I'm more than a little weary of these futuristic comic-book capers - not that they are poorly made, because they aren't, and they are nearly always visually arresting, but because they have nothing at all new to say. We've seen it all before, and multiple times - and we're really supposed to say "Wow! That was a surprise!"? Come off it!
Set in a future Tokyo-esque metropolis looking very like a 'Blade Runner' city, though now with giant hologram advertising, Scarlett Johannson's brain, following extensive injuries to her body, is transplanted into a cyber-body. Juliette Binoche is the one doing the surgical procedures. (Btw: Why is it that in so many futuristic films one still sees smoking routinely carried on in the age-old way - and the Binoche character isn't alone in this. I should have thought that with all the scientific advances made there would have been some alternative way found by then of providing for those who are dependent on a nicotine fix for functioning. Perhaps by having it delivered directly into the blood stream, or injected straight into the brain, some method which doesn't pollute surroundings?)
Johannson's historical expertise is needed to track down and destroy - would you believe it? - villainous characters intent on world domination. But there's a glitch in the works. The memories of past life that she owns, are they genuine or have they been implanted to expedite the ends of her superiors? How does this affect her behaviour? Will it make her more efficient? Do you give you a fuck? There's noisy weapon-combats galore for those who get a thrill out of such, guaranteed to stop you dozing off. Trying to follow, or even identify, the thread of a story is a waste of mental energy. I doubt if you're intended to. It hardly matters anyway. It's a film for those who need some brainless fodder to chew on, and there are enough of that audience in the world to ensure this film doesn't make a loss.
There's been some interesting sidelong talk about Johannson's main role being given to her as an American, whereas the original 'heroine' figure was Japanese. I doubt if it's worth working up a sweat over, though seeing a Japanese female fighter might have given it a bit more badly-needed interest.
All much-treaded ground, this Rupert Sanders-directed film only just managed to hold my attention, due entirely to its visuals which are rarely short of interesting, and it means you don't have to concentrate on the sound that's blasting out your ear-drums. For that reason I mark it rather higher than I think it deserves, as well as the fact that it clearly meets its requirement to provide the entertainment it promises to those who like this sort of thing, even if it did ultimately fail to 'entertain' this particular viewer............4.
2 hours ago