Although a movie that involves traveling through time, Looper is hardly a time-travel movie. Bruce Willis says as much when he brushes off any attempts to discuss the mechanics, implications, paradoxes, etc. for reasons of expediency. So, Primer, Predestination, or even Back to the Future II this ain’t. Groundhog Day is more like it, only with shotguns, telekinesis, and a far messier ending.

That’s unfortunate for me, since I prefer pure time-travel movies; and there isn’t enough — or any, really — Bill Murray in Looper to justify comparing it to that other category. JGL spends too much time pretending to be Willis, who in turn phones it in. Elevator/hallway action scenes are good, but don’t come close to the peak of the genre (or even the western take, which was fundamentally a feature-length interpretation of that one scene from Oldboy).

There is, in fact, nothing new to see here, and the movie feels as flat as the Kansas plain it is set in. The one interesting thing about it is that, in what is the complete opposite of the director’s previous movie, Looper might be better appreciated in a vacuum.

Directed by Rian Johnson, 2012