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Looper (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 26, 2012 by  



Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is an exciting sci-fi action film with a clever storyline with many twists and turns.  And on Blu-ray, the film looks and sounds incredible.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Looper Distribution, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Looper

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 119 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English – Audio Description Track, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Strong Violence, Language, Some Sexuality and Drug Content)

Release Date: December 31, 2012

Directed by Rian Johnson

Written by Rian Johnson

Produced by Ram Bergman, James D. Stern

Co-Producer: Christopher C. Chen, Eleanor Nett, Lucas Smith

Executive Producer: Julie Goldstein, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Douglas Hansen, Dan Mintz

Line Producer: David Pomier

Music by Nathan Johnson

Cinematography by Steve Yedlin

Edited by Bob Ducsay

Casting by Lindsay Graham, Mary Vernieu

Production Design by Ed Verreaux

Art Direction by James A. Gelarden

Costume Design by Sharen Davis

Starring:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe

Bruce Willis as Old Joe

Emily Blunt as Sara

Paul Dano as Seth

Noah Segan as Kid Blue

Piper Perabo as Suzie

Jeff Daniels as Abe

Pierce Gagnon as Cid

Qing Xu as Old Joe’s Wife

Tracie Torns as Beatrix

Frank Brennan as Old Seth

In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented  but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past where a looper  a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)  is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is gooduntil the day the mob decides to close the loop, sending back Joes future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson and also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels.

From filmmaker/writer Rian John (director of “The Brothers Bloom”, “Brick”) comes the sci-fi action film “Looper”.

Starring Bruce Willis (“Die Hard” films, “Sin City”), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“(500) Days of Summer”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Premium Rush”) and Emily Blunt (“The Devil Wears Prada”, “The Young Victoria”, “The Adjustment Bureau”), “Looper” was released in theaters in Sept. 2012 and budgeted around $30 million, the film went on to gross over $166 million in the box office.

And now “Looper” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in Dec. 2012.

“Looper” is a film that takes place in 2044.  The United States has suffered its worse economic collapse and organized crime has run rampant.  Also, a strange mutation had occurred on the planet in which 10% of the population began to have a limited use of telekinetic powers.

Thirty years in the future, time travel has been invented but because of other countries and crime organizations wanting to use it for their own use, time travel has been outlawed.  Also, in the future, people have tracking technology, so people can be found immediately.

For crime organizations, they have come up with a plan to dispose bodies secretly by using time machine technology and sending targets to criminals known as Loopers in 2044.  Targets are attached with silver, sent back to the past and the Loopers kill the target, dispose of the body and the Loopers get paid for their work.

But while Loopers can reap the benefits of using this money for the present, when crime bosses want to eliminate any trail of a looper, they “Close the Loop” by sending the looper back to the past and they are killed by their former selves.  But by closing the loop, a looper is given gold in order to compensate for their duty and live the next 30-years of their lives in retirement.

Back in 2044, a Looper named Joe Simmons (portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a paid hire who has done his fair share of killing targets and have made a good living for himself.  Working for Abe (portrayed by Jeff Daniels; a boss from the future who manages the Loopers), he and his buddy Seth (portrayed by Paul Dano) do their job, get drunk or get drugged up and have fun.  And for Joe, he enjoys the time he spends with a show girl named Suzie (portrayed by Piper Perabo).

But one night, life changes for Joe when Seth is ordered to kill a target.  When the target starts singing a song, Seth realizes that it’s his future self and he must “close the loop”.  But instead, he talks to his future self and is warned that in the future, a crime boss known as the Rainmaker is out to destroy all Loopers.

Seth is unable to kill his future self and frees him.  Seth goes to Joe’s home, knowing that Abe will be sending the Gat Men to find him.  So, Joe hides him in his secret hideout.

But when Joe is taken to meet with Abe, Abe is from the future and already knows that Joe has hidden Seth and is given an ultimatum, to surrender half of the silver he has stashed in his hidden room or to tell them where the location of Seth is.  And not wanting to lose all the silver he has worked for, Joe betrays his friend.  And in the process, because they have control of Seth’s present body, the can easily kill his future self in the process.

When Joe goes out on his next job to kill a target, what shocks him is that the target is not there on time.  But when he appears, Joe is shocked that the man is his future self (portrayed by Bruce Willis) and unsuccessfully tries to kill his future self.  As future Joe escapes, he goes to find information on three addresses and gets a printout.

We then see a brief story of what had happened to Joe in the next 30-years.  Joe moves to China, helps out the triad and takes out targets in that area.  This is where he meets his Chinese wife (portrayed by Xu Qing), who cleans him up and frees him from the drugs and the bad life that he was in.  But because his boss wants to close the loop, future Joe is selected to go back in time to be killed.

But unfortunately, during the melee, his wife is shot and killed by the Gat Men.  Future Joe manages to disarm and kill the Gat Men and knows he must go back into the past and have his past self from 2044 change the future, in order to have his wife live.

As future Joe and present Joe meetup, future Joe tells Present Joe that in the future, one man has the special ability to kill people.  No army, but by himself.  He has killed most of the Loopers and now he wants to prevent the tragedy that occurred in the future to his wife and wants present Joe to find and kill the Rainmaker, who is supposed to be a child in the present.  He presents him three addresses where the Rain Maker lives and random numbers which he is not sure what they are but the numbers will reveal who the Rainmaker is.

But present Joe is not so interested in helping Future Joe, he wants to close the loop and get back the life he once had.  When a fight ensues between both Joe’s, future Joe takes his map but present Joe manages to tear off part of it.   Abe’s Gat Men arrive but not just to kill Future Joe but also to kill present Joe and both manage to escape.

And while Future Joe goes to find and kill the children on two of the addresses that he finds, present Joe heads off to the address that he has on the map, so he can kill future Joe when he arrives.  Present Joe goes to a farming area which is owned by a woman named Sara Rollins (portrayed by Emily Blunt), who lives alone with her son Cid (portrayed by Pierce Gagnon).

While present Joe ends up befriending Sara and her little son Cid, we start to learn that Cid is not a normal boy.  He may be able to use a higher percentage of telekinetic power that can destroy anything in its path when he is angered.

But will future Joe get to the Cid first or will present Joe save the kid and kill his future self?

VIDEO:

“Looper” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1) and picture quality for this film is fantastic.  A good amount of grain, wonderful detail when it comes to closeups, especially seeing the makeup design in order to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis have facial similarities.   Colors look natural, there is good amount of detail throughout the film, may it be skin detal, weapon detail or clothing in general, there is amazing detail and clarity with this film.  And videophiles should be pleased of how awesome “Looper” looks on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

And as one expects from an action film, “Looper” is immersive!  Presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and an English Audio Descriptive track, everything from ambience to the many gunfire and shotgun rifle blasts sound amazingly clear through the surround channels.  Dialogue is crystal clear, music is also clear and showcase really good bass.  But it’s the amount of gunfire that is prominently displayed throughout the film.  Amazing lossless soundtrack and those who have the hardware to showcase the lossless audio, will be pleased!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Looper” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring a very informative audio commentary with director/writer Rian Johnson and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt.
  • Deleted Scenes– (36:50) Featuring 22 deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary from director/writer Rian Johnson and actor Noah Segan.  Seventeen deleted scenes are Blu-ray exclusives.
  • The Future from the Beginning – (7:52) A featurette featuring the cast and crew talking about the making of “Looper”, the use of prosthetics and makeup design to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis look similar and more!
  • The Science of Time Travel – (8:29) A Blu-ray exclusive. Author Brian Clegg (“How to Build a Time Machine” discusses time travel and the rules of time travel.
  • Scoring Looper – (16:18) Composer Nathan Johnson (brother of director Rian Johnson) talks about the field recordings, percussion and melodic instruments.
  • Looper Animated Trailer – (1:34) An animated trailer for “Looper”.

EXTRAS:

“Looper” comes with an UltraViolet code which allows you to download the movie to your computer and select Apple and Android devices and stream to computers, tables or smartphones. Also, included is a slipcover case.

There are many films about time travel, sentimental to action-driven films.  And part of the challenge of a writer is to create a sci-fi action film without being too banal.

Fortunately, writer/director Rian Johnson has crafted an intriguing sci-fi action film in which time travel is banned in the future and also a future that has been taken over by criminal organizations and 10% of the society which has gained special telekinetic (TK)) powers.

It sounds so far out of left field and I admit being a bit skeptical when I first saw the trailer for this film, but having watched the film now, I realize that Johnson has crafted and original and unique storyline that I never expected to see, and the fact that it was so different, exciting and provided an action-packed storyline but wasn’t filled with too much action or special effects and integrated a fascinating storyline made “Looper” a film that was much better than what I was expecting.

In this day and age of special effects and popcorn action films, the whole entire concept of criminal organizations using time machines for illegal purposes, especially transporting people targeted for assassinations through a time machine from 2074 to 2044 for execution by Loopers was interesting.

But it’s the actual meeting of present and future Joe that is surprising.  Most films tend to show a present and future version of themselves, working together for the greater good.  Considering that present Joe (portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a criminal and that future Joe (portrayed by Bruce Willis) is a former criminal thanks to his loving wife who changed him, it’s a different take because it becomes criminal vs. criminal but who in the end will be on top?

While future Joe has changed to become a better man, it’s the fact that he has come back to the past to kill the “Rain Maker” that makes the story quite interesting because the “Rain Maker” in 2044 is a young child.  And because he doesn’t know which child will be the Rain Maker, he goes after three addresses to kill all children.  This reminds you of “The Terminator” when The Terminator goes to all addresses killing anyone named Sarah Conner but it’s hard to sympathize with future Joe because he’s going to kill innocent children for his “greater good” (no rain maker, no tyranny.  No rain maker, his wife survives).

While present Joe just wants to kill his future self but when he finds out the boy he is protecting or has become friends with is the “Rain Maker”, especially in Damian-esque fashion of a child that exceeds the 10% TK threshold and can have a human being explode, suffice to say, these are situations that I never expected to see for this film.

And it’s those unexpected twists that made “Looper” so entertaining!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become an actor in recent years that gets better and better and as for Bruce Willis, he’s one of the best action stars of all time!  Jeff Daniels moment in the film is quite short, but Emily Blunt was wonderful as the single mother and interesting to see Piper Perabo in her first nude prostitute scene.  But “Looper” features a solid cast who did a great job in the film!

And as for the Blu-ray release, picture quality and lossless audio are fantastic!  There are a good number of special features included but if anything stayed in my head during my viewing of this film, it’s the immersive soundtrack with gunshots galore and the wonderful makeup design and prosthetic use of trying to make Levitt look closer to Bruce Willis.

Overall, Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is an exciting sci-fi action film with a clever storyline with many twists and turns.  And on Blu-ray, the film looks and sounds incredible.  Recommended!

 






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