Armitage III: Polymatrix
Armitage III: Polymatrix is a movie condensed from the Armitage III OAV series and released domestically in the US for fairly mainstream audiences, featuring the voices of Kiefer Sutherland as Ross Sylibus and Elizabeth Berkley as Naomi Armitage. Ross Sylibus is a police officer who transfers to far-future Mars to begin a new life, leaving the memories of Earth behind him. His cybernetic limbs belie his fear that he is losing his humanity, becoming one of the robots he despises. Naomi Armitage is his brash, sexy, and deadly partner who has a secret of her own - she is a Third, an android so lifelike, physically and emotionally, that very few suspect she isn't even human. But Thirds are now being hunted down by the mysterious and brutal Rene d'Anclaude...and Ross and Naomi must reconcile their differences to solve the crimes...and just survive, when they stumble unto a plot far more sinister than they could have imagined.
Armitage III, at first glance, looks like yet another sci-fi actioner, without too much meat to it. But to my surprise, I was quite entertained by this movie, even if it suffers from the typical OAV-to-movie syndrome, in which there's not -quite- enough plot and character development to excel.
The dub, given the checkered history of the leads in live action, is rather decent. In fact, Berkley as Armitage actually gives a stronger performance than Kiefer Sutherland's rather tired-sounding, if acceptable, Sylibus. The action is well done, with crisp animation and cool mecha and weapons. (These two pack serious artillery near the end.) And though the story isn't really that realistic, the concept of an android with the ability to fall in love and reproduce is an interesting one indeed. (And unlike other Elizabeth Berkley roles *ahem* sex is treated off-screen and discreetly.)
The music soundtrack, by and large, is quite excellent except for the final climactic battle between the two renegade cops and the forces that would annihilate the Thirds...the battle is quite impressive, but the music during that scene is simply too ethereal to work.
Still, it's not really quite as good as having a four-tape long OAV series, but it's a worthy watch, even if we've seen some of this material before in Ghost in the Shell, Akira, etc. etc. (especially with the Blade Runner influences). If anything, Armitage III is a better-than-average actioner with enough meat and suspense to it to be generally entertaining, and some of the scenes are masterful works of animation. However, despite the novelty of the big-name American voice actors, I'd watch the four-tape OAV series instead, given the chance. But if you don't have the OAVs available, rent this. It's a lot of fun.
Like Cliff's Notes: concise, informative, but not as good as the real thing. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Some nudity on the part of the Thirds, and some rather brutal violence on d'Anclaude's part limit this to older teens and adults.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Armitage III: Polymatrix © 1994 AIC / Pioneer LDCA / Oniro
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