticed. However casino security chief Royball (Jose Zuniga: CONSTANTINE, DEXTER [TV]) spots him anyway and notices that Cris notices that he's being watched. A chase ensues and once again Cris' ability to see ahead comes in handy.

Casino security isn't the only group looking for Cris. FBI Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore: CAST A DEADLY SPELL, THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, EVOLUTION, HANNIBAL, THE FORGOTTEN, CHILDREN OF MEN) and her team have need of Cris' talent because a group of Russian terrorists have smuggled a stolen nuke into the U.S.

Those same Russians are somehow aware of Cris and recognize him as a threat. They're determined to take him out.

But Cris is pretty hard to corner, since he can instantly see every possible pathway and their immediate outcome, he can almost always make exactly the right moves to get away. That'd be fine until he meets Liz (Jessica Biel: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE [2003], BLADE: TRINITY), the girl of his dreams, and she ends up in harms way too.

The movie has lots of nice moments and not just with Cris' ability helping him get away from the bad guys. It also comes in handy picking up chicks because he can try and see the results of every pick up line until he finds one that works.

Nice. But does that make it a good movie? Before I talk about that it's time for a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
This is a psychic power which is fantasy so the usual rules of science don’t really apply. But I do want to mention that, in the narration, Cris implies that his ability is related to quantum mechanics when he says, “Every time you look at the future, it changes.” If you really get into the details of quantum mechanics it’s a lot like fantasy so I can live with it.

Enough prevaricating: I liked this movie. The characters are interesting, the action exciting and the unique psychic ability portrayed here fun to explore. I give NEXT four shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2007 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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