Retro Review: Vexille
From the production team that brought us the latest Appleseed film, Vexille is an action packed sci-fi thriller that’s nothing short of a visual feast. Appleseed producer Sori make his return to the director’s chair for this heart pounding look into a Japanese society that worries more about robotics than its own people.
Vexille tackles the question of how far man will go to gain physical superiority. In a future where the use of robotics can augment humanity a general consensus is reached within the global community. The UN passes a resolution declaring the use of android technology on humans forbidden, a resolution signed in to international treaty law by all member states except Japan, who has become the worlds technological leader and the supplier with most of the globes robotics. With their declining of the treaty Japan opts to adopt a new policy of national seclusion. Withdrawing from the UN, Japan expels all foreigners from the country and installs an electronic shield that scrambles any sort of electronic or satellite surveillance. They’ve cut off access with the outside world, except for the regular shipments of legal Daiwa robots, the largest producer of robotics in Japan. Cut off from the world, nobody has seen or been to Japan in ten years.
Enter S.W.O.R.D., a U.S. Navy Special Operations unit charged with policing the misuse of robotic technology. The unit receives a tip about an upcoming meeting on U.S. soil involving an upper level Daiwa executive, who’s body just so happens to be made of a bio-metal, and several international politicians that could have ramifications affecting the entire planet. The unit conducts an operation to capture the Daiwa excutive, but when they move in they discover most of the politicians are dead and the Daiwa executive has escaped. Realizing that something is cooking in Japan that could pose a threat to the rest of the world, S.W.O.R.D. plans a covert operation to infiltrate Japan, regain surveillance capabilities, and conduct espionage.
Vexille is unusual in that it takes the approach that Japan is the international villain and America is the one that’s needed to straighten out the mess. Although the movie is a high powered action adventure there’s more to it, it takes a hard stance against Japanese nationalistic ideology and portrays those who believe in the Japanese as a superior race as deluded and dangerous. But mostly, Vexille is an in your face action movie that likes to blows stuff up.
Often times we’ll hear how there are not character developments in these type of movies, luckily that can’t be said with Vexille. There is some reasonable depth of plot, character and motivation that makes makes it the complete package. You actually care what happens to the rebels and feel for them. You’re actually engaged in the story, as well as the visuals and that’s a refreshing change of pace.
The animation technique used in Appleseed has been pushed to the boundaries, the characters are more physically expressive with a vast improvement shown in the facial expressions and mannerisms. There are a few simply stunning scenes where you’ll think that you’re watching a live action film. Even though the movie is fast paced the animation does not suffer one bit. In fact it’s the exact opposite, it thrives. The closing chase scene featuring the rebels being pursued by Jags, a huge metallic spiraling vortex which is extremely reminiscent of the sand worms in the Dune series, is something that will leave you amazed. To put it simply, this is one of the most impressive animated movies you’ll ever see.
With a compelling story and visuals that make it one of the best animated films ever released, Vexille is pure enjoyment.
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