In a near-future dystopia, the world has been torn ragged by war. For some reason, the Japanese are living in
The not so good:
The opening of the movie is rather ponderous, and the story is a bit clichéd. However, considering when it was written, that's forgivable. If I had a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture and symbolism, I would probably find a lot of hidden meaning in the opening sequences. But I rented the movie because I wanted a slick action film and wasn't really in the mood to look or think very hard. At certain points in the movie, it seemed that having the story make sense was not important – like the stuff with the stop-motion little guy in heaven. I didn't get that at all.
The really good:
The colour and costumes are fantastic. The European robot army brought back fond memories of Terminator, and the voices of the actors are wonderfully reminiscent of anime voice acting. So are the poses taken on by the actors during the endless dramatic sequences and during the fight scenes. When they story moves, it moves fast, and the viewer is treated to a plethora of how-many-cool-images-can-we-stuff-into-a-two-second-interval of artistic eye candy sequences worthy of some of the best mecha anime around. There are a lot of explosions, some katanas, funky spaceships and motorbikes, and the soundtrack kicks butt. On the DVD case, the movie is compared to The Matrix, but I don't agree, aside from some of the robots having red bug-eyes. I'd say it's more like Flash Gordon, and some of the shots of Tetsuya jumping up into the sky during an attack reminded me of Bleach, and the gratuitous techno stuff was a teensy bit like Hellsing or Tank Police. Some of the soundtrack is exactly the same as Bleach and the non-speaking guy is rather Wonderwice-esque. And in case you're wondering about half-way through the movie, the ending does come together nicely and make a lot of sense.
Definitely worth watching, but maybe rent it first instead of buying it right away.