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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An excellent character study despite its flaws

7/10
Author: mike-1145 from Minneapolis, MN
9 October 2002

Mamoru Oshii's first two "Patlabor" films were excellent, both incredible and atmospheric pieces of work that always focused on characters first. For the third movie, you will find almost none of the original production staff involved but for Kenji Kawai, longtime Oshii composer. This said, I entered into the experience skeptical and was pleasantly rewarded.

WXIII, which stands for "Wrecked 13" for an almost indecipherable reason, is a fitting continuation of the series that gets occasionally bogged down in a ridiculous "big monster" plot. Much like the second film (arguably Oshii's best), fans should note that the main characters of the regular Patlabor series appear only incidentally. Asuma and Noa are the first members of Unit 2 to make an appearance, in a non-speaking part, almost 30 minutes in! Goto and Unit 2 don't have an actual speaking role until the last 20 minutes or so of the film. The movie focuses entirely on Detective Matsui, now older and on the injured list, and his young partner. Viewers of the first two films will recognize them, and it's a welcome exploration of their lives. In essence, it's a detective story, although the outcome is never really in doubt.

What makes the film so enjoyable is the excellent characterization of the detectives. The monster plot-line is fun at points and ridiculous most of the rest of the time, but thankfully it's spread out pretty thin. There are some beautifully composed shots, the music is spot-on, and the script is clever and in keeping with the tone of the first two films. There are some annoying plot holes that a Kazunori Ito script would have avoided, but it is overall a good effort from the new screenwriter.

Those expecting an action-fest will get a couple of fun, suspenseful moments, but otherwise look elsewhere. But fans of solid drama and intrigue will be rewarded. The Japanese DVD has excellent subtitles and a number of fun extras, so if you have an all-region player I would recommend it for your collection. Patlabor 3 is very good film that, despite its flaws and the reputation of the previous films, succeeds in the right places. 7 out of 10.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Very Sophisticated Animated Movie

10/10
Author: Cantonese Boy from Toronto, Canada
15 May 2002

I was lucky enough to see this movie when it first came out in March 2002. It was featured at the 2002 Hong Kong Film Festival before the rest of the world sees it except Japan. Both the director and the writer of the movie came all the way from Japan to introduce and Q/A at the screening hall. How often do you see that? I had never seen a Patlabor movie before. I was totally blown away by how sophisticated this movie was. It rivals many Hollywood production movies if not better. The detective story, the visual, the soundtrack, the well written dialogues, the action sequences (though there are little) are all world-class beyond reproach. Fans of Patlabor will also be surprised by a change of perspective in this new movie, like that of "Metal Gear Solid 2" for PlayStation 2. This movie is simply amazing!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Stunning Return For A Classic Series

Author: the polar bear from Farnham, England
12 December 2002

I've been an anime fan since i was 11, and now, in the year 2002 over 10 years later, i'm delighted to say that i still find such remarkable titles such as this. As a standard mark....my favourite anime movies include.....Akira, Jin-Roh, Princess Mononoke, Cowboy Bebop, Grave Of The Fireflies, Wings Of Honneamise, and so on.

The first Patlabor movie was one of the first anime i ever saw, and whilst it is now finally starting to show its age, it's follow up remains a benchmark in both the standards of animation and story-telling that animated features have managed to achieve. And being directed by the now legendary Mamoru Oshii who would expect anything less. But for the third film the Patlabor usual suspects disperse and let a new team handle it with the only consistant contributor being the finest composer in animated or live action films in the east... Kenji Kawai.

Importing the japenese dvd i was salivating at the chance to watch this highly anticipated sequel and a day after i've finally managed to qualm my excitement to review it.

I have to say that i was blown away by this flick. The animation is continuously gorgeous and at times just ridiculously beautiful with an attention to detail that i have never seen before. The characters aren't going to be easy to get to know if you've never seen any of the other Patlabor films or series, but center here around the detectives rather than the Labor operatives themselves. Its a wonderful touch to see the regulars of the series wander about in the background in certain scenes following their perspective of the film that would usually be what we got to see. The story is quite remarkable. Not because it's not slightly familiar to this sort of anime (especially the sub-dued, dreamlike government conspiracy plots that tend to regularly be used on the Patlabor flicks) but because it's pulled off with an elegant ease and makes far more sense than most people would probably give it credit for.

Not wanting to give any of the deliscious surprises away....this film plays out like a cross between Patlabor 2, a Tom Clancy novel, and a hefty slice of Godzilla. That's right. I really don't want to say anymore about the plot though. The animation style is the very best of both worlds comprising of Jin-Roh style realism set to Ghost In The Shell detail and elegance. And of course - the music is absolutely superb.

If i have any flaws with this film it's that the outcome is rather predictable, but it doesn't really seem to be the directors intentions to keep you guessing anyway. So if you are the type of person who wants twists and turns and action packed anime look elsewhere. There's pretty much no humor, barely any action(although when there is its all the more punctuated for its absence elsewhere) and only features the Patlabors themselves in the last 15 minutes or so. However if you find that they aren't enough gentle, genuinely interesting, sumptuous and mature anime out there then this will probably end up as one of your favourite films of all time....animated or otherwise.....just like me.

09/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Ever-so-slightly-Above-average anime thriller (With its share of flaws)

6/10
Author: Clayton from Australia
10 January 2009

Last week on SBS, I managed to catch Patlabor 3 at one p.m. Wow. Thankfully, it was the one anime that wasn't airing at midnight or one in the morning, like SBS always does.

Starting off, you'll notice the lackluster voice acting in the English dub. It sounds monotonous to the point of blandness. Blandness is also a problem with the character designs, as the main character (who resembles the garbage-truck guy in Ghost of the Shell)'s eyes are reminiscent of the creepy dead eyes problem in The Polar Express. Most of the characters are Average Joes and Janes, but then again this isn't an extreme action anime like Bleach or Dragon Ball.

Instead of the thought-provoking philosophy of the previous Patlabors (and also largely to blame for the directorial absence of Mamoru Oshii) we're treated partially to a monster film, which takes away a lot of the thriller aspect. I mean, really, couldn't the writing team come up with some thing a little better? Well, at least we have good animation.

To finish, if you enjoyed the previous films, you might want to pick this up, but if you're looking for a deep and philosophical film like Ghost in the Shell or The End of Evangelion, you might let it pass.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A different twist for the Patlabor series.

Author: emasterslake from United States
6 October 2007

In the year 2000, one year after the Babylon incident. A mysterious creature has been spotted in the Tokyo Bay destroying fishing ships and patrol boats. Two detectives are on the case, and try to gather up clues on the mystery. As it later turns out, they're dealing with a biochemical monster that can only exist by being made by a human. And their yet to find out who's responsible for it's existence before it destroys Tokyo.

Unlike the previous Patlabor anime. This one revolves on 2 characters who aren't part of Special Vechiles Division 2. But it does take place in the same universe. Only we don't see too many Labors at all. And every one we know from Patlabor are only in 1/4 of the movie. With the exception of Captain Gota being the only original character having the most screen time. While everyone else is a minor character in this movie.

Making it not look like a Patlabor movie at all. Despite it directed by someone other than Mastu Ohjii and newer animation. This is consider to be the weakest in the Patlabor series. Not saying it's bad at all. Just the director failed in giving it the same spirit as the other movies and TV shows.

It's more of a Monster anime flick than a Mecha anime flick.

If it was directed by Ohjii, then we'd see it as the same level as the previous movies. That and it's more of an in-between movie than a sequel cause it takes place between the first 2.

Overrall Patlabor WXIII does succeed in having believable characters, actions, drama, and locations. If your a fan of the franchise, you might not find this one to be satisfying.

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The best Japanese procedural since Kurosawa's High & Low

10/10
Author: borg-cy from Los Angeles
23 December 2013

Anyone who comes to this anime expecting cliché Japanese robot/monster fights is in for deep, deep disappointment. But if you are interested in one of the finest Japanese procedural films since Kurosawa's High & Low, watch this film.

I have no idea what inspired the creators of the otherwise pedestrian Patlabor series to create this almost noirish meditation on the grey, atomized life of modern Japanese. But by combining the deliberate pace of Kurosawa's masterwork with portraits of weathered bureaucrats and alienated beauties lost in in Tokyo's concrete jungle, this work envelopes one in Japanese life at the millennium. It's an extraordinary piece of immersion into a culture that is superficially like ours but in reality vastly different.

The plot i subside the point--it is the day to day details of the two lead detectives that are the true subject of this astonishing film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

oh well...

4/10
Author: cjhaacke from Canada
6 April 2006

I was completely jazzed to track down the third Patlabor movie; the first two are among my favorites.

The third lacked that certain something...namely the main characters from the first two, reduced to minor supporting roles at best. We don't see the progression of the characters like we did between 1 and 2, which, to be honest, was part of what I was looking forward to seeing in the third. They showed up, a little; I found it funny when Captain Goto, in a meeting, asked why he was there. I had to laugh, because I was asking the same question, as he seemed to me to be in the scene just so people knew it was Patlabour 3. If Section 2 didn't show up in some form, even a few scenes, people would not have been able to tell. So they did. In a few scenes.

I was disappointed.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

not for beginners

Author: gjhong from Canada
28 April 2003

I just rented the North American DVD and was surprised to see a US movie trailer in the package. This trailer says the movie was in theaters in January of 2003. I don't remember seeing anything like that in the local newspaper. Maybe it was a limited run in selected cities. Anyway I must warn you that like most movies based on existing series there is no reintroduction of the characters. That means if you don't know who does what the movie won't tell you. Also the Special Vehicles Unit takes a supporting role because the story revolves around the captain's detective friend. That means your favourite characters will hardly get any screen time or lines to say. I will give the movie a "B" rating.

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