Friday, July 18, 2008

Movies: Appleseed Ex Machina

"Appleseed Ex Machina" is a Japanese animated film directed by Shinji Aramaki. It's completely computer-generated; sometimes the technique works pretty well, but most of the time the movie makes its characters look like Barbie dolls.

The plot is pretty simple. Deunan and Briareos play tough-as-nails E.SWAT officers who are investigating a mysterious series of terrorist incidents in a futuristic metropolis called Olympus. There's some light post-apocalyptic overtones, but the film downplays its global war backstory in favor of action scenes.

Aramaki is mostly known for his mecha designs, so it's no surprise that "Appleseed Ex Machina" features a ton of futuristic fighting robots. When one of the protagonists, a cyborg with an artificial body, climbs into the belly of a robotic powered fighting suit, and then that suit gets in the belly of a flying robotic gunship, you know things have sort of gone off the rails.

All the gadgetry would be tolerable if the story was decent, but it really is pretty formulaic. In fact, Appleseed Ex Machina feels more like a series of videogame cutscenes than a feature film. Even the action sequences aren't exciting; the final battle shamelessly rips off the Zion shootout in "The Matrix Revolutions." All in all, a forgettable excursion into the world of high-powered anime police fisticuffs.

Rating: 4/10


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