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  1. Published on: 11/08/2019 03:42 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: A revived cyborg goes on a quest to remember her past life.

    To say this film has had production delays is an under statement. When filming ended in early 2017, it took two years until the films release.

    With a combination of visual effects taking longer than expected and the studios switching dates due to its release conflicting with stronger competition, we finally get this large sci-fi project.

    This was initially James Cameron's project. But after deciding to concentrate on his many Avatar sequels, Cameron switched over control to Robert Rodriguez, who is mainly not known for directing Sin City, the Spy Kids franchise and the Mariachi trilogy.

    So I felt mixed expectations was the right approach going into this. However, I was ready to be disappointed more than anything else as post-production delays pretty much means that the studio has little confidence in this release.

    I have to say that while I liked the world-building, the majority of the story did have me feeling underwhelmed. But the longer it went on, the more I got into it. While that was helped by the action, the strongest engagement I had with the film was in the second half.
    Despite all of that, the ending was very disappointing. It ended up being just a set-up for future films, which judging by the critical reviews and box office figures, that's not going to happen.

    Getting that feeling immediately as the credits roll, had me somewhat annoyed as it had me questioning why this never tried to be a standalone film as well as an introduction to this new sci-fi spectacle.

    That being said, there was a good amount that I still enjoyed. The type of story is one that I'm always up for, I liked the lot of it, the character designs and especially the cool technology involved. Anything that has or has had Cameron's fingerprints on it usually involves realistic future technology and I enjoyed what I saw from this particular aspect of the film.
    I also enjoyed the action, the way it was shot and how it helped certain characters and their development within the story.

    What I didn't like was the lack of strong characters and not quite fully grasping the potential scale of the story that would make it feel like a true cinematic spectacle.

    Most of the acting wasn't bad, it just wasn't memorable. Rosa Salazar did a good job in what was probably her first major leading role. I felt she carried the film surprisingly well and certainly gave me a character to root for by the end.
    Christoph Waltz was rather underwhelming I felt. The more times I have seen Waltz since his major breakthrough ten years ago, the more I feel that only Quentin Tarantino and maybe Tim Burton can get the best out of him. The rest of his back catalogue is rather ordinary in terms of his performances.
    Ed Skrein I felt was a nice highlight. I have said that a few times about Skrein and I'm glad to see him continuing to show his talent. Skrein I think was the cast member that seemed to fit the tone.
    Other notable mentions I feel go to Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly and Keean Johnson. Ali for me was a mix over-the-top and pretty decent, Connelly pretty ordinary and forgettable and Johnson's inexperience showed and never felt worthy of the major character he was cast in to.

    So despite its problems, I felt it was solid entertainment in the end. There was enough content in there for to engage with and as it got better for me the longer it went, it had feel more satisfied by the end then how I was feeling halfway through.
    It's a shame that Cameron never got to complete this project that was initially given to him. But I feel Rodriguez gave us enough flavour and potential to this brand new sc-fi.
    It probably won't get the sequel it's setting itself up for, but I think if you're up for some new sci-fi and enjoyed similar ones such as Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, Mortal Engines and Jupiter Ascending then I feel you will have a fun time with this.

    Rating: 7/10

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