Alita: Battle Angel


Viewed – 07 January 2019  Cinema

Director James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator 2) had been hoping to helm this adaptation of the popular Japanese manga.  However, his attention these days is focused on the Avatar sequels, and so with a large degree of supervision he passed his passion project onto Robert Rodriguez, a risky move in my opinion as the once celebrated genre film maker hasn’t had a major hit in a while, with Sin City probably being his last movie to make any sort of rumbles. 

Alita

Set in the distant future, this has Christoph Waltz’s cybernetic limb doctor stumble upon the remains of a robotic girl, and goes about bringing her back to life, only to discover she has incredible fighting abilities.  ‘Alita’ you see, has clouded memories of a past that is linked to the hovering city of Zalem, ruled over by omnipresent ruler ‘Nova’.  What was she before?  What do her memories hold secret, and why are thugs seemingly hellbent on capturing her?

Visually stunning and with state of the art technology, this is a fun adventure with a breakout performance by Rosa Salazar as Alita (underneath Avatar-style CGI).  Along with a great Guipetto-like turn from Waltz who always lends presence to each movie he appears in and a story that cracks along at a good pace, I found myself having a great time with this.  Occasionally the CGI over-load reveals some shortcomings with one such scene looking like the actors are not part of the scenery (the rooftop scene), but in many other aspects it’s jaw-dropping (Alita herself bug-eyes and all, and those mutant bad guys).  The movie also falters at being clearly the beginning of a much larger story, with too many questions left unanswered.  Also the love story sub-plot is a tad cheesy, and less said about Jennifer Connelly’s performance the better. 

Yet with solid world-building and some bad-ass action (the bar fight, the motor-ball sequence), not only has Rodriguez found his groove … but Cameron can also be proud to finally realise such a vision.  Roll on part 2!

Verdict:  3.5 /5

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Adding to the collection


Have I ever told you guys I collect PVC statues?  Mostly of the Japanese anime and fantasy art style, female characters is various sexy poses with elaborate costumes and props.  In my experience some have looked on this collection as strange, but I think they are really cool.  I don’t particularly see them as sexual, but more a very appealing art-style that has made such things as Japanese Anime the phenomenon it has become.  Find below just a few pictures of some of my favourites in my collection, and feel free to post your thoughts.

Dark Elf

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Dragon Tiger Gate


Viewed – 24 April 2011  Blu-ray

Two brothers in the Hong Kong / Triad underworld are forced to bury their differences when a ruthless gang boss rages war.  Kung Fu legend Donnie Yen plays Dragon, the lead henchman of the White Lions gang, and newcomer Nicholas Tse plays Tiger Wong, part of the much respected Tiger Gate training academy.

The story is thin at best, with bland characters and very little depth.  Yet we’re not here for deep messages and meaning – we’re here to see Donnie Yen and Nicholas Tse kick ass … and does this one deliver!  Director Wilson Yip’s movie is awash with colour, special effects and jaw dropping action, that although ridiculous and fantastical compared to Yen’s much acclaimed Ip Man movies, still packs a helluva punch.   Naturally a compelling story would have gone a long way to caring for these characters, and with well used kung fu movie clichés such as rival fighting schools and silly sounding martial arts styles, this severely lacks anything to sink your teeth into beyond the admittedly beautiful visuals.  Yen remains one of the finest action stars around though, and also choreographs the action brilliantly, even if subtlety and restraint go out of the window.  Nicholas Tse, one of a group of good looking Asian stars more famous for being pop stars than martial artists, delivers a great physical performance and carries the movie well, aided by a nunchuku wielding Shawn Yue, sporting a frightful grey wig, and a likable Dong Jie as a gang boss’ daughter.

So by all means check this out.  It’s packed with action and style, but the limited story and wafer thin characterisation may leave you cold.

Verdict:  3 /5