009 Re:Cyborg REVIEW

009 Re:Cyborg film review.

Release Date: 7 June 2013
12A | 103 minutes
Distributor: Anime Ltd
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Cast: Mamoru Miyano, Daisuke Ono, Chiwa Saito, Nobuyuki Katsubi

Superhero teams do record-breaking business in live-action, so it must have seemed like a good idea to release this anime actioner about, yes, a superhero team. Alas, it’s a dud.

The heroes (who are, as the title suggests, all cyborgs, each with different powers), have a geek cachet in Japan, where they’ve appeared in various comics and cartoons for decades. However, they’re pretty much unknown here. The film assumes that we know the characters already, but there’s practically no humour or team chemistry.

Unusually for anime, 009: Re Cyborg is made in 3D (glasses required), to push the spectacle. The animation is highly slick but seldom striking, with faces and images polished to a dull anonymity. There’s also a workmanlike action film score, by Ringu’s Kenji Kawai.

The script – about the Cyborgs combatting an invisible force that makes people topple skyscrapers and nuke cities – is lousy and laughable. Anime fans may be able to take the talky portentousness, but the ideas are ridiculous; we’re asked to swallow zombie soldiers one minute, then batshit philosophy the next. If you’re not offended by the 9/11 “Truther” angle, you will be by a historical reference so hideously tasteless that the translators should have quietly deleted it. At least Avengers Assemble sometimes remembered there were ordinary humans at stake; here we’re meant to care that a cyborg outruns a nuclear blast while millions of extras die.

Andrew Osmond

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