Akira | Chicago Reader


Rated R 124 minutes 1988

An interminable Japanese SF animated feature (1988), based on the graphic novel by Katsuhiro Otomo, who scripted and directed this adaptation. Set in the metropolis of Neo-Tokyo 30 years after an atomic bomb has been dropped on Tokyo Bay, this superviolent epic borrows liberally (if unimaginatively) from Blade Runner, The Road Warrior, Japanese disaster movies, Brian De Palma's telekinesis movies, and SF writer Alfred Bester to create the equivalent of the dullest of all possible computer games. The backgrounds tend to overpower and be more interesting than the foregrounds, which are usually cluttered by interchangeable teenage bikers with nerdy, dubbed-in American voices and what appear to be white gums instead of teeth. Grade-school violence freaks may find a few kicks here, but even they may have trouble coping with this ugly movie's ending about eight separate times.

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