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The film starts off with a bit of background as to how the world became what it is. World War 3 destroyed almost everything and the remaining survivors realized that feeling was the cause. They came up with Prozium which is a drug that suppresses feelings. Soon we are shown a house where outlaws are basking in their freedom of records, books and paintings. All of a sudden, police arrive outside and immediately get their guns ready. A big shootout begins as another car arrives. Cleric John Preston (Christian Bale) steps out with a stone face. Cleric Errol Partridge (Sean Bean) steps out as well with a stone face. They enter the building and are told that they are outnumbered. John gets ready as he rams the door then stands on it and the lights go out. It is total darkness for about a minute until you see the light of John's gun going all over the place. After about 30 seconds of shooting, it stops. One of the cops turn on their flashlights and it turns out that Cleric cleared the room. We soon get a look at all the "illegal" material that was owned.
We are taken back outside as Errol and John sit in their car on their way back to "Libria." John notices a book in Errol's pocket and questions him about why he didn't leave it for the evidence crew to take it. Errol says that they always miss things. John comments on how returning to the netherlands reminds him about why he does what he does. Errol replies with "it does?" which immediately makes John wonder if Errol is feeling. Errol takes a shot of Prozium then looks at John and says "it does."
We are taken on a tour of Libria then come back to John who is watching his conversation with Errol and keeps rewinding to when Errol says "it does?" Finally John decides to go to the evidence building and asks if Errol has brought in any piece of evidence but the clerk tells him that Errol hasn't been there in weeks. John immediately goes to the netherlands and is told that Errol is in there for an investigation or something. John enters and we see Errol reading the book that he took from the raid earlier in some broken down building. John goes over to him and Errol reads a bit to him. Errol knows that he is going to be killed so he slowly reaches for his gun but John shoots him in the face.
We then meet John's new partner, Cleric Brandt (Taye Diggs). He drives John home and then tells John "I can only hope one day to be as uncompromising as you" then drives off. It is obvious that John was bothered by having to kill Errol. Errol's words continue to stay in John's mind even as he is about to go to sleep. When he wakes up, he goes to take his morning dosage of Prozium but for some reason he decides to leave it out before taking it. As he dries his face, he knocks the dosage on the ground. His son immediately orders him to go to the prozium lab and get an extra dosage. When John goes to the dinner table, his son informs him that Brandt called. He took the liberty of telling Brandt that John would be at the prozium lab.
John heads to the prozium lab but he can't enter because of terrorist activities. Brandt arrives complimenting his punctuality. When John arrives to his workstation, he is walking up the stairs like everyone else. But he notices someone touching the stair rail and he touches it to. He is beginning to feel. Next at his desk, he begins to touch everything there. Soon after he starts rearranging everything until Brandt comes over. They have an assignment. Their next assignment is Mary O'Brian's (Emily Watson) home. As John enters he asks her how long she's been off Prozium. He then grabs her and points her to a mirror. He tells her to look at herself but he notices himself changing as well. Fearing that everyone will notice, he tells them to destroy the mirror. He then uncovers an entire collection of lamps, books, paintings and other "illegal" things behind a wall. He takes a liking to perfume bottle though.
Later, John is interrogating Mary about where she gets the stuff. Mary sort of senses that John is beginning to feel in this scene and after John hands her the perfume bottle, she hands it back. John meets with Master Cleric (Angus MacFadyen) after this as the master asks John how he felt when his wife was captured and executed. John says he doesn't understand then replies with "I have no feeling so I felt nothing." Later, we have a flashback of when John's wife was captured for "sense crime." John beat up two cops before they explained that it was a lawful entry. He immediately awakes in a cold sweat. He looks toward his window and begins tearing off some sort of plastic covering. He looks out to see Libria while it is raining. John goes to the bathroom and takes out some of the prozium capsules and hides them behind his medicine cabinet.
The next day, John and Brandt are part of a sting operation, similar to the one in the beginning except now, Brandt and John are going in because they are heavily outnumbered. Brandt is doing most of the shooting and John is just watching. At one point a man runs around then into John as Brandt shoots him. The man dies in John's hands as John looks at the man with a scared look. Brandt comments "good teamwork, you grab em, I shoot em." Finally, after everyone is taken out, John walks around the premises and finds the area with all the "loot." Rather than tell anyone, he checks it out himself. He walks around the room feeling every object until he gets to a record player. He plays the record. He soon takes a snow ornament with the eiffel tower and flips it as the snow comes down in it. He begins to cry.
When they get outside, Brandt asks John "why didn't you let the evidence team retrieve the book." Similar to Errol, John was carrying a book from the raid in his pocket. He replies the same thing Errol did, they always miss things. The two are soon called over to a den where dogs are held. They are told that the dogs must be executed (it is not shown, you only see the guy shoot and hear the dogs scream). Each time the dog is shot, John flinches a little. One dog manages to run right into John. John picks it up and stares at it face to face. The guys tell him to bring the dog back for execution. The dog licks John's nose as John tells them that the dog is needed for testing and saves the dogs life.
Later John goes to the netherlands on "Official Duty." John stops in the middle of nowhere and opens his trunk. It's the dog and he tries to set it free but the dog won't go. He tries getting in the car and driving away but the dog cries out to him. He finally gives in and takes the dog. As he pets the dog in the trunk, cops come over putting a big spotlight on him. They tell him to move away from the vehicle and he closes the trunk. He tries telling them that he is a cleric. They ask for the keys to the trunk but he is reluctant. Finally they take it away from him and as they are about to open the trunk, one of them recognizes him and apologize. As they hand him back his keys, the dog barks. The officer yanks away the keys then opens the trunk. After seeing the dog, they tell John to get on the ground. Two officers opposite him point guns in his face. All of a sudden, John manages to spin the guns around and shoots the two officers in the face. He kills the rest of the officers in the second amazing "gun-kata" battle.
John is now in a practice hall where Brandt practices with him and questions if John has something on his mind. John gets the first hit and Brandt removes his mask. After Brandt asks if John can feel anything, he gets the second hit. This goes back and forth until they both stop with their sticks positioned to hit each other in vulnerable places.
The next day, John goes to see Errol who is going to be incinerated soon. He says to Errol that he's sorry and just then an examiner enters bringing in the items Errol wanted to be burned with him. He takes a few of the things then notices a picture. Flash over to Mary who is in the interrogation room as John questions her about Errol. She says she doesn't know who he is until John shows her the picture. Mary then tries to stab John but John grabs her and wrestles her onto the table. After an awkward moment, he lets her go and stands away from her. She now realizes that he is off the dose. John turns the photo over and sees the word "Freedom" written on it. John immediately heads to someplace that has the word "freedom" on it (it's like a class or something). John tells everyone to leave except the instructor. John roughs the guy up while asking about Errol. John then tosses the man through a wall which happens to be a doorway to some closed off area. As John enters, he meets the leader of the Resistance (William Fichtner). He tells John that they have been watching him and realized that he has been off the dose. He leads John to his underground layer where everyone lives with feeling. They hook John to a polygraph to test if he is legitimately off the dose. They mention Mary and the needle goes nuts. He tells John that he is their only hope to ever bringing back "feeling" and bringing down "Father."
Later, John meets with Master Cleric who tells him that he has heard a disturbing rumor that a Cleric is trying to contact the resistance. John tells him that he is going to personally bring that Cleric to him. Master then tells him that he is assigned to find out the murderer in the netherlands. John and Brandt go to the netherlands along with the cops. While there, John stands, watching all the mayhem when all of a sudden a man tries attacking John. John stops him then as he sees the cops look away, tells them to run away. Since they don't believe him, he leads them away. As he is leading them, he encounters a few cops and kills them in more amazing gun play. Finally, John catches up with the group who have all been caught by Brandt. Brandt says to him "Great teamwork, you lead them to us." Brandt insists that John executes them but John hands Brandt back his gun (IMPORTANT) after setting it on lock. John walks away as the group is shot to death.
John heads back to the resistance as they plan to overthrow "Father." John is told not to see Mary because it will make it harder to do what he has to do. John doesn't listen and goes to see Mary in the interrogation room. They bond and hold hands since she is set to be executed by being burned to death very soon. John goes back to his work station and he watches a tape of his wife's execution. He notices that he really didn't have any feeling. He decides to go and save Mary but when he gets there, it's too late. He arrives in time to see her burned. John walks out and begins to cry on the ground. Brandt walks up to him and arrests him for "feeling."
As Brandt brings him to Master Cleric, he is told to check his gun that it is clearly the one used on the night of the murders. Except the problem is that the gun is Brandt's. Brandt insists that John took his but John tells him that Brandt took his gun when he was arrested. In reality, they switched guns before those guys were executed. Brandt is taken away while screaming "But he is feeling!" pretty funny. John now asks Master Cleric if he can see "Father" since he knows where the resistance are. Master Cleric arranges for that. John returns home to see that it is being searched. John immediately rushes to the medicine cabinet but his tablets are gone. His son arrives and tells him to be more careful where he puts them. It turns out his son and daughter have been off the dosage since their mother died.
The resistance are soon captured and John is now getting ready to meet "Father." They first take John's weapon then hook him up to a polygraph and ask "how do you take away a Cleric's weapon" which prompts police to come out and have their guns set. Brandt pops out and says "you ask him for it." Then it is revealed that Father is really Master Cleric and the real father died years ago. Finally he tells John to give up but John refuses and two guns slide out of his sleeves (You know what happens here).
The killing continues throughout up until he finally reaches Father without any guns. Brandt is standing next to father with a smile as a bunch of guys slowly walk out with swords. John makes quick work of them. Brandt is now hesitant to face John but he does. He takes out a sword and is ready. John removes a sword that he stabbed someone with earlier and makes very quick work of Brandt by cutting his entire face off. Finally Father decides to take his shot but this time with guns. As the two go at, it is constant reversals before John manages to snatch Father's gun away. Father pleads with John to listen to him and he reveals that he can feel. John shoots him anyway. John leaves and continues his destruction. We see how John disables Father's voice throughout Libria and how the resistance are destroying the Prozium labs with bombs.
John stands overlooking the city and smiles as the movie ends.
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