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Overall Rating
3.35

Awesome35.29%
Worth A Look: 11.76%
Average: 11.76%
Pretty Bad35.29%
Total Crap: 5.88%

1 review, 11 user ratings


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Spriggan
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by Robert Collins

"In A Hollywood Adaptation, Schwartzenegger Would Star"
2 stars

Science fiction, like any other genre, has its pinnacles and, well, its unfortunate piles of filthy stinking excrement. There's "Blade Runner" and "Alien" on one side, and then there's "The Sixth Day" and "Battlefield Earth" on the other, ensuring the balance the quality equilibrium. The same goes for science fiction anime, as well. You've got your "Ghost in the Shell" and "Akira" over here, and, over there... well, you've got "Spriggan."

Say what you will about your mindless adventure flicks, but no matter how many times you've seen the same stuff recycled repeatedly again in movie after movie, some of them nevertheless have a mysterious pull to them. Despite being heavily derivative of the science fiction and anime mediums in general (it contains your typical cyborgs, super-soldiers, and strength-enhancing suits) and lacking rather largely in the realm of plausibility, Spriggan still succeeds in much of its first half of being an exhilarating, unpretentious, and non-stop action romp. Others have done it more creatively, more stylishly, or just plain better, but, when it comes to action, Spriggan is by no means a slouch.

Unlike some of its anime kin, Spriggan doesn't rely on a complicated plot that ensures a limited appeal. By no means a cerebral movie, its easily attainable story line requires effort to grasp and follow before the pitfalls of incoherence eventually strike late into the movie. Rather, its appeal would be limited by the grotesque examples of violence (which suit me just fine) and lack of cohesiveness: it feels rather disjointed at spots, with a glaring shift in style halfway through the picture.

Seventeen-year-old Yu Ominae leads a double life; high school student and genetically enhanced spy for a shadowy organization dedicated to the preservation of arcane artifacts called ARKAM. When a tragedy at his school forces Yu to investigate its circumstances, he uncovers an evil scheme and leaves for Turkey to find the recently uncovered Noah's Ark, which purportedly has the ability to alter the weather-- and save or destroy all of mankind. Enter the villains, who want to use the ark to execute one of the two previously mentioned options.

The enemy comes in the form of General MacDougall, a psychotic juvenile with extraordinary destructive abilities and a complete lack of self-control, who just happens to work for a rogue sector of the Pentagon. This assessment of the United States military is not exactly flattering, but it is an accurate evaluation of how much of the world views us; this instance of symbolism only grows clearer with the arrival of two of MacDougal's cyborg henchmen: Fattman, a former leader of Yu seeking revenge, and Little Boy, whose attacks with wires cleave body parts with such ease that only fleshy piles remain, also happen to share their names with the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. And I wonder if a scene in which MacDougall coldly shrugs when presented with the idea that he will destroy his own country was supposed to be thought-provoking.

But Spriggan seems utterly determined to makes its weaknesses more noteworthy than its strengths, and it concentrates on ruining its truly interesting premise and riveting action sequences with flat characters, an over-reliance on the metaphysical, and the desire to be unnecessarily thematically heavy.

You'd think that the makers of Spriggan would at least try to inject some kind of worthwhile religious subtext with the Ark's appearance, but, disappointingly, none is even attempted. Thus, the role of the Ark is both manipulative and utterly nonsensical. And once Yu enters the interior of the ship, the film takes a very unfortunate turn towards the surreal-- and for the worst. From here on out, the film becomes a jumbled, implausible, and vastly incoherent mess that succeeds at nearly nothing, and manages to be simultaneously dull, vapid, and stupid. It becomes so truly awful that one of the highlights of the climax is an escape from a fluorescent tyrannosaur. Yes, you read that correctly. And all the while it tries to incorporate the theme that mankind should eventually limit its progress-- yeah, the same one Akira did so much better.

While "Spriggan" isn't totally without its redeeming qualities, it is the fault of movies like these that anime is so often further removed from the mainstream respect it deserves. Whether an anime fanatic or one of the uninitiated to the genre, "Spriggan" isn't exactly the best viewing material the medium has to offer.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5573&reviewer=316
originally posted: 12/03/02 16:48:10
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User Comments

4/06/19 Kengh Yu's behavior is a bit stupid. 1 stars
10/19/09 Mr. Sisler Um, doc miesel says "from here on out its uncharted territory" 5 stars
10/02/09 Jared Um, you are a fuckin tard, spriggan is a fuckin awesome movie, suck it, efimcritic 5 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold A rare moment when the Eng vrsion=lashings better than Jap vrsion (at least w/ subtitles) 5 stars
6/25/04 Serious Stylez Maybe a little short on plot, but expansive in character developement. one out of two. 3 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern I agree with 'hugeben'... What are you fucks talking about? Try watching fuckin' Akira!!!!! 5 stars
10/31/03 hugeben what the fuck are u stupid fucks talking about this movie rocks!compelling and well animate 5 stars
7/25/03 concerned citizen loved it ,great action movie,great fun 4 stars
1/13/03 Goofy Maxwell You may want to avoid ruining this film by not revealing the ending to yourself. 4 stars
12/13/01 Vertago One of the best animes out there!! 5 stars
10/13/01 Thor-Leo Some technically nice scenes but otherwise nothing to write home about 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Oct-2001 (R)

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