Even a broken clock is right twice a day…
Putting his personal predilections aside for now, after last year’s The Disaster Artist I was admittedly interested in taking a deeper look into the directorial efforts of one James Franco, if only because he seems to work at a clip that would put most Olympic sprinter’s to shame. However those athletes unlike Franco actually seem to have a little bit of shame. With Future World what we see along with his directing partner Bruce Thierry Chung (who also co-wrote) is a low budget Mad Max retread with terrible dialogue, little to no visual effects, a plot that barely makes sense with Franco getting to run across the desert screaming expletives at one another trying desperately to be edgy dystopian science-fiction when it’s really someone stepping in a pile of poop…then insisting that they can’t smell anything as they track in over your carpet.
Inside a desert oasis, a queen (Lucy Liu) lays dying as her son Prince (Jeffrey Wahlberg) travels across barren waste lands to find a near-mythical medicine to save her life. While evading violent raiders on motorbikes led by the Warlord (James Franco) and his enforcer (Cliff “Method Man” Smith), Prince meets Ash (Suki Waterhouse), the Warlord’s robot sex companion-assassin who betrays the Warlord in search of her own soul. Prince is subsequently captured by the Drug lord (Milla Jovovich), the Warlord’s forces roar in; and Prince fights to save the remnants of Ash’s humanity.
It’s rare that I’ve actually seen a lazier movie then this, which would ironically include Tommy Wiseau’s The Room which Franco so brilliantly wrote a very sincere love letter to in The Disaster Artist, but it just doesn’t work when you are trying to be post-apocalyptic trashy nonsense, because quite frankly you have to take the universe that these characters are existing seriously for it to work as slutty yet dystopian action sci-fi post-apocalyptic nonsense. It reeks of lazy, I mean REEKS of lazy self-entitled auteurism.
The script is simply thread bare, with very little going for it. Even if this is a misguided effort at either paying a low budget tribute to or quietly lampooning the George Miller Mad Max series you can’t do that with a story that feels lifted from a hip hop video in the mid-90’s…and what’s worse you’ve got to hip-hop icons (Snoop Dogg and Method Man) from the 90’s in the damn movie!
Occasionally there’s a nice looking shot, but most of the film is either unexposed visually, obviously borrowing from a myriad of other films that came before it or just trying to create a bunch of low-rent shocking moments that are supposed to be risqué, but are really only tepid attempts with directors at the helm who are more concerned with amusing themselves then actually trying to make a solid piece of art and/or entertainment.
Franco snarls, swears and acts as swarthy as he can throughout all this nonsense but it plays more like an attempt for attention than anything remotely approaching character development, he just wanted to play a character that could say “bitch” a lot and bay against the wind like a dog, so in that case…bravo James!
Lucy Liu is barely there and emotes even less, while Milla Jovovich who at least as some experience in the genre comes off as appropriately crazy. Suki Waterhouse and Jeffrey Wahlberg who are essentially the stars of the film do so very little to make us care about anything going on the movie that I can only hope they’ll both learn their less and move on from anything when James Franco asks them to work for scale.
Picture and sound on the Blu-Ray are fine and there’s one very uninspiring behind the scenes featurette as special features on this release.
Ultimately, while I do have a certain degree of respect for the work ethic that James Franco has behind his career as he works seemingly non-stop but just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you actually should. Future World is an unholy mess of a film that doesn’t have an ounce of originality in it, that needed to stay on the bar napkin or rolling paper packet that someone wrote this out on while either drunk off their ass or stoned out of their minds.