GHOST IN THE SHELL
Direction: Rupert Sanders
Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek
Rating: 1.5 / 5
Ghost in the Machine has the cyberpunk aesthetic but lacks the core element of soul.
In a future dominated by technological tinkering, a female human-cyborg hybrid (Scarlett Johansson) is tasked with investigating a series of crimes committed by a disgruntled cyber hacker (Michael Carmen Pitt).
You’ll see flashes of the Matrix trilogy, Ex Machina and RoboCop in this live-action retread of the Japanese animated sci-fi tale of the same name. But the script rambles from one pointless predicament to another as the one-woman army attempts to come to terms with her true identity.
In short order, the hybrid also learns a number of disturbing details about the boss (Peter Ferdinando) of the shady corporation which reassembled her as a weaponised machine.
Skyscraper-sized holograms dot the neon-drenched cityscape but the production design is lackluster, as are the digitally generated action scenes. The climactic confrontation with a gargantuan spider tank unfolds in a swirl of blurred images.
The multi-national cast includes Danish hulk Pilou Asbaek (the protagonist’s partner), French legend Juliette Binoche (the do-gooder doctor) and, notably, Japanese auteur-showman ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano (the sardonic chief of the anti-terrorist unit).
Despite its high-tech trappings, Ghost in the Shell is just another leaden Hollywood behemoth.