VEXILLE, Fortress Japan 2077


From the makers of “Appleseed” and “Appleseed ExMachina” comes the latest CGI futuristic film in the lineup, “Vexille”. The film is both stylistic and sleek to view. Pairing it with its pulse pounding counterpart, the electronica stylings provided by Paul Oakenfold (“The Matrix: Reloaded”, “Swordfish”) the film appears to be of a much darker depiction of the future than its predessors. The story begins in the year 2077, where a persecuted Japan has decided to withdraw from the United Nations. Accused of illegal research in the field of robotics, Japan closes all its doors to the world for ten years in retaliation.

Enter SWORD: a unit of commandos with the latest state of the art military tactical gear. On a secret mission to spy on Japan’s developments, they succeed infiltrating the country for the first time in a decade. The SWORD covert mission becomes privy to a meeting held by the Japanese industry baddies, the giant Daiwa Heavy Industries. Headed by immaculate suit and designer sunglasses sporting Saito (Akio Otsuka), an android of Daiwa, Saito is aware of their agenda and waited for them in order to spring the trap.

Lack of action does not apply to this film as you are quickly tossed into the thick of things as SWORD’s recon directive goes awry. One of SWORD’s top soldiers, a woman who with a fiery spirit named, Vexille (Meisa Kuroki) loses her unit in the scuffle and her comrade/lover Leon (Shosuke Tanihara) in turn becomes a hostage for Daiwa.

Vexille is rendered unconscious and awakens in a dilapidated area which once was Tokyo. This “new” Tokyo is now a home for those who live on the edge of becoming more machine than human in their eventual transformation, courtesy of Daiwa. Vexille’s path becomes entwined with underground fighters against the establishment. She meets Maria (Yasuko Matsuyuki), who once had a romantic past with Leon and others who make up her rag tag unit. The action culminates to their final mission- take out Daiwa HQ. We have the plot, the plan and those brave enough to carry it out.

Despite the intriguing storyline and the essential elements which formulate the plot points, as a whole it falls short of being a cohesive film. Lacking the emotion of the previous “Appleseed” films, we end up with a lead character who is extremely boring, lacks substance and sputtering dialogue we wish would just stop. Though the soundtrack by Paul Oakenfold is quick paced, rhythmic, and elicits a suspenseful power packing punch of a mood, it succeeds in every other film except this one. There is a disconnect between visuals and audio. They just don’t seem to be unified or fit into this film. As a result, the great soundtrack is wasted and unfortunately, as beautifully stunning the CGI is, the story fails to move us to anything but out of the theatre.

Weak: 1 Star   Average: 2 Stars   Good: 3 Stars   Very Good: 4 Stars   Excellent: 5 Stars


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Tobe R. Roberts

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