00:00 August 09, 2013
By: David Vicari
[Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing]

No, Elysium is not the name of a new hay fever medication, but rather the title of a new science fiction action movie by Neill Blomkamp, director of the phenomenal District 9 (2009). Is Elysium as good or better than District 9? No, but it's still a solid action film.

Once again, future Earth is a polluted, diseased and overpopulated planet. The super wealthy, however, live on a space station where the environment is clean and diseases like cancer are cured in an instant. Max is a down-on-his-luck factory worker on Earth. When he gets radiated in a mishap at work, he is given only five days to live. His only hope for survival is to get to Elysium, the space station, but the government run space station has a contingency plan to prevent illegals from entering and it involves psychotic special forces soldiers. So, Max, along with a group of rebels and an exoskeleton suit that boosts his strength, fights to break into Elysium.

Again, Blomkamp peppers his science fiction with some social and political commentary, but the characters here aren't as complex as the ones in District 9. Jodie Foster, as the evil defense secretary, doesn't have much to do, but Sharlto Copley is great as a dastardly, mad dog killer of a villain. Copley was the pencil pushing nebbish turned hero in District 9, but here he is an imposing psychopath. Someone put this guy in more movies!

The action scenes in Elysium are exciting but somewhat protracted. Did we have to see so many slo-mo shots of the hero agonizing in pain during the fight scenes? This may sound crazy, but its like the film is a bit too polished. The action and the editing of it in District 9 was a little devil-may-care crazy at times and was adrenaline pumping.

Elysium is no District 9, but Blomkamp has proven with this second film that he is a distinct voice in modern cinema. I can't wait to see what he does next.

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