Picks and Pans Review: The Island

updated 08/01/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/01/2005 01:00AM

Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi

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A clone by any other name is still a clone. And so it is with The Island, a futuristic thriller about human carbon copies on the run that, while slickly entertaining, cribs from the DNA of such earlier and better science fiction films as Minority Report, Gattaca and even Arnold Schwarzenegger's The 6th Day. McGregor stars as Lincoln Six-Echo, a fellow confined to a sealed, luxury dormlike facility along with other survivors of a supposed apocalyptic contamination of Earth. The only way out: winning a lottery that sends one to an island paradise where the air is still clean. But an inquisitive Lincoln soon learns that neither the island nor he himself are as advertised. Given his first name, even those slow to pick up on symbolism will figure out that our hero is destined to seek freedom.

Though it's the least bombastic film yet from director Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor and Bad Boys I and II), Island suffers from lapses in logic and a surfeit of lengthy chase scenes. (Why not just insert a brief title card marked, "Chase here; full version available on DVD" and then get on with the film?) But as summer movies go, it's diverting and sleek-looking, and McGregor delivers a sly, resourceful performance. Johansson, as a fellow inmate, is luscious to gaze upon but has little to do. (PG-13)

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