Spawned in the cyberpunk boom-years, Armitage III may take its themes from Blade Runner like many other series, but it's another Dick story, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, better known as Total Recall, that provides the setting. Interesting as the prospect is, however, the Armitage III series does little to make use of its relatively unique setting, instead merely supplanting an earthbound high tech, low life Hell-hole for a Martian one.
A slew of great ideas and poor execution, Poly-Matrix lacks any real storytelling verve - when it should be constructing a dark and gritty world, it throws in awkward attempts at humour that only make the heroine seem infantile. The plot, too, feels wrong, with the pacing thrown off by exposition dumps, badly scripted antagonists and confusing attempts at 'art' cinema scenes. Poly-Matrix is not just one good film done wrong, but a whole mess of films done wrong, lacking in focus and throwing everything it can at the viewer in an attempt to have something stick.
The sounds in the film fall flat, with fight scenes seemingly ill-timed and punches sounding like a pillow fight, but it's the English voice acting, especially, that offends the ear. No doubt Funimation considered getting Kiefer Sutherland on board as something of coup d'etat, but his delivery is all off, sounding more like a line-read than a finished product. There are moments his timing is so off you are left wondering if he was even watching the film, and it's clear from his tone that he'd rather be elsewhere.
With the title a reference to Armitage, a central character in William Gibson's Neuromancer, Armitage III has numerous allusions to other cyberpunk works, and I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and assuming the people involved really cared about making something great, because there are nods that only real fans will appreciate in this. However, the constant references only make it all the clearer that Armitage III is not as entertaining, clever or interesting as those things. Great potential, scuppered by confused writing, poor sounds and dull animation.