Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Deaths of Ian Stone

Thought I Died and Gone to Heaven

The premise made this look like a distant cousin of movies like Groundhog Day, only that it's more bizarre, and containing an element of gore. Imagine if you wake up but find yourself living a different life from before you slept, not just repeating the last 24 hours. And each iteration actually ends in death, where you feel pain, and knowingly being hunted down. Then you rinse and repeat, with little recollection and little opportunity to figure things out before you get hit again.

Sounds interesting, right? But The Deaths of Ian Stone wasted the premise, and became a very boring movie despite the tense build up. It kept you guessing, until slowly you realize a whole host of cliches start to creep in, especially those pertaining to speeding up the narrative and to provide wholesale, verbatim explanation on things to come. Showing you is not enough, the characters have to blabber repeatedly, and you start to roll your eyes when they beat around the bush for no good reason.

Ian Stone, the titular character, is played by Mike Vogel. A teenage ice hockey jock, things start to go bump for him when he realizes that time will start to freeze, and he finds himself getting thrust forward in time, but not before suffering immense pain from creative death. The only constant that keeps him sane, is the presence of girlfriend Jenny (Christina Cole), who seem to not recognize him in his moment of awareness, as he tries hard to figure out the whos and the whys.

The posters plastered suggest creatures spawned from the imagination of Stan Winston Studio, but to give credit to the plot, it contains something a little more. While you can find little fault with the special effects and Harvester creature design, you will probably laugh at the laziness in costuming, where total rip offs from the Matrix Trilogy were adapted from, with the tight Trinity styled lycra spandex coming on screen, with the characters' hair slicked back and shades to boot as well.

Of course the theme of love is central to the story (i.e. if you have no theme, you can always fall back on love), as an emotion so powerful it can move mountains and oceans, and with new love come jealousy and envy from those around you, especially from the ones who hold the candle. As mentioned, the movie had promise and an explanation for the strange, but the delivery is suspect, and unfortunately, quite boring. After the first few iterations, you know the idea well has run dry with generic killings, and a whole amalgamation of tools being used concurrently just to inflict pain, but done off-screen. The fight sequences too are terribly bad, with lacklustre punches being thrown around, while brandishing those nicely shaped bladed hands.

The Deaths of Ian Stone is nice to look at at first, but slowly the flaws start to surface, and soon enough you'll realize just how flimsy everything had been put together. Should Harvesters be real, they could feed on the audience's collective fear of the dreadfulness the movie is heading towards. And they will be well fed.

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