Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Natalie Martinez, Derek Luke, Matthew Goode, Victor Garber
Ryan Reynolds annoys me, there, I said it. Self/Less biggest problem is the baggage that Reynolds brings with him. For all his popularity, the guy hasn’t had a hit in a while and it’s mostly a result of poor film choices and a lack of creative performing on his part. Not surprisingly, the results of early Self/Less screenings has males unfavorable and women more favorable, so it’s worth noting that Reynolds has more than a few shirtless scenes. Director Tarsem Singh (The Fall) offers us a modern day Frankenstein as technology allows an ailing man to put his mind into a younger body. Of course since Reynolds (the younger body), once he is on screen it’s just another dumb action flick.
Damien (Kingsley) is a mastermind New York Architect worth billions, he is also dying and feels the need for more time, especially to put things right with his estranged daughter. The Phoenix Company has kept their revolutionary “shedding” experiment a secret, but Damien’s connections have set him up to make his death very public and then transfer his mind into a younger new body. Damien wakes up a young man, although with glitches that he can’t explain. Dr. Albright (Goode) explains the hallucinations are normal, but the visons grow progressively stronger, until Damien realizes they didn’t put him into a lab grown body or an empty vessel, instead just swapped his mind with another.
Only interested in car chases and gun battles once the full plot is revealed.
“You are asking the wrong questions,” Dr. Albright tells Damien. However it’s the film that is telling the wrong story. With all this focus on the search for immortality in the modern world, Self/Less is only interested in car chases and gun battles once the full plot is revealed. Reynolds pushes the story forward, but offers nothing else to the role besides his muscular physique. The strongest element to the film is how well Kingsley does as creating a persona for Damien in the first half of the film, we are constantly reminded, even through Reynolds face, of the character Kingsley creates.
The moment Damien wakes up in his new body you can see where this film is headed and not even a decent supporting turn from Victor Garber can improve the paper thin plot. Goode broods in a few scenes but never gets enough screen time to be a true villain. Singh focuses more on the relationship between the family Damien’s new body left behind instead of all the fascinating and scientific questions the audience might be interested in. The emotional scenes are contrived, thoughtless and easily forgettable as the characters are written as clichés.
Chooses stereotypical action over a seemingly interesting sci-fi façade.