Equal parts Minority Report and Groundhog Day , Next , based on Philip K. Dick story “The Golden Man,” centers on Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage, who also produces), a “pre-cog” who can see two minutes into his own future—just enough time to try out several different scenarios until he achieves the desired result, much like playing a video game. Fearing ostracization if the public or, worse, the feds were to discover his unusual gift, Johnson hides in plain sight as two-bit Las Vegas magic act Frank Cadillac, earning extra cash by using his foresight at the tables—only playing against the house and never winning enough to raise suspicion.
Johnson's ability comes to the attention FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore, harsh and forced), however, as she attempts to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb on U.S. soil by a crew of cookie-cutter bad guys spouting cliché dialogue. Meanwhile, Johnson has seen farther into the future than ever before, anticipating an encounter with the lovely Liz (Jessica Biel), whom he woos with corny jokes and goofy paper flowers before she is drawn into the center of the international crisis.
There's little here that hasn't been seen before—including a direct rip-off (or is it an homage) of Clockwork Orange —but director Lee Tamahori ( xXx: State of the Union ) has choreographed fun, fluid escape scenes in which Johnson artfully dodges casino security and government agents by anticipating their every move—much of it against the gorgeously filmed backdrop of the American West. Best is the abrupt, momentarily confusing ending that briefly stuns audiences until they get the joke. It's likely, however, that this perfect setup for a sequel will go unrealized.
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel
Director: Lee Tamahori
Screenwriters: Gary Goldman and Jonathan Hensleigh and Paul Bernbaum
Producers: Nicolas Cage, Norm Golightly, Todd Garner, Arne L. Schmidt and Graham King
Genre: Science fiction action
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action and some language
Release date: April 27, 2007