Justin Timberlake is ready to try out his “man of action” acting chops in this month’s sci-fi dramatic thriller, In Time. The film also marks the latest writing/directing effort from Andrew Niccol, a fellow well-renowned for crafting clever “what if?” tales that examine the possible effects of futuristic technology on our lives (see: The Truman Show, Gattaca, S1m0ne).

In Time marks a slight departure for Niccol, who’s less versed in the art of action moviemaking. Hence why today we have several clips that offer an early look at what the filmmaker aims to deliver this time around – in terms of both cerebral subject matter and visceral thrills.

Niccol’s project takes place in a semi-futuristic world where the aging gene has been isolated and people are genetically engineered to not (physically) mature past the age of 25. However, time has become the new form of currency – and given rise to a corrupt system where members of the lower (financial) classes often literally run out of time (re: die) prematurely… while members of the upper class essentially become immortal.

Here’s the basic gist of the plot for In Time:

When a man (Justin Timberlake) from the wrong side of the tracks is falsely accused of murder, he is forced to go on the run with a beautiful hostage (Amanda Seyfried). Living minute to minute, the duo’s love becomes a powerful tool in their war against the system.

So, in a nutshell, In Time is another spin on the tried-and-true dystopian sci-fi genre (ex. 1984, Brave New World, Logan’s Run). But does it look like an especially intelligent or exciting one?

Find out by watching the In Time clips below:

Timberlake seems to do all right handling Niccol’s (admittedly, sometimes awkward) philosophical dialogue – though it’s difficult to say whether or not he’ll be a truly engaging protagonist in… In Time, based on this footage alone. Likewise, the bits of action and car chase sequence shown here are shot in a relatively straight-forward but still satisfactory fashion. All in all, In Time comes off as a competent mix of brains and action, even though it doesn’t look to really excel in either department.

The rest of the In Time cast seems sturdy enough, with Amanda Seyfried (Big Love) as the (semi-) femme fatale Sylvia, Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) as Sylvia’s shrewdly corrupt father, and Cillian Murphy (Inception) as the authoritative timekeeper determined to uphold the social order. It is fair to point out that all of these characters are pretty standard – and sometimes overused – archetypes for this breed of sci-fi story…

In Time arrives in U.S. theaters on October 28th, 2011. Will you be checking it out?