Looper has been on my DVD radar since the theatrical release in 2012. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are two actors I generally enjoy and the concept of time travel sounded interesting. What happens if your future self met your self of the past? Marty McFly never did answer this question. One final bonus was that in early 2012 I read Phillip K. Dick's story, The Skull, which involved similar themes. If this movie is anything nearly as good as the book then it'll be alright I thought.
Nope. Despite the good ingredients this movie turned them into a chopped salad of crap. The plot makes sense at the start. Someone from the future is sending the hired guns version of themselves (Willis) back in time so they can be killed by their younger selves (Gordon-Levitt). It's the odd movie where the bad guys are wisely trying to close up loose ends.
From there the plot goes wacky with Willis escaping his execution and Gordon-Levitt trying to track him down. Bruce Willis looked sloppy in some of the physical scenes and pulled a few punches during his escape. Gordon-Levitt wears a mask that changes his appearance so much that I wondered how much a familiar face matters - more than I expected. Both characters search for a child who Willis says will become an evil demagogue of the future. Gordon-Levitt finds him first and decides to protect him.
Looper isn't based on The Skull like I had wondered - and hoped. What if it had been thought, are movies derived from Phillip K Dick stories usually good movies?
I don't know how that stacks against what other authors have done (Stephen King might be a good comparison) but that looks pretty good to me. The lower scores for Screamers, Paycheck, and Next look clearly like application errors. Those directors obviously had good ingredients to work with, they just mucked it up.
It looks like the people making Looper should have optioned The Skull. The would have needed to retrofit it some to make a Hollywood quality movie out of it but that would have had a better chance of being good.