This futuristic cyber-thriller is loaded with advanced technology, but it's in the service of a disappointingly basic plot with few surprises. In a heavily CGI’d Japan, super-soldier Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first robot to have an actual human brain, supposedly rescued from a dying refugee (though Major doesn’t remember her pre-robot life, so wink wink). Cared for by a compassionate scientist (Juliette Binoche) and supervised by a growling government functionary (Takeshi Kitano), Major leads the team that investigates when a terrorist (Michael Pitt) starts killing important robotics scientists. The film, directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman), thus becomes a spiffy-looking but dull police procedural, only mildly enhanced by innovations like cops communicating telepathically or Major sometimes turning invisible. (This is not explained, nor do I accept invisibility as a standard robot feature.) As for the implications of a Japanese robotics firm putting Japanese brains into Caucasian robots—but also giving the robots black hair and eyebrows, as if trying to pass them off as Japanese—well, you’re better off following the filmmakers’ example and just not thinking about it.
Director: Rupert Sanders
Producer: Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Steven Paul, Michael Costigan, Jeffrey Silver, Tetsu Fujimura, Yoshinobu Noma and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Peter Ferdinando, Kaori Momoi, Anamaria Marinca, Daniel Henshall, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara, Tawanda Manyimo and Adwoa Aboah