Ignore the naysayers, Alita kicks ass

After teasing us with a series of theatrical trailers for over a year, the highly anticipated sci-fi action film Alita: Battle Angel has finally landed in cinemas in Thailand and around the world.

Since it premiered at London's Odeon Leicester Square on Jan 31, the film has received mixed reviews from critics, with some feeling that it has a weak script or a sappy storyline. But after experiencing it myself in the IMAX theatre, I found it to be quite the opposite; the film is pure entertainment, with stunning visual effects and great action sequences. It has to be one of the best manga adaptations yet.

Perhaps it's understandable for the film to be met with such a mixed response. Previous Hollywood attempts at live action versions of Japanese manga have been underwhelming (case in point, 2017's Ghost In The Shell remake). But Alita: Battle Angel is what happens when Hollywood gets an anime film right, with great writing from James Cameron (Titanic and Avatar) and direction from Robert Rodriguez (Sin City).

Alita: Battle Angel, based on the popular 90s Japanese cyberpunk manga Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro, is a dystopian tale set in 2563. An unknown female cyborg (Rosa Salazar) is discovered, broken and lifeless, in a rubbish dump, where she has spent the past 300 years. She is a remnant of an apocalyptic war that has ravaged the land, leaving behind a nightmarish urban landscape known as Iron City. Those who can afford it live in Zalem, a floating metropolis that represents an impossible dream for the bounty hunters, criminals and impoverished people below.

The wrecked droid body is dug up and rescued by Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), a doctor whose speciality is cyborg repair. He discovers that she has a human brain and a heart full of antimatter. Dyson successfully revives and gives her the name Alita.

At first, Alita has no memory of the past. She experiences everything in Iron City with childlike wonder. But while she discovers the love and friendship of human beings, soon enough she also discovers that she possesses unique fighting skills and a killer instinct.

Shot for shot, Alita: Battle Angel stays very true to the original manga, with only small differences in the timeline. You can tell that a painstaking amount of work has gone into making this film. It looks extraordinary, with stunning visual effects and CGI work. Alita in particular is incredibly well done, with every detail, especially the face and eyes, helping to make her convincing as an android with a human soul.

The romantic subplot between Alita and a young human called Hugo (Keean Johnson) is also done right; it doesn't feel forced, nor does it get in the way of the action. The film does a nice job of not revealing too much too early, slowly establishing the world and the backgrounds of the characters, drawing in the audience as it builds towards some epic, showstopping fight scenes. The film ends with Alita remembering her past and discovering that she has an important destiny (which we will hopefully get to see in a sequel).

So if you're a fan of sci-fi or action, ignore the negative reviews and go experience Alita: Battle Angel for yourself. This is, by some way, one of the most exciting films of its type since the first Matrix movie.

Alita: Battle Angel Starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly Directed by Robert Rodriguez