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Tired of really bad action movies starring Nicolas Cage? Sigh. So are we.


Coupled with being tiresome is the fact that most of these awful actioners also have either the lamest or most implausible plot lines. Next has a little of both, even if it's based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. Cris Johnson (Cage) is a Las Vegas magician with a secret gift that is both a blessing and a curse: He has the uncanny ability to tell you what will happen next. But only what will happen next to HIM and in only a two-minute time frame. Now, while this idea alone could be intriguing enough to base a movie, Next has to keep going to include a FBI counter-terrorism unit, run by Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore), who wants to use Cris' ability to search for a stolen nuclear device which may or may not blow up Los Angeles. Nothing like a weapon of mass destruction to shake things up, eh?


It's really Nic Cage who should be yelling "Next?"—at his agents. It's surprising his bad luck with this type of movie, especially considering that he generally turns in a decent performance. The actor has a very easy-going, charming personality in Next, especially when he's trying to meet the girl of his dreams, played rather fetchingly by Jessica Biel. In a Groundhog Day-esque sequence, Cris tries out various scenarios in approaching her, each one failing in their own way, until he hits upon the exact one that gets him in. Cage pulls it off with ease. He just needs to tap into a little bit of that premonition feeling and stop picking such dumb scripts—or at least forget about the money and do another movie like Adaptation. Moore, too, seems to stick out like a sore thumb, knowing she is capable of so much more than Next. And while the tough, single-minded professional thing worked in Children of Men (for the brief time Moore is in it), it's, well, annoying here.


That's not to say Next isn't in a capable action director's hands. Lee Tamahori has helmed such thrill rides as Die Another Day and XXX: State of the Union and while these movies could be characterized as just as vacant as Next, at least you know the action sequences are going to deliver. Indeed, watching Next's hero being chased downhill by falling logs and farm machinery or outrunning a speeding train in a high pursuit car chase are all very exciting. It's all the lag time in between that drags you down. Like I mentioned earlier, Next has one of those intriguing premises someone like Christopher Nolan would love to get his hands on—and what Philip K. Dick probably intended when he wrote the short story "The Golden Man." Not the mucked up, Hollywood-ized treatment we're seeing on screen. Oh well. Next!?

Bottom Line rated this film 1 star.