I remember reading somewhere during the lead up to The Disaster Artist that James Franco was paring down his workload. You know, taking it easy and focusing on fewer projects with the hopes that they would be better for it and his personal stress level would also decrease.
He must have made Future World before he committed fully to this new work ethic. If The Disaster Artist was the high point (so far) of Franco's acting and directing career, then Future World would be its low point. Despite having a top-notch cast assembled and an interesting, if not redundant, story, the film seems to stumble over itself resulting in a disjointed film that will struggle to keep the interest of even the most ardent supporter of genre filmmaking.
Future World (not to be confused with Waterworld, although they both are sort of underwhelming) takes place in a post-apocalyptic future (because of course, it does) where humans are struggling to survive and resources are scarce. A young man (Prince) must venture out from his oasis to save his mom (Queen) with a cure that must be procured from a mythical Paradise. Along the way, he and his merry men are confronted with the worst segments of this new society and he must rely on a malfunctioning robot if he wants to get the cure and save his mother.
The Prince is played by relative newcomer Jeffrey Wahlberg. If the name sounds familiar, it should. He's Mark and Donnie's nephew. Unfortunately, he wasn't graced with the same acting chops as his famous uncles and that's scary, because let's face it, Marky Mark isn't exactly Laurence Olivier. Of course, some of his "bad acting" might simply be a product of having to hold his own against the likes of the aforementioned James Franco, Milla Jovovich, Lucy Liu, Suki Waterhouse and Snoop Dogg. I told you that the cast was pretty impressive.
The biggest issue with the film is that the plot is not only secondary to the action, but it is almost as though they improvised the entire film. It's the sort of movie that sounds great when you're buzzed or high but should not have gotten funded after the buzz faded. It's painfully obvious that they are attempting to create an homage to classic dystopian genre films such as the Mad Max series, but it pales greatly in comparison to the most recent and excellent installment Fury Road. This obvious comparison only exasperates the imperfections of Future World.
That's not to say that there's nothing redeeming about Future World. Suki Waterhouse continues on her quest to replace Milla Jovovich as the post-apocalyptic "It Girl" and here she gets a chance to shine opposite of her mentor and the comparisons are quite striking. After turning heads with her performance in The Bad Batch, Suki continues to steal the show and we should expect to see much more of her in the future (no pun intended).
Also, anytime you can get Snoop Dogg to show up and basically play an exaggerated take on himself, then you're halfway there. Without a doubt, those two are the most memorable components of Future World. Both Milla Jovovich and Lucy Liu seem to be mailing it in a bit knowing that they are simply there to help boost the film's legitimacy.
At the end of the day, Future World falls far short of being able to hold your attention for the entire 90 minutes. Interestingly, the best scene of the entire movie might come in the middle of the credits. Unfortunately, most people won't make it that far to enjoy it.
Future World is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.