Oh no, another Hollywood live action adaptation of a beloved manga. If this turns out like Death Note I might just stab myself with a Panga. Thankfully I am pleased to report that Alita: Battle Agent turned out better than Dragonball Evolution. I don’t recommend that you watch the Americanized Goku flick, unless you have a strong constitution. The film is produced and co-written by the bloke who directed True Lies. It features a female cyborg warrior, who battles against a scientist who resides in the skies.
Alita: Battle Angel takes place in the year 2563. It’s set in a dilapidated metropolis that’s almost as rundown as New Jersey. Centuries ago a major war devastated Earth and left most of humanity living in slums. The wealthy elite relocated to a flying city, from where they now look down at the poor bums. Our tale begins in a scrapyard, where Doctor Dyson Ido finds a badly damaged cyborg who he later names Alita. Rescued from death, Ido gifts Alita with a new prosthetic body that possess the speed and agility of a cheetah.
The best thing about Battle Angel are the visual effects and action scenes. I never once got bored of watching the heroine tear up the enemy machines. Over the course of two hours she battles various bounty hunters and competes against gladiators in a sport named Motor Ball. The CGI, fight choreography and talent of director Robert Rodriguez delivered many an exciting brawl. Sadly however the script’s pacing could be a lot better. Alita changes from an innocent amnesiac into a battle hardened revolutionary just a few short moments after we first met her.
It’s a similar story with Alita and scrap dealer Hugo’s forced romance. They go from acquaintances to passionate lovers, faster than characters in an adult game like Rance. One can only speculate this is due to a 120 minute film condensing too much material from the comic book. The end result is a movie were characters and plot take a backseat to how great the special effects look. Shame, as I was expecting more depth from a feature whose cast list contained talents such as Mahershala Ali. Jennifer Connelly likewise has little to do, although seeing her in nothing but underwear stimulated my peepee.
Although not perfect I can still recommend this release from 20th Century Fox. I will forgive the superficial writing as every fight sequence rocks. When compared to other anime/manga adaptations Alita: Battle Angel is a hit. The creators put in some real effort, unlike the makers of Dragonball Evolution who produced a steaming pile of shit. The finale teases a potential sequel, which in my opinion would be really cool. A poor box office may however deny us from ever seeing a follow up… damn, capitalism can be so cruel.
VERDICT: THREE OUT OF FIVE