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Aegis (2005) More at IMDbPro »Bôkoku no îjisu (original title)

1 item from 2005


1 June 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Japan's impregnable Aegis escort ship is taken over by a rogue commander in this high-seas variant on The Hunt for Red October. A lumbering action-adventure weighted down by the ballast of mechanical aesthetics and pat storytelling, this load is not likely to navigate in commercial waters much beyond the Tokyo area.

On a straight course to Davy Jones' Locker, Aegis never sails beyond the doldrums of its mechanical rendering.

Usually one must attend a science fiction movie to encounter such drab dialogue and clunky expositional narrative. Essentially, the storyline is akin to that of a generic actioner with a mothership-type colossus preparing to launch against the home planet, in this case, Tokyo. A renegade officer has pilfered a deadly toxin from a U.S. military base and has staged a mutiny on the formidable Aegis.

While the plot springs from the political malaise of modern-day Japan -- in which the effete nature of the Japanese military is questioned -- Aegis is, essentially, a load of narrative ballast. The screenplay is strictly by the numbers, and the dialogue is so leaden with exposition that one never identifies with any of the characters: They are all talking heads or, in the case of the casts' uninspired delivery, barking heads.

Visually, Aegis is also a stinker. Despite keen cooperation from Japanese naval authorities, director Junji Sakamoto never captures the dominant stature of the vessel, shooting in a drab glaze of medium-shots, punctuated by talking heads.

While staged with precision, Aegis clanks with the fakeness such micro-aesthetic attention fosters. Most woefully, the action scenes smack of choreography, and what should be visually a "big" movie never sails beyond dinghy dimension. »

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