By STACY BAUER & DAX HUGHES
Jimplecute Movie Reviewers
Not usually into sci-fi, this film piqued my interest with its far-out, fantastical storyline and interesting visual display. It’s directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) and based on ’90s Japanese manga series Gunnm (also known as Battle Angel Alita) by Yukito Kishiro.
It’s the year 2563 and we have a devastatingly new, post-war Earth. In Iron City, Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) is the Cyborg master-mechanic. He comes across an old, familiar metal-body of his own design, that of his daughter, Alita (Rosa Salazar).
She’s vaguely aware of her past, and soon enough, a love interest appears in Hugo (Keean Johnson), who is intent on partnering with her full self-discovery. Hugo’s an assassin who has been promised by Vector (a minion of the evil ruler Nova) a straight line to heavenly city Zalem if he can bring in enough cyborg parts for Motorball, chop-shop style.
In Motorball racing, cyborgs fight to the death, as the prize is coveted, direct access to Zalem. Alita follows Dr. Ido one night, only to discover he’s a Hunter-Warrior (bounty hunter). She instinctively attacks the cyborgs who are after him, killing two and severely damaging a third, Grewishka, who retreats underground.
Despite Alita rediscovering her skill in the ancient martial art of “Panzer Kunst,” Ido discourages her from becoming a Hunter-Warrior. He also refuses to install her in a new and improved body she’s found for fear of incompatibility. But as teenage daughters are apt to do, Alita rebels, and registers herself as a Hunter-Warrior.
This sparks in her a reincarnation, and an ultimate realization as to where her true abilities and gifts lie, in becoming her authentic self.
I’m all for “girl warrior” as key protagonist, in a strong, powerful and piercingly affectual way. Alita exudes strength (outer and inner) and confidence. For far too long, the only heroes on screen were all boys, men and grandpas. It’s terrific for this storyline to be centered around a positive female force, with her story as the main focus, and along the way empowering and inspiring a new generation of young women.
“Alita: Battle Angel” is rated PG-13 and runs 125 minutes.
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