Friday, 28 March 2014



Because it doesn't really matter. This is a film with none of those nasty rough edges: minimal swearing, minimal sexiness, minimal violence, a bland, wipe-clean sheet of machine-rolled plastic that couldn't hurt you if it was thrown in your face by a ninja. It's entirely safe, hollow and meaningless; 105 minutes of generic production-line emptiness. That's not to say it's terrible, that's not to say it's not passably entertaining while it's on, just that it's never anything more than a 12-certificate factory product.

I don't even know why it's called Paranoia: it should just be given a barcode. Liam Hemsworth is the buff computer whizz who's railroaded by his evil (and inexplicably Cockney) ex-CEO Gary Oldman into stealing a revolutionary cellphone prototype from his old rival Harrison Ford, otherwise Liam's looking at ten years for credit card fraud and his dad Richard Dreyfuss isn't coming off that oxygen tank any time soon. Can Liam perform a Mission: Impossible heist in the few minutes he can get the security cameras offline? Meanwhile the FBI are after him, and his new girlfriend, senior executive Amber Heard, is starting to suspect him....

There's nothing wrong with Paranoia; it's merely that it's never any better than that. Whenever Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss and Gary Oldman are on screen the film picks up, because they know how to lift the material and put the serifs on the script's Arial typeface. It's directed by Robert Luketic, who made the similarly "whatever" Killers, a film with nothing on its mind except the arguably godlike physique of Ashton Kutcher and some safe, easily marketed action thrills. This is just as perfunctory, just as anonymous, just as devoid of personality. But while it's on, it's enjoyable enough in its way: chases, ticking clocks, plot twists, ruthless assassins, technological whizzery that's no more plausible than the sonic screwdriver. For a Friday night with some big name stars not exactly stretching themselves for the paycheque, it's fine.


They are out to get you.

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