WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3 | Chicago Reader

WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3

Mobile Police Patlabor was a direct-to-video Japanese anime series that exploded into a TV, movie, and comic book franchise in the late 80s and early 90s, but the series lay dormant for almost nine years before this 2002 feature, directed by Fumihiko Takayama, brought it back to the big screen. The back story isn't necessary to understand the plot--but it's a lot more interesting than the plot. In the late 20th century on Tokyo Bay, giant robots called Labors were deployed by a government land reclamation project to shore up the city against the rising waters of the Pacific. But they've fallen into the hands of terrorists, so now the police have Patrol Labors of their own to prosecute robot crime. In this outing the chief detective and his young colleague try to solve the serial murders of some construction workers, and the younger detective romances a beautiful but moody young woman who works for a powerful biomedical lab. Eventually the police uncover a hell-raising monster created from biological waste (“WXIII” stands for Waste Product Number Thirteen) that has crawled into a discarded robot shell. The romantic denouement is so predictable it must have driven the animators mad as they worked, but their modest art is eerily effective, and you have to like a film in which a child's performance of Beethoven's Pathetique accompanies the final goring of the beast in an empty stadium. 100 min.

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