A nice mix of several elements from the Akira movie and a lot of American action films, Spriggan seems to be the easy choice for all those who want good action and a twist of metaphysics. Unfortunately, the real potential of the movie was hardly exploited, thus it remains just a quick watch for the average American formula fan who digs lots of explosions under the influence of oriental aesthetics. The movie encompasses so many action clichés that fails to be anything else other than an optical delight hanging over a story written by an 8 year old.
The first impression I had of the movie was “WOW! Holy sh*t, it rocks!” For a 1998 production, the animation is superb. Characters and objects have a lot of detail and move realistically most of the time. Plus, there are practically no stills or repeating frames! Seriously, everyone moves all the time and never performs the same gesture twice. The animators used motion capture and filmed real actors in order to get this result. I tell you, only a dozen movies ever managed to get it so good. The Miyazaki films, Akira, Ghost In The Shell and a few others are on par with this baby. Great stuff, I tell you.
The highlight in the movie is the car chase in a Turkish city, in the first half of the movie. This is better than most Hollywood films featuring a similar scene. The characters use martial arts, weapons, arms and the camera moves like crazy. All of which, happen in a realistically depicted Middle East city, full of by-standers and traditional decorations.
The second half of the movie is where things start to get ugly. The events take place in an arctic enviroment, which is nothing more than a blank landscape. There are lots of visual effects, caused by the psyonic villain and an ancient Doomsday device but all these feel very superficial as they lack the realism in physics of the first half of the movie. Sure, many will say that superhumans with psychic abilities, cybernetic implants and uber strength fighting in ancient ruins, full of neon lights and laser beams make far better brawling than normal people having a car chase in a typical city. Still, realism goes haywire in the second half and the amazing detail in cloths and backgrounds gives its place to cheesy explosions and a thousand drone soldiers, all of which look and dress alike. Devolving the optical feeling of the backgrounds into a testosterone hype of endless explosions simply does not work for me.
The music themes have a really epic feeling around them, boosting the suspense sky high. Very good in building tense.
Very good to listen to, but nothing great to remember about. Sound effects consist mostly of sounds of explosions but sometimes there are nice touches, such as making characters sound distant when they are far from the camera. Nothing bad about them.
The voice acting and the dialogues are what damage the whole. Everyone sounds very lukewarm and most of the talking consists of stupid one-liners such as “You can’t defeat me. I am God!” and “As if I would lose to a runt like you. I’ll fight you up to the gates of hell!”
Cool visuals! Too bad those pesky characters are in the way and block the view…
Ah, pretty bad. Since this is a movie there is practically no time for character development for any of the cast. Besides that, none of them has an imposing presence or looks special enough to give notice. Hell, the villains are supposed to be cyborgs and yet look more stupid than great. They turned an otherwise realistic optical feeling into the average freak show of fighting shonen titles. The main character has a very typical appearance and his backdrop story has been used so many times in action titles that leaves you with no feelings about him. He has this blonde partner next to him but you get squat info about him. And then we have the main villain, a crazy, megalomaniac super powerful telekinetic kid that simply wants to play God by destroying the world. Duh! There are some secondary characters in the story, such as the professor and the hero’s boss, but are there just for taking up time. You could remove them completely from the movie without any problem.
Pretty pathetic for a cast, the only thing that saves some face is the hero’s flashback in the ending that offers a simple insight about his character. All the rest are practically drones that are there to be killed without a second thought.
Indiana Jones meets Akira.
Pretty simple and straightforward. There is this secret organization that finds ancient Doomsday devises and mobilizes superhuman agents if some opposing organization messes things up. Well, the villains in the story steal Noah’s Ark, which in the context of the film it is this huge neon glow contraption that can destroy the world. The hero is an uber powerful warrior that has to fight former colleagues and prevent this kid with God Syndrome from using the device.
There are no real surprises in the scenario. Half of the duration is about battles amongst super freaks and the other half are run-of-the-mill dialogues about ideals and grand-scaled dreams of grandeur we have seen a billion times already. If that wasn’t bad enough, the conclusion is actually a teaser. “The battle has just started!” mentions the villain, as he reveals there are dozens of other Doomsday devises and super freaks like himself around the world. This movie is clearly meant to be the pilot to a series that never came to be.
-I’ll be back! -I won’t be here to welcome you.
Well, it is a light watch and does pack a lot of great graphics. Then again, story and characters suck. All my fondness about the movie faded after seeing the hero defeating the bad guys and surviving nuclear explosions, no matter how many bones he had broken. Plus, that open ending felt too much like a lame excuse for a sequel that left a sour taste in my mouth. The chances of liking or watching the movie again are less than few.