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Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode, Victor Garber, Derek Luke, Michelle Dockery, Ben Kingsley, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen

Director: Tarsem Singh

Forget 1966’s celebrated body swap thriller Seconds (something it would appear Spanish brother screenwriters Alex and David Pastor weren’t quite able to do), don’t try too hard to follow the plot and don’t worry about scientific logic.

Instead, settle back and enjoy the sometimes barmy blend of science fiction, roughhousing, gunplay and less-than- convincing scientific mumbo jumbo delivered enthusiastically and with commendably straight faced by director Tarsem Singh and his hard-working cast.

We first meet successful multimillionaire businessman Ben Kingsley. He isn’t young (although he appears to dye his beard which looks suspiciously dark) and, worse still, he is dying of cancer.

Until, that is, he learns about the secret process of “shedding” operated by a secret organisation. Matthew Goode explains: if he’s willing to pay a fortune Kingsley can have his consciousness transferred into a much younger body grown in Goode’s secret laboratory.

And so Kingsley goes off to New Orleans, his death is staged and he emerges as good-looking thirtysomething Ryan Reynolds and starts to enjoy a new life as a local playboy, buoyed by the pills he has to take.

But his new found youth starts to turn sour when Reynolds starts having flashbacks to a former life and as the plot thickens, he finds himself fighting a bloody war with Goode (who is anything but good) and his organization, while trying to cope with a possible wife and her young daughter who is played so cute and sugary the she could corrode a set of dentures.

Your best bet is simply to savour the plentiful action, including a cracking car chase and assorted thuggery, rather than trying to keep up with the storyline.

The Brothers Pastor supply plenty of characters, good, bad and Kingsley to be going on with and, to give him his due, Singh maintains a brisk enough pace to smooth the story over most of illogical lacunae it features: and, although in truth Self/Less is a tad overlong, you tend not realise it until it’s over and the credits are playing.

Reynolds plays Mr Resourceful (and, eventually, Mr Nice) with entertaining enthusiasm, Michele Dockery, in a minor role as Kingsley’s estranged daughter, has Downton Abbey to fall back on and Goode does well as a smooth, slimy villain.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Entertainment. Colour.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 14 Jul 2015