Although I’m a big Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL) fan and who can deny the charisma of Bruce Willis, I gotta say…I wasn’t really looking forward to this one back in September. The trailers looked intriguing, but they never completely sold it and hooked me in. But I thought…hey….why not? If the movie’s terrible, there’s always going to be Emily Blunt to look at if nothing else. So you have to look for the good in EVERYTHING…at least in these economically deprived days. Times are tough. But enough about me. This about you…the loyal masses who read our Blu-ray reviews. So without further ado or any more words from our commercial sponsors I am willing to begin deconstructing and re-evaluating (since this will be my second time viewing and talking about the flick) the time travel plot of September 2012’s science fiction action film…Looper. Here goes nothing.
Looper is written and directed by Rian Johnson. In addition to Joseph, Bruce and Emily, the feature also stars Jeff Daniels and Noah Segan. The film’s studio, Endgame Entertainment, negotiated a deal with FilmDistrict at last year’s Cannes Film Festival (I really need to get out there one of these days). FilmDistrict released the movie though TriStar Pictures here in the States. And even before my press screening this past September, the film had already garnered an excessive amount of praise from the critics…and in our game…that’s always important.
Looper takes place in the futuristic world of 2042, where a 25-year-old assassin (for lack of a better word), Joseph Simmons (Gordon-Levitt), works for a mafia company in Kansas City as a Looper. Loopers are basically hired guns that dispose of agents sent by their employers in Shanghai from the year 2072. For anyone not keeping track of the math, that’s thirty years into the future. They live and by die by one rule. Shoot. Don’t ask questions. Be on time and shoot. If you didn’t see this one theatrically, you’ll understand what I’m talking about when you see this one on Blu-ray. A Looper’s target must NEVER escape. That’s would be B-A-D!
So what happens when a Looper’s target escapes, you’re probably asking? Let’s just say Abe (Daniels) and crew will do unimaginable and terrible things to you. So when a Looper must decide between giving up half his stash of silver he’s been saving up for the past ten years or ratting out his best friend after failing to complete his hit, which do you think they’re going to pick? That’s an easy choice when the shoes are on the other feet, but what if that failed Looper is you? Like they say in Taken…Good luck!
The feature revolves around the failure of Simmons to take out his future self (Willis), which ultimately finds him both on the run and on the hunt. He’s being hunted by Abe and the hounds and is also quite busy tracking down his older self who has his own endgame. In hindsight, I guess it’s safe to say that everyone has their own agenda here. The older Johnny will do anything to prevent any harm that happens to his wife (Qing Xu) thirty years into the future and the younger version will do anything it takes to protect his own hide, his pseudo love interest (Blunt) and her estranged son, Cid (Pierce Gagnon). Now let’s take a minute to speak about young Pierce Gagnon. One word sums it up. Phenomenal. Like the little boy from The Others and the one from The Sixth Sense, Pierce steals the show here, in my opinion. And like one reviewer at Ain’t It Cool News had pointed out this past September, get ready for the OH SH1T moment of the year. Really! It’s spectacular!
So even the second time around, there’s really a lot to take in here. Like any serious time travelling plot, you really need to pay attention and make sure you follow along closely. Don’t watch this if you are tired. It’s not that its overly complex, but it’s easy to get lax in tie travelling tales sometimes. It’s lower action budget shows at times, but it’s the original story and ascending intrigue that sucks you in here and I’m going to be bold like the rest of the reviewers out here in cyberspace and say this pretty much became an instant sci-fi classic upon its theatrical release, at least in the time travel genre. It’s not balls to the wall action like the Expendables 2, but it was never intended to be. There’s enough to get your blood curdling here, so don’t fret. The action is in the forefront here. And my best advice for you if you ever find yourself in the Looper profession, especially as a Looper on the run, never ever sleep if you can help it. Time is of the essence and it’s the only friend you may have. So use it!
“Hunted by your future, haunted by your past,” I’m confident Looper will find many spins in your Blu-ray player this winter. Bruce Willis is his usual bad-a$$ self and JGL keeps proving time and time again that he’s destined for greatness in the biz. There’s really just too much sci-fi good not to like here and my word is the gospel, right? Right! So all’s fine here in the film category, but how does the A/V presentation stack up on the Blu-ray format? I’m so glad you asked that question because that’s exactly what we are about to explore without ever going over 80 MPH.
Sony Pictures brings Looper to the Blu-ray format with a presentation worthy of the finest time travelling tales. Presented with a crisp MPEG-4 AVC 1080p perfectly framed in its 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Looper is guaranteed to make the A/V enthusiast crowd very happy. Just like the Resident Evil review I tackled the other day, Looper’s Blu-ray video is nearly flawless. Skin tones are all accurate. The colors are vivid and bright throughout. Textures in skin, fabric, weapons, vehicles and even crops and vegetation pop to life in lifelike sharpness on the screen. There are no visible blemishes, marks or unwanted noise in the transfer. Perhaps my only gripe are that a couple of scenes looked soft in the darkness, but I can live with it because it’s not problematic and for the most part the black levels were deep and inky. Really, at the end of the day, it’s just another blockbuster video treatment like I have come to expect from a Sony Blu-ray presentation. Keep up the superb work guys!
Sony manages to pack quite the wallop in the audio department with their shoot em’ up DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track for Looper on the Blu-ray format. I hate to sound like a broken record, but like my Resident Evil: Retribution Blu-ray review I did the other day, Sony once again hits a grand slam in the audio department. Wow! I actually found myself turning down the audio at times. The track can be very aggressive at times. While everything is well balanced and atmospheric elements surround you in their naturalistic simplicity, it’s the action sequences and futuristic vehicles that totally strip the paint of your walls. You are engaged, to say the least. And the best part is…everything sounds realistic from the rapture of “blunderbuss” shotgun gunfire to the ambience of the serene countryside settlements. And best of all, despite everything else that’s going on in this track, the dialogue is always loud, clear and prominent. This audio presentation is a winner in every category and I for one couldn’t be happier with it. It’s like it was tailor made and genetically engineered for the finest of home viewing experiences. This is a track that will resonate as “timeless” for many years to come.
Subtitles are available in both English and Spanish.
Things aren’t as heavy hitting in the Extras department here on the Looper Blu-ray, but that’s okay. Looper has it where it counts on Blu-ray. A good story and a fine A/V presentation trumps the lack of special features any day in my opinion. So let’s stop wasting precious “time” and take a closer look at what you can find here should you choose to partake in these extracurricular activities.
- Audio Commentary: Writer/Director Rian Johnson and Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt talk about all things Looper, complete with optional English subtitles. It’s actually really quite informative and I’m glad I gave it a listen.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 36:50) – Count them! There are a total of 22 deleted scenes to be found here with optional commentary from Rian Johnson and Actor Noah Segan. The deleted scenes are as follows: Club Entrance Original Cut, Sneaking Into the Belle, Outside the Belle, Pawnshop and Belle Revisited, Kid Blue Sees Joe Rejected, Suzie Never Wants to See Joe Again, Old Seth Original Cut, It’s Not Joe, China Sequence – Original Cut, Gat in a Steel Box, Kid Blue Detective Story, Straws and Salt, Kid Blue Escapes, Sara Decides Not to Dump Joe, Meet Daniel, Evening Lessons, Canady and Kid Blue, Kesse Searches the Laundry, Old Joe Can’t Stop, Old Joe Confronts Suzie, Abe Gathers the Troops, and Sara Walks to the Field.
- The Future from the Beginning (HD, 7:52) – In this very brief featurette, the cast and crew talk about the film’s history, development and its characters.
- The Science of Time Travel (HD, 8:29): In this extra, Brian Clegg, author of How to Build a Time Machine, examines the literary history and science of time travel.
- Scoring Looper (HD, 16:18) – There are three-parts here with Composer Nathan Johnson: Field Recordings, Percussion and Melodic Instruments.
- Looper Animated Trailer (HD, 1:34) – I think the name kind of says it all, huh?
- Previews (HD): There are a total of six trailers found on this Blu-ray. They are Parker, Premium Rush, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Company of Heroes, Seven Psychopaths and Lockout.
- UltraViolet Digital Copy (SD) – Woohoo! A redemption code can be found within the Blu-ray package for your non-iTunes compatible UV digital copy of Looper.
It’s quite refreshing to see a science fiction flick actually done right. The action is well-balanced with an intelligently crafted storyline and brilliant actor performances from JGL, Blunt, Willis and the rest of the supporting actors. It’s like everyone came together and said let’s make a real movie that will make audiences think and want to come along for the thrill seeking ride despite whatever they thought of the trailer. And with a spectacular A/V presentation and satisfying Blu-ray extras, how can this be anything less than a BUY NOW? It can’t! So bend time right now and pre-order Looper on Blu-ray pronto. December 30st will be here before you know it. Why not celebrate and ring in the New Year with Looper!