westcoast ape wrote:
If the time-machine is not adjustable, then presumably there is a different device for each Looper.
If Old Joe was in China, was his time machine in China? Is it a Chinese time machine that sends him back to young Joe? I don't think its a requirement of the film, and in fact I assume Old Joe was probably transported to the time-machine...but if it was in China, it paints a slightly different picture of Abe's advice that young Joe go to China.
That said, I accept that Abe proffered the advice earnestly, and the line was delivered for comedic effect rather than to stimulate thoughts about the vagaries of time-travel assassinations - but you might see my point that, if Young Joe's victims come from a time machine in China, then it would be that much more convenient, from the syndicate's perspective, if he were in China to begin with.
I think Old Joe's machine was indeed in China, and that particular one is affixed to the field in Kansas. Space and time are the same thing--if you can rip a hole in reality to 30 years ago, why not make that hole someplace else?
Abe has been running the Loopers for 10 years, perhaps longer. So the movie's set in 2041 (?), Old Joe is from 2071. Abe, who went through the same 30-year hole 10, or 15, or 20 years earlier, was sent back probably in 2051-2061.
Let's translate this to our reality: Hi, I'm from 30 years in the future and have been here 20 years. I still have knowledge of the next 10 years that no one else possibly could, but it's 30-year-old news to me and events happening may see more like deja vu "oh, I remember when that happened" occurrences than simply sitting there being oracular.
So I might say to you, today, "Don't necessarily bet the farm that the Miami Heat will win this year's NBA championship," not because I know Oklahoma City beat them in five games, but because I happen to remember that LeBron only won a single championship before blowing out his knee in October 2015. So my imperfect, but otherwise unattainable, knowledge can help me point me, and people I speak to, in directions that benefit them, but I'm not Biff from Back to the Future II.
But really, as those of us reading this right now know, the "I'm from the future, kid, go to China," was Rian lampshading the change in script stemming from the Chinese money that came in to help the film to get made. The worry about the rest of it--along with any other chitter-chatter about the realities or lack of pertaining to time travel, were already shitcanned by Old Joe in the diner.