Review Date: 1/24/15
Cast: India Eisley, Callan McAuliffe, Samuel L. Jackson
A live action adaptation of the 1998 adult anime film, without the sexual overtones and rape subplot. In a dystopian near future, a teenage girl named Sawa (India Eisley) works for a shifty policeman named Karl Aker (Samuel L. Jackson) as an informer and an assassin. He keeps her hidden away and pumped full of drugs in order to brainwash her and bend her to his will, but she's slowly becoming more violent and unpredictable, and Karl's friends in the police force are starting to suspect something dirty going on. The drive to avenge her father's murder is all that keeps Sawa going, but can she handle the truth surrounding his death?
Sadly, apart from a stellar performance by India Eisley, the film is pretty awful. It looks okay and the cinematography is decent, but the editing is appalling and the script is weak and nonsensical. While she's not particularly attractive, Ms. Eisley does a superb job portraying the physically abused and psychologically frail Sawa, and is the only one in the film who takes the material seriously. Her deadly presence is intoxicating and you can't keep your eyes off of her (despite her hideous wigs). Given the right opportunities, she has a bright future ahead of her. Everyone else in the film seems dazed and confused, and even though Samuel L. Jackson adds some star power, he comes across as uninspired. The film is surprisingly bloody and Sawa gets into some pretty messy situations. Unfortunately, the action scenes are weak and the fight scenes suffer from an overabundance of cut-aways and invasive editing. While it's better than I expected it to be, as a female action film it's only marginally satisfying.