Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Mathew Goode and Natalie Martinez. Written by David and Alex Pastor, directed by Tarsem Singh. 116 minutes long.
Back in 1966 John Frankenheimer directed a superb little thriller about an unhappy, late-middle-aged advertising executive called Arthur Hamilton who is approached by a shady organisation called The Company and given the opportunity to a second life through extensive reconstructive plastic surgery and mental and physical reconditioning. His life has become mundane, his marriage just a memory of itself, his daughter now grown up has long since flown the coup and he doesn't see that much of her anymore and his life is boring. So his death is faked and the old Arthur Hamilton becomes a 'reborn' and is transformed into Tony Wilson a wealthy, successful Bohemian painter and so begins a life of hedonistic excess as Arthur/Tony begins to live a life he denied himself the first time round. But sadly he begins to miss his old life and in particular his wife and old life and so he breaks the rules of the Reborn and tries to reconnect with his old wife. He tries to break free and the Company is forced to act, they apprehend him, take him back to their top secret base and an intense conversation between the head of the Company, Tony and the man who originally suggested him for the procedure discuss what happens next. Tony having rejected his Second life asks for another and the film ends with one of the most genuinely terrifying sequences I have ever seen. One that leaves you numb and shaken to the core.
Self/less is the utterly unnecessary 21st Century remake of that superb and vastly superior film. This time round, cancer-ridden, business tycoon and billionaire, Damien Hayes, Ben Kingsley is approached by a shady organisation and given the opportunity to a second life through a body transplant and mental and physical reconditioning and he is reborn as Edward Hale (Ryan Reynolds), a financially and independently wealthy young man and so begins a life of hedonistic excess as Damien/Edward lives a life he denied himself the first time round. But sadly he begins to tire of his new life and he starts to reject his new body leading to an action-packed chase across the country as he discovers his new body was actually someone else's and that that someone had his own life including a wife and child. Now the shady organisation has unleashed its army of killers to kill Edward. Luckily, Edward was once a superb US Navy Seal/Marine/whatever who, just when he needs it remembers his past life including perfect ninja/shooting/killing/driving skills and so we can have a nice action-packed third act. All before the soapy ending that leaves you meh to the core.
Directed by Tarsem Singh who used to be a really interesting and visually dazzling director this is a generic/homogonised gloop of a movie with nothing beyond the obvious to recommend it, guns, car chases blah blah blah. So interesting ideas/issues are given over to guns/flamethrowers and action. There are a couple of attempts at something more but those are soon smothered.
Give it a miss and watch the infinitely superior Seconds, sure it's in black/white but boy it'll give it's got a kicker you'll still be thinking about months after you've watched it, whereas you forget about Self/Less's kicker just as soon as the credits start.