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Friday, March 1, 2019

Alita: Battle Angel 2019 * * 1/2 Stars

Alita: Battle AngelDirector: Robert Rodriguez
Year: 2019
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali

"You are the most human person I have ever met". So says the lovelorn character of Hugo in Alita: Battle Angel (my latest review). Good insightful quote because I don't think anyone in "Alita" actually registered as a full-on "human" being. Robo-apocalypse now people!

In Alita: Battle Angel, a female half robot with a mortal brain attempts to recollect her past while trying to find herself in fictional Iron City (circa 2563). She also strives to become a star athlete in the savage sport of Motorball.

Image result for alita: battle angel movie scenesStarring Rosa Salazar, the miscast Christoph Waltz, and the miscast Mahershala Ali (these dudes should have switched roles as the villain and non-villain), "Alita" doesn't quite win the "battle" for my total recommendation. Big eyes and small-boned aside, Salazar as "Alita's" lead comes off a little wooden even though she aptly knows how to handle herself in a fight.

Registering at a running time of just over two hours and scripted by James Cameron (where the heck has he been?), Alita: Battle Angel is the cyborg movie to end all cyborg movies. Fundamentally, "Alita" is a little bit of Blade Runner, a little bit of A.I., a little bit of 1975's Rollerball, and something akin to an early flick by South African Neill Blomkamp. Look for some cheesy dialogue, some sumptuous yet dated special effects, and a one line cameo by former Oscar nominee Ed Norton (huh?).

Image result for alita: battle angel movie scenesAll in all, "Alita's" veteran director (Robert Rodriguez) has never been the most cohesive of maverick storytellers. With Alita: Battle Angel, it's just another sci-fi case of rinse, rinse, repeat. Still, Rodriguez knows where to put the camera, he knows how to shoot in 3D space, he ferociously knows his whip pans, and he knows how to intensely film samurai-style action. "Alita" may be polarizing, soulless, and mechanical but at least there are cinematic bodies in motion. That's half the darn "battle". Rating: 2.5 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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