2017 – USA
Director: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano
Words: Christian Abbott
22 years after the original film changed the course of modern science-fiction, influencing and inspiring filmmakers who would later go on to make films such as The Matrix, I,Robot, Ex Machina among many others, now we have a Hollywood remake that is anything but inspired. The politics of this film have been debated since the announcement of Scarlett Johansson who was cast as the lead: The Major. Putting all that aside, judging the film on its own merit is rather disheartening – it is never a good sign when you are watch checking by the 15 minute mark.
The Major – a cyber-enhanced human to be used as a super weapon is tasked to stop the world’s deadliest hacker. That is the premise, on paper it sounds exciting, but the execution is so bland that even the flashiest of lights in the city of Neo-Tokyo’s vistas can’t save it. All character’s aside The Major are completely one-dimensional, many simply footnotes side of frame in the occasional scene. Johansson, with Under the Skin and Lucy under her belt has become known for these not-quite-human characters and again she excels in this. Unfortunately she is completely under served by a script that would rather dance past the philosophical discussions of the original film, rather focusing on the visuals and set pieces (which are impressive to be admitted).
That is largely the problem with the entire film, it is all surface, besides the gimmick of seeing these characters in live action, there is little reason to watch this when the outstanding original got it right 20 years ago.
The finished product is actually something of a disappointment, while many online seemed to want it to fail, I had hopes it would at least entertain, yet, it even failed in that. This will be forgotten to the garbage bin of science-fiction misfires. Pass.