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Alita: Battle Angel (3D)


Stars: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Rick Yune, Casper Van Dien

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Says co-producer James Cameron, who, I assume, intended the film to be the first in an action-fantasy-super-heroine franchise, 'Alita is a moral character in a very immoral and dark world. In this world of the future, everyone is compromised. Her father figure is compromised. Almost everyone is compromised or has sold out or made their deal with the devil...except for her and she won't do it,''he said. "My eldest daughter, Josephine, was 7 at the time and I was thinking a lot about being a dad and what it is to raise a daughter and what life will be like in her teen years'.

The plentiful, mostly mindless action that stuffs this blatantly expensive, logic-starved science fiction cyberpunk action extravaganza (derived from the Japanese manga Gunnm and co-scripted by Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis) takes place some 300 years in the future in Iron City, a run-down, grimy post-war metropolis overshadowed by the flying city of Zalem where Waltz's compassionate cyber-physician discovers the battered mess of metal and plastic that is the eponymous Alita, restoring her to become a top-of-the-line cyborg gladiator, who soon finds fame starring in the Iron City's popular no-holds-barred rollerblading-style game Motorball, while proving that she possesses human instincts by embarking on a romance with street-smart teenage human Johnson.

Sensibly - since while the narrative becomes increasingly complex it also succeeds in becoming less convincing with every scene - Rodriquez drives the show fast and furiously with emphasis on eye-catching special effects and lashings of loud and lurid action rather than credibility, creating a cyber heroine who should appeal to effects-and-action-driven teenagers seeking spectacle rather than believable or logical storytelling.


Enjoyable adrenaline-drenched action and effects, irritating plotting.

(Bill Pope's 3D cinematography is a considerable asset, which is rather more than I can say for Tom Holkenborg's grating score).

Alan Frank

Canada/Argentina/USA 2019. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour.
121 minutes. Widescreen 3D. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Feb 2019