The best western bigger $$$ adaptation of a manga/anime yet, which may not be saying a lot but look, more in tone than All Shell No Ghost. Okay rivaled by All You Need Is Kill (Edge of Tomorrow). It does show trying to cram so much into a 2 hour span, ending on a more open season / sequel promise we may never get. And it totally deserves more, so I hope.
Been like 15 years since I last finished a read of the manga (original Vols. 1-9), maybe longer since watching the short OVA. In that time, even longer since Cameron originally took a visible interest (circa '99-00, The Matrix era). Some of the impact Hollywood could’ve adapted isn’t quite the same now: comparing had it been done say more toward a decade back when he chose to do Avatar instead. I think hurdles remained whoever ended up directing it, cgfests cyberpunk and transhumanism are far more recognized than niche. Now just more mundane and APPLE-ized compared to the 90’s and early 00’s darker romance.
It’s fun, sweet, sad, and vicious. Having to remix the first third or so of the original story into something different, it’s still pretty damn faithful where it counts.
Personally would’ve enjoyed it being closer to source material R-rated, but the concession for an edgier PG-13 I see drawing more in. That and another 20-30 minutes would’ve let everything breathe better. It’s still a success, and for Rodriguez imo, near Sin City. Wavering around B+. If it had crushing problems I’d drain it, can’t help but see this one half full though. Peep it if you’re interested, doesn’t deserve to bomb.