Self/less, the new sci-fi thriller that stars Ryan Reynolds as a man who has his identity swapped with another man's identity, can be summed up in one sentence: It's a good premise that goes awry. The film, which opens area-wide on Friday, has a promising enough start. It begins with a scene in which Damian (Ben Kingsley), a businessman who's worth millions, puts his affairs in order in the face of his impending death. He has cancer and doesn't have long to live.
But he has a plan. We soon learn that he's hired Professor Albright (Matthew Goode) to transfer his consciousness into another body. What he doesn't realize is that his new body wasn't built in a lab, as he had been told. Rather, the body is that of a former solider (Ryan Reynolds) and when he comes to life, Damian starts having flashbacks from the soldier's life.
Of course, he loves the fact that he is young again, and he begins playing pick-up ball at the park. He starts hitting the nightclubs and brings a different woman home practically every night. But if he doesn't take the prescribed pills, the flashbacks come hard and heavy. He eventually realizes that he has left behind a wife (Natalie Martinez) and child and sets out to find them.
The film quickly turns into a Bourne Identity-like caper as director Tarsem Singh (Mirror Mirror) does his best to make Self/less into an action flick. Car chases and stakeouts ensue as Professor Albright assigns his thugs to bring down Damian as he's violated the confidentiality agreement that he signed before going through the procedure. And Damian, a trained killer, finds he has the ability to fight back.
If the film had continued to emphasize the sci-fi part of its plot, it might have been more successful. But it comes off as too much of a gimmick and resorts to the tried-and-true formula you'll find in many creator vs. created flicks.