Aeon Flux comes to the big screen out of a series of MTV short animations, one of the more successful attempts at western anime. Despite its music video origins, this movie boasts a director and star to do its high concept sci-fi ideas justice. Charlize Theron is the main attraction, smouldering and posing her way through a series of beautifully shot set action pieces, vignettes and mysterious flashbacks. The second star is arguably her bottom, wiggling its pert way through every other scene and stealing its Oscar winning owners?thunder at every turn. If Charlize acting ever lets her down with (which it does not in this film, she handles some slightly duff dialogue, silly one liners and naff attempts at mystery with her usual aplomb) then her butt is always there to detract attention. The excellent costume design plays up well to her talent in this area.

Gracious pert buttock action aside, the film has several other draws for the discerning sci-fi fan. Four hundred years in the future, the five million descendents of survivors of a killer-plague inhabit the last city on earth, a purported perfect society which is in reality a police state ruled by a series of dictators. In this city, people are murdered and children taken. Against this, a mysterious resistance movement called the Monicans headed by their top assassin, the titular heroine fights an underground ?i-fu?heavy campaign for justice and revenge. The usual twists and turns occur as Aeon begins to doubt her orders. Looks-wise it feels pleasingly in tune with the utopian/ distopian seventies sci-fi classics Logan? Run and THX-1138 with concrete buildings, sterile empty homes, happy young people and strange fashions. The plot also borrows from these in spades; dealing with the themes of genetically and socially stagnant societies, fear of old age and the implications of technological overkill in society.

The action sequences featuring kung-fu Charlize taking down bad guys on all sides are very well shot, and refreshingly free of CGI overkill. In fact, CGI is largely kept to a minimum, sets are mainly real, and the actors seem to benefit from it. The director makes sumptuous use of them, serving Edenesque Olympic village style splashes of colour up as the perfect future city, marred only by the stalking presence of its black clad police force. It is certainly a refreshing change from Star Wars green screen overkill. Technology wise, we see a wonderful post silicon society, water is used as a data processing tool, flowers are weapons, machines and doors and humans communicate with messages hidden in food and drink.

So why only 3.5? I put it down to a lack of engagement. None of the characters give you enough to emotionally connect with, it? almost as if the director? attempt to portray a sterile society has infected the script. The plot seems a tad contrived towards the end, especially if you can guess the twist. Some of the action and fights seemed a bit unnecessary, even in a film about an assassin. Despite her wonderfully superior posterior and the sound supporting cast including Pete Postlethwaite, it lacks the ability to draw in and hold onto the audience. One to rent of DVD I think.


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