Aeon Flux

Charlize Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Monster. Frances McDormand won once and was nominated an additional two times. Pete Postlethwaite and Sophie Okonedo both have one nomination. All have won or been nominated for a slew of other, smaller awards. And Girlfight yield director Karyn Kusama the Award of Youth at Cannes, the Grand Jury Prize and a Director's Award at Sundance, and a slew of other, smaller awards. All of this talent goes to waste in Aeon Flux (pronounced "eon"), which is based on the MTV cartoon, which was based on the comic by Peter Chung. Aeon Flux takes place 400 years in the future. A virus wiped out most of humanity, and the remainder live in Bregna, a city walled off from the rest of Earth.

The movie is too insubstantial to matter; it worries more about cool action sequences (Theron did her own stunts and actually broke her neck) than a coherent story. Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi's (The Tuxedo, Crazy/Beautiful) screenplay does begin to coalesce into something by the time the third act rolls around, but it is far too late by this time. Two things about Aeon Flux encapsulate the film. First, all of the actors speak in an odd monotone. For the most part, they refuse to use any sort of inflection in their voices, removing most of the energy from the film. The many fight scenes are choppy and over-edited. The view cuts sometimes more than once a second. There is no chance to sit back and enjoy any of the fight scenes, since the view changes so often. The characters could literally do one move, pause, do another, pause, then have the editor clip them all together.

Theron (North Country, Head in the Clouds), is Flux, the best operative in the group resisting Trevor Goodchild (Martin Csokas, The Great Raid, The Kingdom of Heaven). Goodchild is the leader of Bregna, and rules like a dictator. People disappear mysteriously, and lately, people are remembering things that never happened. The Handler (McDormand, North Country, Something's Gotta Give) assigns Flux to assassinate Goodchild. Flux's friend Sithandra (Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda, Dirty Pretty Things) accompanies her to assist. Oddly, once Flux is in position for the kill, she hesitates.

Aeon Flux plays a bit too much like a video game. One can divide the film into a number of short "missions." Get to Goodchild by avoiding sharp grass and killer fruit, navigate tunnels, shoot and kill snipers and what not. Theron walks around in form fitting uniforms, while Okonedo has hands for feet (really), McDormand has a really bad hair day, and Postlethwaite (The Constant Gardener, Dark Water) is wearing one of those things that dogs wear to prevent them from scratching behind their ears. The story does begin to get some heft near the end. It's great compared to the rest of the film, but nothing one couldn't find in any science fiction cartoon. Which, is basically what Aeon Flux is.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and sexual content.

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