Movie Review: SELF/LESS – Ryan Reynolds Sci-fi disappointment…

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Self/Less is a sci-fi thriller that i was really looking forward to seeing for two reasons, one being that i usually like Ryan Reynolds work, ‘usually’….. and the main reason being that this film had an incredible interesting premise with a lot of potential. Unfortunately for the film it got this very smart and interesting idea that could have made for a very entertaining sci-fi film and took it in entirely the wrong direction. There were so many cool things they could have done with the idea of being able to transfer your consciousness into a younger body to live longer but they turn away from all good opportunities in favour of a dull plot and uninteresting action scenes. I was completely invested in the first 20-25 minutes of this movie, it had all of the sci-fi elements i wanted to see and looked like it was setting itself up to be great. But then it completely dropped almost all those sci-fi elements and became a generic action film / escort plot that has been done so many times before. There was a very interesting direction taken with one of the side characters that was exactly what i wanted to see happen with the protagonist, it would have made for some awesome scenes if only they went in that direction. I won’t say what it is for that delves into spoiler territory.

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One thing i have enjoyed about ‘most’ Ryan Reynolds movies is that there is a bit of fun in the film, some lighthearted moments and he has usually been pretty good at bringing those moments into his films. But this film had none of that and it desperately needed it. It took itself so seriously and you are dealing with a concept that is extremely unrealistic so having a bit of fun with it would have kept people engaged. The dull tones just make the movie feel very very long and it probably was almost 20 minutes too long on top of that. They dropped the ball early on by ditching the sci-fi elements then they just went and lost the ball completely with a ridiculous finale set-piece and a predictable ending i saw from a mile away.

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But not everything about the film the film was bad. As well as the first 20-25 minutes i thought Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, and Matthew Goode were just good in their roles. Nothing too spectacular and new from them but they were pretty bearable for most of the movie. Reynolds did a good job i thought at channeling his character although i couldn’t see any resemblance between the personality he had and the one Ben Kingsley had. Being the same person they should have the same personality but i didn’t see that, they came across as almost completely different people. But that was just a minor thing. Natalie’s character also does have a few brain fades and becomes a damsel in distress but that is of course the writers fault.

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So this film was poised to be one of the better sci-fi thrillers of the year an until 25 minutes in i was convinced that it was going to be. But it dropped the ball and turned into a boring action film with a lifeless plot and terribly predictable finale. The ‘good’ performances give the film a bit of merit but not enough to save it, maybe if they used Ben Kingsley some more that could have bumped it up a little bit, but they didn’t. So….. that was severely underwhelming…… If you are looking for a good sci-fi film, check out ‘Ex Machina’ instead – 4.3/10

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