Gavin Miller reviews After Earth (12A)
The best thing I can say about this sci-fi actioner is it isn’t as bad as the critics were saying.
It’s undoubtedly a lost opportunity for the seemingly licence-to-print-money father-and-son movie vehicle of Jaden and Will Smith – but it’s still just about watchable fare.
That’s if you can get round the extremely wooden acting and clichéd scripting.
The problem is Will Smith’s strictly stoic super soldier father Cipher Raige is completely charisma-free – which is weird for such a usually colourful actor – leading to immediate likeability problems which doesn’t help his son Jaden (who actually plays his cadet son Kitai).
With General Cipher – part due to his intergalactic exploits, part due to death of his daughter – struggling to connect with Kitai, he takes him on a bonding mission across the galaxy, only for their shuttle to crashland on Earth after it is hit by an asteroid.
The problem is humans have long since left the uninhabitable planet – spiking temperatures and evolved creatures making it inhospitable – and Cipher and Kitai are the only two survivors.
To make things worse, Cipher’s got broken legs, the emergency beacon to alert the humans’ new homeworld is about 100km away and a creature they were transporting has escaped.
Cue the expected father and son emotional attachment, as Cipher has to guide his son through the treacherous wilderness to find their only hope for survival.
But it’s sadly done in such a generic way, that the journey doesn’t really bring an exciting destination, offering very little ingenuity.