Natural City (2004)

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A renegade cop who is selling illegal A.I. chips on the black market to fund his obsession with an android dancer goes head to head with a terrorist trying to use the technology for his own nefarious ends.

Blade Runner goes Manga in this Korean sci-fi which takes the basic story of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece and mixes in Matrix-style action sequences and Asian techno-babble, pretty much ruining everything about the idea that made it good. The biggest problem with the film though is the weak characterisation which makes it very difficult to care about anyone involved. The protagonist comes across as a corrupt, obsessive drunken arsehole rather than complex anti-hero, and his robotic lap dancer who acts like a zombie with Parkinson’s disease just doesn’t work as romance because we never get to see how it blossomed. The same is true of the friendship between he and his partner, making his redemption at the end seem rather meaningless.

Natural City does have a few stylish action sequences and the production design is very nice, but the plot doesn’t really hang together and without characters you can root for it all seems somewhat pointless.

5/10

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