Bruce is back with popcorn thrills

A steely Bruce Willis is on a machine gun-packing revenge mission in LOOPER (15: EI Entertainment), a witty sci-fi thriller that brims with ideas and energy.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 26th January 2013, 2:31 pm

Set in 2044, the film co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, a low-grade hitman charged with killing and disposing of gangster targets sent back through time from 30 years in the future.

But when his older self (Willis) appears, and promptly escapes, Joe has to find and kill himself before the mob does.

The head-spinning time-travel storyline sounds complex – and it is – but the action is kept pumping as Young Joe gets on the trail of Old Joe, who is stalking a shadowy figure called The Rainmaker.

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Feisty love interest is provided by Emily Blunt as the farm girl who takes pity on Joe the younger.

This fast-paced and gritty movie will satisfy not only those in search of popcorn thrills, but also viewers looking for an intelligent genre film that poses smart, subtle questions about destiny and identity.

> A permanent sense of deja vu has been created by writer/director Paul WS Anderson with his Resident Evil video game-based franchise.

Milla Jovovich’s zombie-slaying heroine Alice returns for RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (15: Sony), the glossy, yet tedious, fifth instalment.

There’s a procession of explosions, gunfire and gore as Alice encounters figures from her past when she races to escape from the virus-spawning Umbrella Corporation’s underground research facility.

It mainly involves set-piece battles through an undead-populated series of simulated test environments – Tokyo, suburban America etc – which makes watching the film feel like looking over the shoulder of someone playing on their Xbox.

The detached experience is compounded by wooden acting and disposable characters. Even the souped-up mutant zombies barely register.

> A mysterious man spends a day being driven around Paris in a limousine in HOLY MOTORS (18: Artificial Eye), a real head-scratcher that combines bouts of tedium and pretentious excess with fabulously surreal images and grandiose spasms of inspiration.

Every time the car stops, the character (Denis Lavant) adops a new identity, ranging from an assassin to a beggar woman, as he experiences a series of strange encounters with the city’s residents.

With an accordion intermission, Eva Mendes in a burka, Edith Scob as the chauffeur and Kylie Minogue as an air stewardess, this eccentric rant about technology taking over humanity is a total mess but has enough hypnotic power to hold your attention.

> Demons and ghouls come out to play in horror flick V/H/S (18: Momentum), in which a stranger hires a group of roughnecks to break into a house and steal a valuable videotape.

The crooks find a dead body and a vast collection of VHS tapes, and as they watch the cassettes to find the one they’re looking for, they are confronted with increasingly twisted footage of violent incidents. Gruesome, creepy and unnerving, this set of six tales, each from a different director, lingers long after the lights go up.