I used to watch a lot of Japanese anime back in the 90´s and after the millenium. In fact, my high school friend Anders bought a lot of anime films from the UK, so we got to see some really nice releases that was not available at the time in Sweden. At first we used to buy VHS tapes on Manga anime, before DVD became the next big thing, and i can´t remember how many films we watched ( must have been many, since i can´t remember all the titles ). I remember especially one film that i actually bought on DVD ( and i still have it ) called Blood: The Last Vampire. Released in 2000, this anime film tells the story of a girl named Saya, who hunts bat-liked creatures called chiropterans. One of the things i really enjoyed with this film, is how well made this film is, and that the lead character Saya fits perfect to the story. Of course i also bought the 1995 Manga classic Ghost In The Shell, on Blu Ray actually to experience this film on a new level. Ghost In The Shell is one of those 90´s classics that still looks really good today, and is considered to be one of the greatest anime films of all time. If you have not seen any Manga films, i think you should see Ghost In The Shell on DVD or Blu Ray, because this is a real classic.The story is set in 2029, where cybernetic technology can replace body parts on the human body. Major Motoko Kusanagi is ordered to assassinate a diplomat from a foreign country, and her mission is successful. Public Security Session 9, who Major Motoko is an assault-team leader for, is looking for the mysterious Puppet Master who they believe is planning criminal acts. There are a lot of Manga anime comic books i have not read, and one of them is known as Gunnm ( translated into Battle Angel Alita ). The story takes place in a post apocalyptic future, where the cyborg Alita is found by a cybernetics doctor and put together. Alita have no memories from her past, but she does remember one thing, the legendary cyborg martial art Panzer Kunst. Since i have not read the comic books, i never really learned about the character of Alita. I do know that there was a video animation based on the comic books, released in 1993 called Battle Angel. But i never saw this either, for some reason. When i Heard that legendary director Robert Rodriguez would direct a new film based on the Manga comic books, i became curious. The director of the brilliant cult classic From Dusk Till Dawn, taking on a Manga comic book adaptation ? Of course i had to see this in a Cinema. Is this the return of Robert Rodriguez we all hoped for, or should he stick to making more simple action films instead ?
In 2263, Earth is devastated by the catastrophic interplanetary was known as " The Great War ". 300 years later , in the junkyard metropolis of Iron City, scientist Dr. Dison Ido ( Christoph Walz ) discovers a disembodied female cyborg with an intact human brain. Dr. Dison attaches a new cyborg body to the brain, who has no memories and names her "Alita " after her deceased daughter. Iron City becomes a whole new world for Alita, and Ido tries to teach her to be careful and not trust anyone. One day she meets Hugo ( Keean Johnson ), a young man who become her new friend. But there is a secret that Ido is carrying, as Alita follow him one night as he is a Hunter-Warrior, trying to make Money to kill cyborgs. Alita interfer while Ido is prepared to kill a cyborg, and she is forced to fight. It turns out that Alita knows the ancient martial art of " Panzer Kunst ", as she meets the massive cyborg Grewishka for the first time. She surivives, but is warned by Ido that these cyborgs are not to play with. Hugo show Alita how the game of Motorball works, and Alita is hooked up. She wants to begin compete in Motorball, even if she knows the risks. But she have bigger problems, especially when entrepreneur Vector ( Mahershala Ali ) orders Grewishka to kill Alita, to make sure she stops interfering in his plans.
If you love apocalyptic cyborg movies, then i guarantee that you will enjoy Alita: Battle Angel. This is the kind of sci fi action film that is made for a certain kind of audience, who appreciate cyborgs with different looks ( and with different fighting skills as well ). Since i have not read the comic books, i can only judge this film on it´s own. And i have to say, this is a fun ride. There are even some dramatic scenes that works as well ( of course the action scenes is the biggest advantage with this film ). Let´s talk about the characters. Alita, played by actress Rosa Salazar ( known from 2 of The Maze Runner films ). I think she does a really good job portraying Alita, and even if you see her used by a lot of CGI effects, she does still do the acting mixed with special effects. Legendary actor Christoph Walz ( who have done a lot of good films such as Inglorious Basterds and The Hateful Eight ) as Dr. Dyson is one of the most interesting characters in this film. He helps cyborgs fix their bodies, while he mourn the loss of his daughter many years ago. I think one of the things his character manage to do, is give the film a humane tone of a man who wants to help anyone he can. One cool character in this film known as cyborg bounty hunter Zapan. Played by actor Ed Skrein ( who you might remember from the great Netflix film known as Tau ), he gives his character a really strong impact as a bounty hunter, with a special designed sword. Another really cool cyborg character that looks massive, is the cyborg known as Grewishka ( with the voice of legendary actor Jackie Earle Haley ). The fighting scenes between Alita and Grewishka are one of the highlights of this film. There is a love story here as well, between Alita and a human known as Hugo ( played by actor Keean Johnson ). The battle scenes in the sport event known as Motorball, also give this film some entertaining moments when you see cyborgs battle against each other, while chasing some kind of ball. Director Robert Rodriguez is clearly a fan of the Manga comic books, since you can tell that he have tried to tell the story of Alita and capture the look of the comic books. Of course, only fans who have read the comic books knows the source material better than me, but i enjoy Rodriguez vision of the character Alita. I also think director Robert Rodriguez have managed to tell the story in a futuristic way, without doing it too predictable. You can see that he have used some elements from classic films ( and a bar scene actually reminds me of the bar fight in his classic From Dusk Till Dawn ), but that´s ok since he does a good job. Alita: Battle Angel is a fun ride in the Cinema, and will entertain especially fans of comic books in general. If this film is still running in your local Ciname, go and watch it so we can hopefully have a sequel.