Looper Blu-ray Review
There are three main stars in LOOPER; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and the story. With all due respect to Gordon-Levitt and Willis, the wonderfully original story from Rian Johnson is what people are going to remember after they watch LOOPER. Time travel movies are the trickiest of all science-fiction films, with plot holes popping up like land mines everywhere you turn. But Johnson does a fantastic job of either covering up those plot holes or avoiding them completely. The result is a fun, intelligent time travel actioner featuring great performances and exciting direction.
Without getting into too much detail, LOOPER follows the life of Joe, played young by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and older by Bruce Willis. Joe is a looper, an assassin that works for mobsters of the future who send back their victims so he can dispose of them without a trace. Loopers get paid well, but the only catch is that at some point, they will have to kill their future selves. But when they do, they get to go on and live their life however they want. In Joe’s case, he hesitates and his older self gets away, setting off a chase as young Joe hunts old Joe, old Joe tries to track down a little boy and the mobsters they work for hunt both of them.
Are there plot holes and things that don’t quite make sense? Absolutely, especially if you subscribe to the Butterfly effect theory (where small, seemingly unimportant events have a huge impact on other events), then it would be virtually impossible to make a time travel movie that makes sense. But Johnson does address this by having the older Joe’s memories fade almost as soon as he gets sent back. There’s also the added twist of young Joe creating memories for old Joe, which only works if you believe that this new version of young Joe would actually grow up and make the same decisions as this old Joe. But this is already getting complicated and like old Joe told young Joe in the diner; “I don’t want to talk about time travel because if we start talking about it then we’re going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws.” However, even if you dive head first into the time travel aspects, I still feel Rian Johnson covered his bases pretty well.
The film is aided greatly by the performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who completely gives himself to the role. Wearing prosthetics to look more like Bruce Willis, JGL didn’t stop there. In a move reminiscent of Nicolas Cage and John Travolta in FACE/OFF, JGL actually mimicked Willis’s mannerisms, making it even more believable that he was facing his future self. Bruce Willis also reminded us that he’s an A-list star, appearing in what are arguably the two greatest sci-fi time travel movies of the past 25 years (the other being 12 MONKEYS). As great as JGL and Willis were, special mention goes to Emily Blunt for her conflicted role as the mother of a potentially dangerous kid. She played it perfectly, playing the part with love, fear, confidence and concern all at the same time.
If you’ve read more than a couple of critics reviews or perused some movie fan sites such as this, then the most common complaint you’ve read is that Hollywood isn’t original anymore. Sequels and TV adaptations are the easy way out now and we’re constantly inundated with movies we don’t want. But LOOPER is the exception and it almost feels as if it were made for anyone who has ever said Hollywood isn’t original. Is it a perfect movie? Not exactly, but it’s still a fantastic film, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. LOOPER is one that you’ll want to watch again and again.
Video: LOOPER looked beautiful on Blu-ray, with the various settings coming through in perfect detail.
Audio: LOOPER’s audio track is magnificent, utilizing the surround channels efficiently and fully immersing the audience into the film.
Commentary with Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt: If you’re on the fence about purchasing LOOPER on Blu-ray, then this commentary track (along with the deleted scenes) should be enough to make a purchase worth your hard earned cash. Blunt shows up a little late to the fun, but together with Johnson and Gordon-Levitt, these three offer a great commentary that covers all aspects of the film and is actually enjoyable to listen to.
Deleted Scenes (36:49): Part of me felt LOOPER should have been about 30 minutes longer and the discarded material is generously provided here. I liked the pacing of LOOPER, but some of these scenes were pretty good and could have been inserted into the film seamlessly.
The Future from the Beginning (7:53): This is kind of a fluff piece where the cast and crew gush about each other and LOOPER.
The Science of Time Travel (8:27): The author of ‘How to Build a Time Machine’, Brian Clegg, discusses the rules of time travel and the many instances time travel has appeared in literature over the years. I didn’t know who Clegg is, but this is a fun featurette for those wanting more on time travel even if it doesn’t have much to do, specifically, with LOOPER.
Scoring Looper (16:16): Divided into three mini-featurettes, composer Nathan Johnson goes through the various processes of scoring LOOPER.
Looper Animated trailer and Previews