|Peter Chung’s animated MTV series, which made scores of young male anime fans sing with joy and lust in the mid ’90s, gets resurrected and plastered on the big screen. What’s missing is Chang’s terse, cyberpunk edge; instead, 400 years in the future, after Earth has been decimated by a plague and the remainder of mankind lives in cordoned utopia, we get toothless melodrama and convoluted political machinations. As the title rebel assassin fighting the totalitarian regime, Charlize Theron brings considerable thespian muscle to the table, and she looks fetching in scanty S&M fantasy garb, but her talents are wasted on a one-dimensional role that was crafted for a two-dimensional medium. Karyn Kusama directed Girlfight back in 2000, so she knows how to present a woman as tough, sexy, and vulnerable, all at the same instant, but here her heroine’s biggest vulnerability is to a possible wardrobe malfunction.
BY TOM MEEK