In the world of 2072, it is learned that time travel has been invented and is declared illegal by all the governments of the world. Naturally, the criminal elements of the future embrace the technology. Apparently getting rid of bodies and people in the future is tricky because of innovative tagging and tracking technology.

The criminal bosses of the future send a man named Abe (Jeff Bridges) 30 years into the past to serve the criminals of the future with a new type of hit man called a Looper. In the new film “Looper” Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Joe, a Looper who never lets morals get in the way of his job. He is happy to promptly dispatch anyone sent from the future without a second thought.

Joe is well paid for his work, and is happy to enjoy the drugs and women that come with his job. Yet Joe desires to leave it all one day and travel to France. For a Looper to be retired, he is forced to kill a future version of himself, and in doing so, gets a fantastic retirement payout and 30 years to live it up since that is how long it will take for time travel to be invented. Naturally an older version of yourself cannot be sent back to be killed by your younger self for at least 30 years. But the increase in retirements is a bit disconcerting for Joe.

Things change drastically for Joe when his older self (Bruce Willis), appears and manages to escape before he can be killed by his younger self. For a Looper to have his target escape is a serious infraction, and in no time, Joe finds himself not only hunting his older self, but also on the run from his former friends and allies who have made him both older and younger a priority.

At this point in the film, I was hooked, as my mind raced with twists, possibilities, and the promise of the film. Sadly the momentum grinds to a halt in the second half as the older Joe attempts to ally with his younger self to stop a future crime boss while he is a child. This quickly becomes a very blatant “Terminator” rip off as older Joe attempts to locate and kill children who may be the future crime lord while younger Joe is biding his time hiding from his former associates while protecting a young child and his mother from his older self.

It does not take much thought to see where this is going but sadly the remainder of the movie is underwhelming and disappointing as the film recycles scenarios that we have seen many times before in better movies. The second half lacks any real action and climactic finale to give the audience the well-deserved payoff they waited for.

Willis, Bridges, and Gordon-Levitt do solid work but seem to be going through the motions as they never really earn any sympathy from the audience. Much like last year’s “In Time”, “Looper” has a great premise that starts well and then fails to live up to its potential.

2.5 out of 5