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Appleseed: Ex Machina

Appleseed: Ex MachinaVisionary Japanese director Shinji
  Aramaki and internationally-acclaimed
  producer John Woo (Face/Off,
  Brokeback Mountain) unite to create
  the outstanding animated science
  fiction epic Appleseed: Ex Machina
  based on the Seishinsha comic book
  by Shirow Masamune and a world
  away from ordinary animé...

IT IS AD 2133. More than half Earth's population has been killed off by a non-nuclear global war and the planet is uninhabitable. Unable to find a grain of hope, the survivors created a high-tech 22nd Century answer to the Garden of Eden: Olympus.

Those injured in the war have been reconditioned as human cyborgs and international disputes are buffered by a breed of genetically-engineered humans called Bioroids — designed to be emotionless and, therefore, neutral.

But all is not well in paradise. Despite the presence of the peace-keeping ESWAT — an elite police strike-force who use huge combat robots and have world-wide jurisdiction — rogue elements have entered Olympus and are intent on gaining control over its inhabitants.

Led by Commander Lance (Chris Hutchison), ESWAT is dispatched to the cathedral — where an unknown heavily-armed group of terrorists suspected of being combat cyborgs is holed-up with top ranking EU officials and scientists as hostages. And this gives the ESWAT team plenty of scope to strut their stuff. Human Duenan (the voice of Luci Christian) and her human-cyborg partner Briareos (the voice of David Matranga) are amazing! But of course, they have a special relationship outside their jobs and are sworn to protect each other.

Briareos risks his life saving Duenan and is badly damaged, so comes under the responsibility of the talented Dr Richard Kestner (John Gremillion). The delightful Duenan is incandescent with rage when she is forced to team up with Tereus (Illich Guardiola) — a genetically-engineered soldier, grown from Briareos' DNA. Not only is handsome Tereus identical to the pre-cyborg Briareos but he also becomes his rival for her affections. Meaty stuff!

Duenan's friend, Vice-Minister Hitomi (Hilary Haag) introduces her to a natty little device called Connexus that has become all the rage in Olympus. ESWAT team member Aeacus (Mike MacRae) is among its many converts.

While ESWAT is still trying to track down the source of the terrorists, world leaders are attending a summit led by Prime Minister Athena (Allison Sumrall). Nike, Chief of Staff of Olympus (Shelley Calene-Black), greets Yosheno (Melissa Davis) from Poseidon Global Industrial Technology, who assures them that her company would have nothing to do with terrorism — despite the fact that many of the terrorists were equipped with parts from Poseidon.

One of the subjects of the peace conference is to enhance surveillance by having Olympus controlling international satellite systems, but in some areas it is met with suspicion and talks are at breaking point.

Charged with the responsibility of monitoring the summit, ESWAT find they are under attack from the terrorists. Briareos is forced to kill Aeacus, who has been acting strangely and becomes out of control. How does the long-dead Dr Xander (Alice Fulks) fit in? Or the strange words from a dying human who has taken part in the orchestrated riots: "We are one… We will all be one…"?

Briareos, Duenan and Tereus are forced to put aside their differences and — with the help of high-tech wizard Yoshitune (Chris Patton) — work together to defend the future of mankind.

Appleseed Ex Machina is an action-packed feature-length Japanese animation — based on the popular all-action sci-fi manga by Shirow Masamune (Ghost In The Shell) — and is an evolution of the original Appleseed animé released in 2004.

With all the hallmarks of John Woo's films, Appleseed: Ex Machina is a thrilling spectacle of science fiction adventure and features next-generation technology, making it even more sophisticated and explosive than its predecessor.

Appleseed: Ex Machina is definitely a cut above the rest. Check out the heart-stopping slow-motion gun-play, become absorbed in the entertaining story, thrill to the all-action set-pieces, sigh at the romance and no, that's not your heart a-fluttering — it's John Woo's trademark white doves!

The real showcasing element of Appleseed: Ex Machina is the outstanding film design and visual style. A combination of meticulous motion capture and superb cell-shading CGI animation really make Appleseed: Ex Machina a stand-out title for DVD collectors. The buildings are beautiful and there is a great depth of field to every scene, with excellent use of light and shade. The beautiful original score is by Tetsuya Takahashi and sets off the magnificent animé. The well-paced screenplay is by Kiyoto Takeuchi.

Saddle up and drop in with the ESWAT team in this second instalment of a widely acclaimed Japanimation — Appleseed: Ex Machina is available now (released 2 June, 2008) from Warner Home Video as a two-disc collector's DVD and Blu-ray set.

DVD and Blu-ray Specifics: Running time: 100mins (+ extensive EC) | Certificate: 12 UK / 15 EIRE | Genre: CGI Anime Sci-fi | Special Features: Team Up — John Woo and Shinji Aramaki; Revolution — Animating Ex-Machina; Commentary.

"Gorgeous art design, zippy, entertaining plot" — Anime News Network

"Pumped to the max visually" — Variety

"…a world away from ordinary animé... Appleseed: Ex Machina is a cut above the rest. Check out the heart-stopping slow-motion gun-play, become absorbed in the entertaining story, thrill to the all-action set pieces, sigh at the romance and no, that's not your heart a-fluttering — it's John Woo's trademark white doves!" — MotorBar