"The actual hand-to-hand combat is realistically bloody, but the bot-to-bot combat is cartoonish, further diluting the film's impact on the viewer."
Director: Kazuaki Kiriya
Producer: Hideji Miyajima, Toshiharu Ozawa, Toshiaki Wakabayashi
Cast: Yusuke Iseya, Kumiko Aso, Akira Terao, Kanako Higuchi, Fumiyo Kohinata, Hiroyuki Miyasako, Jun Kaname, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Susumu Terajima, Hideji Otaki, Tatsuya Mihashi, Toshiaki Karasawa, Mayumi Sada
Running Time: 140 min.
Plot: In the future, years of chemical, biological and nuclear war have poisoned the land and endangered humankind. A scientist develops a means to save humanity through cloning, but a terrible lab mishap unleashes a race of mutated beings on the Earth
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
NINGEN'S REVIEW: A scientist can't get funding for artificial organs which he hopes to use to save his ailing wife. He gives in to an offer from a general to fund his project, but the general's only exploiting his work to create a new enemy to fight. Unfortunately, the mutants kidnap the scientist's wife, and he's forced to resurrect his dead son to rescue her. The cyborg which he becomes-Casshern-is conflicted, because the Neo-Sapiens-as they're called-are just trying to live their lives, and are only attacking an imperialistic nation which doesn't even respect the lives of its fellow humans.
Having never seen the anime, I'd have to say that Casshern is gorgeous and thought-provoking, but also a mess. It introduces too many supporting characters who barely have any importance, and it drags out interactions between them beyond any value to the central plot. I will give credit to the director for choosing not to make a traditional sci-fi action flick to the point that the hero questions his choices, and isn't much of a fighter, either. The backdrops have beautiful use of color, and the cg ships and robots don't feel cg. But the problem is that the themes are too complex and demanding of the audience's attention for a film which can't seem to decide on which characters are central to the story. The actual hand-to-hand combat is realistically bloody, but the bot-to-bot combat is cartoonish, further diluting the film's impact on the viewer. Casshern is clearly ambitious, but doesn't quite deliver on its ideas or approaches to the genre.
NINGEN'S RATING: 8/10 for style, 5/10 for substance, 6/10 if you don't watch it in one sitting.