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Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: watchable
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Jan 12 23:55:13 EST 2001
  • mod: none

`Based on a computer game', words that generally serve as a warning for anime to avoid. On the other hand since i'll watch any old junk, and because i'd played the game (very average), and it's new stuff, I couldn't resist.

And, to be honest, it was better than I feared. The story is all pretty familiar mind you. We get to follow the super tough, partly cybernetic, John Blade. He's the roughest, toughest dude in the hard-corp's, the tough police in a near future version of our world. And while the hard-corp has the expected number of cannon fodder, there's a couple of other personalities he works with.

Mind you, he's not having a good day. There's huge amounts of illegal drugs flooding the streets. Meanwhile some loon is kidnapping kids. Even worse, when they find the man in question, they're not exactly sure what kind of man he is. And I don't mean vocation or nationality, i'm talking race, it looks like some one's messing around breeding genetic super-soldiers for nefarious purposes. Not that this is at all uncommon in anime, and if you've played the game (or after about 5-10 minutes of the anime) it's pretty clear who's doing it. Even worse his squad took a fatality (of a named character, which matters) in tracking him down. And indeed while they try and work out what's going on, and how the kidnapped girls are involved, they loose quite a few more. All of which makes john a very angry, and vengeful guy, leading to the incredibly expected `payback' conclusion.

As can be seen, not too novel. The lead is the super-familiar silent strongman, most of the other archetypes are equally familiar, and the dialogue is pretty much as expected, lots of pseudo-military stuff. Although I got a terrible shock to hear a familiar star-craft quote in there, probably not intentional but an indication of how stereotypical some of the lines are. On the other hand it does the familiar human interaction, characterisation and horror overtones pretty well. There's definitely some skill in the writing which keeps this being fairly watchable. There's even a bit of extra complexity, and some integrated backstory, to make it a touch deeper than one might expect. Add that it's well paced and directed, presenting a pretty unified atmosphere, and it's eminently watchable.

The main problem, apart from the issue of familiarity, is that it does sometimes feel a bit like `product' anime. As if the creators are doing their job, professionally, but not really with all their heart or art. This shows up a bit in the writing, a lot in the world design and strongly in the production. It has a lot of super-crisp digital coloring, overlaid computer effects and backgrounds which serves to make it all feel fairly plastic. And the action, when it happens, is actually not as smooth as I expected. But the biggest problem is a handful of astoundingly bad effects. Given they're using computers so heavily there's some terrible moments (especially around a certain huge monster) that are meant to be epic but just make you whince. Since these seemed to be grouped at the tail perhaps they ran out of time. There's definitely some gaps, and some dodgy moments, to dull the flash of the production. The voices are as archetypal as the character, the opening music is nice electronica while background is attributed to the Warsaw concerto. Oh, there's also some screams and explosions which are played agressively loud to emphasise the scene. Sort of works, but also means that if you want to hear John's deep and soft lines you'll be deafened by the change.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:24 WST 2009