In the years since his novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP' was brought to the screen as BLADE RUNNER (1982), Philip K. Dick's paranoid, futuristic works have frequently made the same leap---sometimes as brainy puzzlers (OPEN YOUR EYES, A SCANNER DARKLY), but more often as star-powered action vehicles (TOTAL RECALL, PAYCHECK). NEXT (based very loosely on Dick's short story "The Golden Man") falls squarely in the latter category, with always-game Nicolas Cage as Cris Johnson, a man with the ability to see two minutes into the future. Afraid that all sorts of frightening demands will be made on him if the true scope of his ability becomes known, Johnson limits the use of his powers to a hokey, third-rate Vegas stage show and reading slot machines to gauge their payouts. Meanwhile, terrorists have imported a nuclear device into the U.S., with the intention of detonating it in a major metropolitan area, and F.B.I. agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) has discovered that Cris's ability is no fake and that he might be able to prevent the disaster. Unfortunately for Cris, he has just met Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel), a gorgeous schoolteacher who gets more involved in this international intrigue than she had any intention to.
Lee Tamahori (DIE ANOTHER DAY) keeps NEXT's action coming at an admirable clip, fully exploiting the film's gimmick of several possible outcomes to every major crossroads that Cris encounters. Enough things explode, drive fast, and roll down hillsides to satiate any action fan looking for a well-oiled thrill machine. Cage and Moore are their usual likeable screen personas, Biel's Liz Cooper is a suitably crushworthy romantic interest, and Mark Isham's (CRASH, THE BLACK DAHLIA) score provides perfect accompaniment to the proceedings.
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