Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
Plot: A fighter pilot from the dystopian future of 2050 who is on the run from the evil ruler travels back to 2022 and meets his 12-year-old self.
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead
Review: There are some movies I watch and ten minutes in I know that I am going to enjoy it. And that was my experience with The Adam Project. The film, directed by Shawn Levy (Night of the Museum, Real Steel, Stranger Things, Free Guy), stars Ryan Reynolds as mouthy time pilot Adam Reed with Walter Scobell playing his mouthy, bullied 12-year-old self. Now Reynolds is known for his quippy shtick which reached its apotheosis (fancy word alert) as the titular “merc with a mouth” in the Deadpool films. And we do get our share of that here but it is thankfully dialed back from Red Notice levels, allowing for the dramatic side to shine through. Scobell is a delightful mini-me version of Reynolds and the two trading barbs hits more than it misses. And the two have a breezy chemistry that is entertaining throughout.
The rest of the cast are no slouches either. Hulk himself Mark Ruffalo is solid as Mark’s driven quantum physicist father Louis, Jennifer Garner is sweet as Adam’s stressed mother Ellie, the always fun Zoe Saldaña is a hoot as Adam’s gun-toting wife Laura, Catherine Keener brings some nuance to her portrayal of dystopian leader Maya Sorian, and Alex Mallari Jr., who featured in the criminally cancelled Syfy series Dark Matter, makes for a palpable threat as Maya’s security officer Christos. This may have be a Netflix film but nobody phoned in their performances here.
The visual effects and action are also well done. I loved the look of the time jets with its mix of modern and futuristic. The visual effects of the jets’ cloaking and uncloaking looked convincing and I enjoyed the thrilling chases in the skies. On the ground we have a mix of high tech weapons (including something that looks like a lightsaber but doesn’t work like one) and good-old fashioned guns and fisticuffs. I really enjoyed the set pieces as the action was clear, frenetic and well-choreographed. The armour worn by Maya’s enforcers and the time “disappearing” effect could have been a little more visually interesting, but it’s not too bad.
And speaking of time, the film keeps its time travel physics relatively simple. It’s not going to even tickle the old cerebellum but it works for the story. And there is a sense of wonder and adventure that took me back to 1980s Sci Fi films like The Last Starfighter and Flight of the Navigator. They don’t make them like those anymore and I enjoyed the slight flavour of nostalgia in The Adam Project, intentional or not.
The main plot is nothing revolutionary but the focus is less on the Sci Fi elements and more on the heart. And this film has a surprising amount of heart. There is a contemplation on loss, grieving and how our lives are shaped by the choices we make. This is what took the film over the top for me, as while I enjoyed the adrenaline pumping Sci Fi action it is the truly touching character interactions that will bring me back to The Adam Project. I’m not crying; you’re crying!
Netflix definitely has a winner on its hand with this one and while watching I thought, “I would not have minded checking this out on the big screen.” And that, folks, makes The Adam Project a success in my books.
Editor Jules’s Score: 8 out of 10
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Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.