The subtitle of this installment, "The Third Exhaust" couldn't be any more apropos, as it's an exhausting series to try and like.
Story - 2/10
When I say the story left off where part two ended, I'm surprisingly not exaggerating. Rune and Dr. Easter are still seated at the blackjack table, trying to win enough chips so they can gather all the million dollar coins that store Shell's memories. This goes on for half of the film, with time wasted on reciting card counting theory and other tips to blackjack. Once the house finds out what’s going on they send someone in to break up Dr. Easter's plan, so Rune must now rely on instinct to win. (Yeah this was all so very useless.)
Upon completing their task, and obtained all of Shell's memories, they return home in an attempt to decipher what they can, to use as evidence in the trial against him, but unfortunatly this turns Shell from villain of our story, to just another tragic figure. With everything truly being perpetrated by the often used cliche of "The big evil rich guy/company did it.”
A large majority of the ending consists of a gun fight between Rune and Boiled, which pretty much seems like the whole reason they made the series, to have a big knockdown battle in the end.
Animation - 8/10
The animation in this series will always take top billing, and it doesn't hurt when the first half of the film takes place in a venue that allows for vivid colors and scenes. They brought to life the world inside the casino, despite the entire scene taking place at one blackjack table. (Although personally I think Heat Guy J did it much better well over a decade ago.)
Sound - 3/10
Again, sound is somewhat of an after thought here. There's so little put into it, which is sad because music and atmosphere can bring so much life to a series lacking as much as this one did.
Characters - 3/10
Since things were finally being wrapped up they needed to explain the back story of at least one character, and that's pretty much all we got. The story of Shell and why he does what he does is finally explained, and it's straight from the cliche handbook.
Overall - 3/10
I can't help but think the writers of this series had just read a book on the secrets of winning at blackjack, and decided they wanted to have a cool casino scene in their film, having no plot they just cobbled together some random ideas, and then spent a whole ton of time explaining the tricks of the game.
While there was some potential, they squandered that on putting most of the detail in a single gun battle, the blackjack game and gratuitous nudity (The hallmark of a bad series that needs to pull people in through gimmicks.)
What I Liked: Consistantly brilliant and stylish animation (excusing the dumb effects in the poker scenes and two animation gaffs). Starts exactly where the second film left off. Great soundtrack. The final fight is well-animated and well-paced. The finale ties everything up neatly in an almost melancholic fashion. Psychological aspects of the movie are handled rather well, especially Rune Balot's struggle with the meaning behind her death.
What I Didn't: Starts exactly where the second film left off, without any form of recapitulation. Dumb-looking effects in the poker scene.
Final Verdict: Even though the trilogy wraps up in a catharic and almost lacklustre manner, you have to hand it to Mardock Scramble for finding a happy medium between thought-provoking analysis of sex, death, rebirth and everything-in-between and flashy technology-and-skimpy-outfits action Sci-fi.