It's summertime ( if you get that "reference" you might be as old as me ) so it must be time for another Will Smith tent pole flick. This time he teams up once again with his son and this time in a sci-fi flick.
Cypher ( Will Smith ) is a General of the Ranger Corps and has the ability to "ghost" which is to rid yourself of all traces of fear which make enemies unable to "smell" you and find you. The human population left Earth 1000 years prior due to us destroying it and landed on another planet inhabited by a race called Ursas. They are blind and hunt by smell hence where ghosting is essential to survival. Cypher's son Kitai ( Jaden Smith ) tries to follow in his footsteps in the Rangers but can't make that final leap to advance. The disappointment is evident in Cypher's face. Cypher has decided to finally retire after one last mission and his wife and him decide to have him bring Kitai along to bond with him. They are charged with transporting a Ursas til they hit an asteroid belt which causes the ship to take on too much damage which causes it to crash onto a forbiden planet. Earth.
Cypher and Kitai are the only survivors with Cypher having broken both his legs which makes him immobile and Kitai who is not trained for this type of situation. The ship has broken into two pieces with one piece over 60 miles way from where they are located at. The rescue beacon within their part of the ship was broken during the crash so Kitai must go to the other part of the ship. The Earth's air is toxin and you must take oxygen supplements to survive so he has time limit on when he needs to get back to his dad.
Kitai for the next 45 minutes or so goes out and his immaturity and headstrong attitude gets him into a few situations that cause some anxiety between him and his father who is monitoring his progress from the ship. One such incident actually gets him captured by large bird but helps the bird out later when they are all attacked along with chicks by some tiger looking animals. That comes into play later as that one good deed does not go unpunished when Kitai encounters something he can't defeat. Kitai finally does make it to the other part of the ship and finds the rescue beacon but before he can signal the Rangers he notices that the Ursas has escaped its jail and is roaming and eventually tracking and hunting Kitai. He must learn from his past shortcomings and from his Dad's wisdom to somehow defeat the Ursas. In the end he is able to win the battle and save his father.
Verdict : I love Will Smith but this movie was not for him even though he was also producing as well as starring in it. Will did not smile on screen the whole time and that and his charisma is the main draw for him. While Jaden is adequate is his role I think it could have been done better by someone with a little more talent. I understand this a vehicle for him to star in which is produced by his family and friends so I know that wasn't going to happen. The tension is constant between father and son and the bonding isn't there til the very end. I think more of a gradual warming up would have been better suited for the film. There is minimal supporting cast in the film except for Cypher's wife for scene or two and Kitai's sister in flashback sequences. The film while not terrible is less than what I expect from Will. Jaden as stated is OK but nothing special. The special effects are bothersome as you can tell alot of them are fake and not done well. If you are a Will Smith fan then might just enjoy it even though I am one and didn't for the most part. I would give it a THUMBS DOWN to a movie theater viewing but a possible look at in the comfort of your own home.