Ryan Reynolds and director Shaun Levy team up for a sci-fi adventure packed with joyful action, consistent laughs and heartfelt moments aplenty. The Adam Project sees Adam (Ryan Reynolds) teaming up with his younger self (Walker Scobell) on a mission into the past to save the future.
In part an homage to classic sci-fi adventures of the 80s and 90s, The Adam Project is a bundle of fun from the moment it starts. With a mid-length runtime and rapid pace, the narrative never stops moving – going from one action scene to the next, and intercut with great heartfelt moments packing insightful pockets of character development. The story itself is surprisingly more character-driven than you’d expect for a time travelling sci-fi adventure – giving us plenty of insight into Adam’s life and how the events of his past (and future) have shaped him. It’s a delightfully refreshing film – sticking to the mould of the genre, but doing enough with its characters to be unique. In terms of hitting familiar beats, it largely goes where you’d expect it to go and is thus very easy to follow – but what makes The Adam Project stand out from other similar adventures is its ability to just have fun. It doesn’t waste time trying to explain the nitty-gritty of its time travel rules, rather it focuses on fun character interactions, flashy action scenes and most importantly – a meaningful narrative.
It’s so easy for these types of films to settle for being mindless action extravaganzas – which is fine in some cases. Many of them also try to squeeze in some sort of barebones emotional arc that just never quite hits – mainly because these arcs aren’t integral to the narrative, they’re just forced in to give characters a little extra weight. In The Adam Project, the emotion and touching moments are integral to the story through every act. This film is as much about the futuristic combat and world-saving mission as it is about one man connecting emotionally to his past and learning to move past the stage of grief. As I mentioned, this caught me off-guard, but in a good way. It gave the story some added depth and had me genuinely caring about the wellbeing of every single character.
When the story isn’t tugging on those heart strings, it’s putting a huge smile on your face with some explosive action scenes and great comedic beats. There’s no doubting Ryan Reynolds’ comedic abilities – he’s a hilarious guy – but it’s his constant back and forth with the young Walker Scobell that makes for countless hilarious moments. Their banter carries throughout the entire film, even in the middle of action sequences. From witty lines of dialogue to a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, their dynamic enhances each and every scene tenfold. In terms of the action, there’s plenty of fun sequences around every corner, and it’s an exciting throwback to the sci-fi adventures of old (with some very on-the-nose references). The final standoff is the only action scene that wasn’t quite as exciting as the others, feeling a little too formulaic, but otherwise every other chase sequence and fight scene hit the mark.
Performances are all great across the board, including the aforementioned Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell. I might just add that this young kid is going to be a star if he keeps dishing out projects like this, because he’s a standout. Even the likes of Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo (all of whom are on the poster) have some great moments – each contributing to the heart of the film in some great ways. The one who got the short end of the stick in this film is Catherine Keener, who plays the villainous Maya Sorian. The character just isn’t compelling as a villain, and is very one-dimensional when considering how fleshed out our other main characters are. I should also mention that there’s some de-ageing work done on one of the characters which is… to put it lightly… horrible. At first it’s okay – noticeable, but passable – but from there it gets worse to the point where it’s hard to focus on anything else in the scene. Aside from that, I don’t really have any other gripes.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed The Adam Project. It doesn’t present much that’s insanely new to the sci-fi genre, but it offers an undoubtedly fun adventure packed with heart, excitement and plenty of laughs to go around. Ryan Reynolds does what he does best – dishing out more of his trademark comedic style – this time with Walker Scobell at his side contributing to the comedy just as well. There’s tonnes of fun to be had with this film, which is just a straight-up good time from beginning to end – and if you’re one to get emotional, maybe bring the tissues.