I remember seeing this trailer and thinking: those are some big eyes. I was interested, but when the title came up, I sighed. However, I stuck with the trailer because of my love for Robert Rodriguez’s back catalogue – maybe Alita: Battle Angel would be a bit of fun?
And for some parts, it was.
The story starts as Dr Ito (Christoph Waltz) finds the remains of a cyborg in a huge rubbish pile in the centre of the city. Knowing the cyborg is something special, he fixes her (Alita) up. But it soon becomes apparent he’s found a weapon of mass destruction as she begins to use her powers.
I say it ‘soon becomes apparent’ but actually, it’s a bit of a trudge for her to become the ‘battle angel’ you know she’s bound to be. My fiancé sat next to me, arms crossed, eyes rolling further and further back as cliché upon cliché piles up – much like the big old rubbish pit the city is built around.
However, once Alita fully builds on her mad skills, the pace picks up. Rather impressive fight scenes utilising heavy CGI pull together the often stammering narrative and fumbling pacing of the second act. But as the trudge is replaced by a drudgery of boss battles, it becomes repetitive and predictable.
So by the end, Alita: Battle Angel feels like a bloody long film. With subplots, battle games and generally dithering monologues, you’ll lose interest quickly – piqued only by glimmering moments of mild emotion and glimpses of Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelly.
It’s a slow-paced bit of fun, but there are shorter films that pack more of a punch.
I’ll give it a 2.5/5. It’s not bad, but just not good either.
Audience rating: Some guy was in our seat. It looked like it might just kick off, but it didn’t. High octane.