Next almost saves itself in the final minutes of the film when Cris leads the FBI team into a warehouse in pursuit of the terrorist. He taps the FBI shooters on the shoulders and points out hidden snipers before they get shot, which looks really cool. But the best effect of all is when Cris volunteers to clear a section and scope out all the possibilities. The special effects that show him splitting into two or three different selves at the juncture of every hallway or stairwell is amazing. To reveal my comic book nerdiness, I immediately thought of Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, of Marvel Comics’ X-Factor title. Now those scene fired on all cylinders and really works.
But in the end it’s Cage’s flat delivery of the character and Julianne Moore’s perfunctory walkthrough of her character that fails to inspire viewers. However, the problems ultimately result from the script because not enough was done, and what was done was immediately predictable. There were nice bits. Cage’s magic tricks look flawless (and you can see him act with his real-life wife in the opening sequences during the magic show). Biel’s performance was really good, but in roles like this she’s a natural.
The HD-DVD presentation is stunning. The scenes shot in the mountains are breathtaking and magnificent. The beautiful scenery just swells onto the screen and makes you actually forget you’re watching a movie for a time. Also, the action sequences of the avalanche pouring down the mountain are sharp and filled with details that require a high-def presentation to show everything.
Although Next is nothing spectacular in execution or story, it is highly watchable. At an hour and a half long, it spins through the story effortlessly and pulls the viewer through the events effortlessly if not in a wholly engaging delivery. I enjoyed the movie and will watch it again, but it’s not something everyone will be happy with. If you want a light, action-based movie with a hint of predictability so you don’t have to strain to keep up, this is a great movie for buddy-night or just relaxing entertainment.