Directed by: Lee Tamahori
Premise: A magician (Nicolas Cage) with the ability to see two minutes into the future is pursued by federal authorities intending to use him to find terrorists with a nuclear bomb. At the same time, the terrorists attempt to kill Cage’s character.
What Works: The film has a few good moments, especially in an opening sequence inside of a casino. Unfortunately the film goes south from there.
What Doesn’t: Next is a film drowning in its own stupidity. The film sets up what could be an interesting premise, that a man has psychic abilities but limited to two minutes ahead of time. Unfortunately, the film quickly destroys this by playing fast and loose with its own rules, first by having Cage’s character see things he does not do but is only considering doing, and then gets progressively worse as the character’s abilities take on superhero status. The terrorist plot, which ought to be the main source of conflict in the film, has no coherent sense of purpose. The film leaves a lot of unanswered questions and plot holes, namely how the terrorists are aware of Cage’s character and the FBI’s attempts to use him, why they believe in his abilities, and then how they are able to find him. The villains are not real characters, just ambiguous Eurotrash who magically appear in various scenes for no particular reason, and apparently want to destroy America for the same nonexistent motivation. The film features a love story between Cage’s magician and a teacher (Jessica Biel) but this subplot actually detracts from the film. The two fall in love for no particular reason except that they show up in the same place at the same time and the film switches gears from the pursuit of nuclear weapons to a love story, ignoring the primary storyline and never really picking it up again.
Bottom Line: Next is a very stupid picture. It is similar to last year’s Déjà vu, but without the slickness of Déjà vu director Tony Scott, its premise collapses as a cheap gimmick. Between this film, Ghost Rider, National Treasure, and last year’s remake of The Wicker Man, Nicolas Cage appears on a fast track to becoming the next John Agar.
Episode: #140 (May 6, 2007)