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  Tomorrow War, The Frag To The Future
Year: 2021
Director: Chris McKay
Stars: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Jasmine Mathews, Edwin Hodge, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Mike Mitchell, Jared Shaw, Alexis Louder, Rose Bianco, Seychelle Bianco, Alan Trong
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) appears out of the sky and falls towards a scene of apocalypse over the city, surrounded by other soldiers in the same situation. Most of them will die on impact, but despite falling around two hundred feet, Dan happens to land in a penthouse swimming pool, which while not being able to safely break his fall under any normal laws of physics, sees him swim to the surface with a few comrades without any ill effects. How did he get into this situation in the first place? We must flash back twenty-eight years to when he was watching the final of the Football World Cup, held on Christmas Day 2022, at a party his wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin) was giving. His young daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) reassures him when a job offer falls through - but what is on TV?

They were obviously preparing us for improbabilities with that opening ten minutes - somehow expecting a swimming pool to prevent you dying if you fall into it from cloud level was no less hard to believe than the World Cup held at Christmas or a business contacting you on the big day to tell you your job application has been turned down. But any hope of over two hours of absurdity that might have made for an amusing bit of Hollywood rubbish rapidly evaporated after soldiers from the future show up at said football match to announce aliens have pissed in the future's cornflakes and they must now recruit people from thirty years before to fight since they have somehow run out of cannon fodder. Aficionados of the ridiculous are rubbing their hands together with glee, now, right?

But this is what happens when you get an algorithm to write your screenplay once you’ve concocted your high concept, as everything afterwards was deadening in its adherence to what had gone before in the sci-fi action genre. You could tick off the films it ripped off on a checklist, should you so desire, but the only thing notable about them was the inclusion of more recent fare like World War Z or Edge of Tomorrow rather than the usual Aliens or Terminator business, and the dialogue was no better, all "I'm not gonna let you die!" type stuff. Paramount had some hopes for this before the pandemic hit, but it got lost in the shuffle of release dates and wound up straight to Amazon, possibly you suspect because they realised streaming was its natural home, as if you had actively gone to see this on the big screen you would ponder whether it was worth risking your health for.

Once Dan has been sent to the future, his handy military skills see him succeed where others have failed, as you get the measure of this and work out who is going to die next. Oh, and which character gets to die falling in slow motion into a pit of fiery aliens, which they might as well have pinned to their uniform. All of this was slick, with top level CGI monsters and suitably epic vistas, but you simply don't give a shit about any of it, with its actual sassy black comic relief sidekick (Sam Richardson) - what is this, 1986? - its relentless pushing of executive producer Pratt's brand of conservative family values, J.K. Simmons parachuted in to the final half hour to drop outdated pop culture references as a conspiracy theorist Vietnam veteran who is there to prove that if America had just fought harder they would have won in South-East Asia, and other reactionary matters. Not that this makes the do-gooders angry, thanks to its climate change analogies, therefore the correct response is to doze off in front of it on a rainy afternoon, utterly undemanding, gung ho banal, something to watch while waiting for something slightly more important to happen. Music by Lorne Balfe.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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