Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the sci-fi action movie MORGAN by director Luke Scott. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:
A corporate risk-management consultant must decide whether or not to terminate an artifically created humanoid being.
I feel I have to qualify this review a bit by admitting that I have in my lifetime watched and read a lot of science fiction. I liked it so much that, whether it be an action based feature or a more ruminative entertainment, I usually would end up watching any sci-fi that looked even mildly entertaining. Doing so has given me the pleasure of experiencing some truly great works, but also has lead to me having to put up with some that were definitely scraping the bottom of the ideas barrel. Either way, I have learned many of the familiar beats found in the genre, so I often have a general understanding of the plot’s direction before it is ever revealed.
This brings me to the first thing I would like to discuss about this picture; the storyline. While the plot might not be anything incredibly new, the bigger issue is that we are given very little reason to care for any of the characters. This problem is a huge stumbling block as the rights of clones forms the basis of the story, but we do not really empathize with any of the leads. When the events take the dark turn that we already see coming, it is hard to feel at all invested as the characters feel incredibly stereotypical.
The saddest part about the parts feeling so flat is that there are some truly great actors/actresses involved in this film. While each does the best they can with the material they have been given, it is hard to make the character convincing when they are spouting off lines that we have heard in many other movies many times before. Worse yet, only a few of the roles have any emotional weight attached and yet their impact is lessened by the fact that their parts are relegated to a scant few minutes. Even with the cast nailing these moments, which they do, it is too little character development to make much of a difference.
During the second half of this picture, the action begins to kick and the tone shifts from a psychological meditation on what it means to be human to an action/thriller about a failed lab experiment on the loose. This portion of the feature has some more typical run and gun moments punctuated by well choreographed hand to hand sequences that made for a entertaining finale. The zest given to these scenes is so noticeably opposite of the first half that one can tell that while it may have a sci-fi skin, this is an action movie at heart. I rather enjoyed the more high octane vibe given off by the back half and wish that the action had been given more focus earlier.
All in all, this was not a bad movie, but it had all of the makings of something that could have been better. Once the experiment escapes things become a lot more interesting as the build up just never quite worked for me personally. By the end it becomes clear that they drew a lot from BLADE RUNNER (1982) and HANNA (2011), but never managed to be as tonally consistent as either of those pieces.
MORGAN will be available on 4K Ultra HD Disc, Blu-ray and DVD December 13. Blu-ray special features include “Modified Organism: The Science Behind Morgan”, Deleted Scenes, Feature Film Audio Commentary by Luke Scott, Loom – Luke Scott Short Film with Audio Commentary by Luke Scott and Still Gallery.
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