Appleseed Ex Machina - (Region A Import Blu-ray Disc)
Starring Appleseed et al
Discovery Miles 4 850
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Jason, Bellville. 4 December 2009
The big draw here is the involvement of John Woo with this project, and indeed his involvement is made apparent very early into the movie by a flock of pigeons taking flight near a giant cathedral. (Reminders of The Killer, perhaps.)
The influence extends, naturally, to the action scenes in that they are better flowing and more balletic than those in the previous Appleseed movie. And there’s also more use of such devices as mirroring contrasts, slo-mo to emphasise grace and highlight tension, as well as an underlying theme of camaraderie in the face of great adversity.
And with that lies my biggest problem.
In movies like The Killer, Hard Boiled, and Face/Off the elements I mentioned were integral parts of the respective narratives, making those movies more than mere mindless blast-a-thons by injecting a very real humanity into them. Here, they feel tacked on with the aim of attracting new demographics. I swear it’s like something you’d find on an infomercial:
“The new John Woo Action Movie Improvement Kit! Tacks on easily to liven up even the dullest of action movies! Call now, operators are waiting!”
Elsewhere, the film does boast a level of sophistication not seen in the first. There’s a definite air of My Fair Lady at work as Duenen undergoes a bit of an awkward Eliza Doolittle transformation at the party scene. And let’s be fair, that despite the now hackneyed John Woo aesthetics, the action sequences and the personal drama bits are all the better for it when compared to the previous effort. Storytelling is that bit more focussed, animation is that bit smoother. It is an overall improvement.
I watched this on Blu-Ray, and while the picture came through with really good clarity and detail I was left I bit let down by the sound. Sure, the Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack does translate to better effects steering and an overall more cohesive soundstage when compared to “normal” (which I’m trying to mention without any negative connotations) Dolby Digital. But I still would have appreciated an uncompressed soundtrack and its associated superior dynamics. In Japanese please, as the English track is voiced by many an ex(?)-ADV voice actor. Here they are on the wrong side of inconsistent, failing to inject much emotion or drama when it is required.
Overall, an OK effort with occasional flourishes of stale brilliance. But still one I don’t regret having seen.
Region A - Includes most North, Central and South American countries and South-east Asian countries including the Republic of China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.