Attack of the Clones
Michael Bay was already known for bombastic action movies like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor with uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, but The Island was something of a departure from Bay’s successful formula. This time Bruckheimer was out and genetic clones on the run were in.
Bay’s attempt at doing something more story based instead of just the usual explosions is admirable, but inevitably doomed to failure (after all, Bay is all about the explosions. He built his career on them). So the plot, involving Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and his realization that his community is populated with clones built for spare parts has little action in the first half, but by the midway point Bay is up to his old tricks.
Oh well. The opening scenes set in the utopian underground facility offer a nice introduction to Lincoln and his fellow unsuspecting clones. They’ve all grown to adults in the space of months in case their rich human counterparts need a precious organ, and been kept underground because the surface air is polluted. The only safe haven is a place called The Island and placements are only given out via the lottery.
Except The Island doesn’t exist and the lottery is just an excuse for Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean in Bland American mode) to extract clones for harvesting without them being missed. Lincoln confides in Merrick that he’s unhappy with the facility’s daily routine – same white clothes, no bacon at breakfast – and is having nightmares about going to The Island. He also seems to have memories belonging to his sponsor (also played by McGregor).
Although the child-like clones aren’t made aware of sex, Lincoln is good friends with Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson). When he witnesses a pregnant clone being murdered for her baby, Lincoln escapes with Jordan to the outside world and tracks down his maintenance worker pal James to give him answers about the facility.
James (Bay regular Steve Buscemi) explains why the clones were created and the two fugitives then try to outrun Merrick’s mercenaries, while at the same time trying to find their human ‘sponsors’ (cue a neat in-joke where Johansson’s character sees herself in a perfume ad on TV). The chase section is where Bay feels more at home: he even has a bigger version of the freeway chase he’d already done in Bad Boys 2.