Directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis Alita: Battle Angel was a pleasant surprise.

When I first heard of this project I was extremely excited about the prospect of James Cameron directing and bringing to life this bad-ass anime I saw as a kid. It felt too good to be true. Turns out it was, as time went on production chairs revolved and the next thing you know Cameron was no longer directing and he had appointed the task to Rodriguez, who, let’s be honest has been more miss than hit in his movie career.

But alas,  I remained hopeful…until I learned of the casting, then a bit of dread started to creep back into my bones. Were they drifting into regressive left territory? Was this going to be another horrid experiment in “intersectionality”. Were we about to be lectured to by James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez about the wonders of diversity and how straight white men are the scum of the earth? My hopes sank and I stepped back into the darkness to await a potential dumpster fire.

Then I saw the first trailer. It had wonder. It had action. It had special effects…but the stench of the SJW was oddly absent. Could this be a trick? Were they luring us in with a false sense of security? Maybe, but I had waited a long time to see this film, so I took a chance.

I am glad I did.

Alita: Battle Angel is far from perfect but what it gets right is pretty damn good. In my mind it proudly holds the title of the best live-action anime adaptation to date. It respects its base by staying close to the original story while still managing to feel fresh and exciting. Rosa Salazar, while not my first choice, brings her A-game and has made me a believer. She dances between a fierce warrior and a heart-breakingly earnest young girl with ease. They did an excellent job capturing her expressions which avidly let us know how the character was feeling. Her few missteps were the sole fault of a script that, while adequate, contained a few lines worthy of audible groans.

Christoph Waltz handled the role of Dr. Dyson Ido superbly and was a pleasant guide to this new and at times terrifying universe.

Ed Skrein rounds off the last of the very good performances in my opinion. He played a very convincing scumbag as Zapan.

The rest, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, and newcomer Keean Johnson (Hugo) were so-so…not bad enough to detract from the film but nothing to write home about either.

What makes this movie worth the price of admission is Alita kicking ass, and kick ass she does. You know they are doing something right when you realize the movie is about to end and you are still ready for another hour of cyborg smashing action.

Another great thing about this flick is you leave the theater without feeling like you’ve just been pooped on. No attacks on your person or gender. Alita doesn’t hate men (unlike Captain Marvel), in fact she’s more than willing to give her heart for one. You get the feeling that she would cheer for you just as much as you cheer for her, and cheer for her we do.

This is how you write strong female characters. This is a film that is worthy of your support.

Rating

4.5 out of 5 stars

Propaganda Meter

SJW propaganda?…damn near none…this food is safe to eat!

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