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TV
Director: Karyn Kusama
Starring: Charlize Theron Marton Csokas Jonny Lee Miller Sophie Okonedo Frances McDormand Pete Postlethwaite Amelia Warner Caroline Chikezie Nikolai Kinski Paterson Joseph Yangzom Brauen Aoibheann O'Hara Thomas Huber Weijian Liu Maverick Queck Ralph Herforth Megan Gay Rainer Will Charlie Beall Bruno Bruni Jr.
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Theatrical: 2005   Rated: PG-13
Duration: 93
Summary: Like the animated series it's based on, Aeon Flux is the kind of sci-fi that's best appreciated by the MTV generation. It's a serious attempt at stylized, futuristic action/adventure (the title character, played by Charlize Theron, is essentially a female James Bond for the cyberpunk era) and taken for what it is, it's not all that bad. The action takes place in the year 2415, four centuries after a virus nearly decimated the human race, leaving only five million survivors in a utopian city called Bregna. Aeon belongs to the Monicans, a secret rebel resistance force that is struggling to destroy the Goodchild regime led by its namesake, Trevor Goodchild (Martin Csokas), the ruler of Bregna and a descendant of the man who found a cure for the deadly virus. As instructed by the Handler (Frances McDormand, gamely playing along in ridiculous sci-fi regalia), Aeon is assigned to assassinate Goodchild, but there are deeper secrets to be discovered, and conspiracies to be foiled. This leads director Karyn Kusama (who fared much better with her debut feature Girlfight) to indulge in all sorts of routine action and fast-paced gunplay, but the elusive pleasures of Aeon Flux are mostly found in the sleek athleticism of Theron and costar Sophie Okonedo (as a fellow Monican), who commit themselves 100% to roles that are dramatically flat yet physically dynamic. Other highlights include Aeon's high-tech gadgetry (including an eyeball that doubles as a microsocope) and the amusing sight of Pete Postlethwaite in a costume resembling a construction-site disposal tube, but Flux fans may wonder what happened to the surreal, chromium sheen future that gave the MTV series its visionary appeal. As a live-action feature, Aeon Flux is a miscalculated exercise in cheesy style and dour tone, but it's entertaining enough to earn a small cadre of admirers. --Jeff Shannon


Director: Shinichirô Watanabe Hiroyuki Okiura
Starring: Kôichi Yamadera Bruno Mullenaerts Steven Jay Blum Martin Halm Unshô Ishizuka Beau Billingslea Yolanda Quesada Wendee Lee Megumi Hayashibara Marion Sawatzki Stéphane Flamand Aoi Tada Sabine Bohlmann Melissa Charles Ai Kobayashi Jennifer Hale Mickey Curtis Nicholas Guest Tsutomu Isobe Arnaud Léonard
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Theatrical: 2001   Rated: NR
Duration: 114
Summary: As the eagerly awaited Cowboy Bebop feature film reunites the original director, screenwriter, composer, and vocal cast, it's not surprising that the film plays like an expanded TV episode. What should be the routine capture of a two-bit hacker by Faye escalates into a deadly game of cat and mouse, as Spike and the gang struggle to prevent the evil Vincent Volaju from murdering every human on Mars. Director Shinichiro Watanabe handles the action sequences with his usual panache. Inside the sinister Cherious Medical research facility, Spike fights a beautiful agent, using a push broom in a series of maneuvers Jackie Chan might envy. The climactic duel between Spike and Vincent plays against innocent yet eerie images of a Halloween carnival, recalling the amusement park setting of episode 20, "Pierrot Le Fou." Knockin' on Heaven's Door will delight fans of the series and provide an excellent introduction for the uninitiated who want to know why Cowboy Bebop is so popular on both sides of the Pacific. (Rated R: violence, brief nudity, minor profanity, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon


Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Christopher Lambert Robin Shou Linden Ashby Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Bridgette Wilson Talisa Soto Trevor Goddard Chris Casamassa François Petit Keith Cooke Hakim Alston Kenneth Edwards (II) John Fujioka Sandy Helberg Daniel Haggard Steven Ho Peter Jason Lloyd Kino Gregory McKinney Mikal Moore
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Theatrical: 1995   Rated: PG-13
Duration: 101
Summary: based on the best-selling home video game, this action adventuretells of a group of expert fighters who compete in a dangerous tournament for the fate of mankind on a mysterious island.


Director: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Peter Weller Nancy Allen Dan O'Herlihy Ronny Cox Kurtwood Smith Miguel Ferrer Robert DoQui Ray Wise Felton Perry Paul McCrane Jesse D. Goins Del Zamora Calvin Jung Rick Lieberman Lee de Broux Mark Carlton Edward Edwards Michael Gregory Freddie Hice Neil Summers
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Theatrical: 1987   Rated: Unrated
Duration: 103
Summary: When it arrived on the big screen in 1987, Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop was like a high-voltage jolt of electricity, blending satire, thrills, and abundant violence with such energized gusto that audiences couldn't help feeling stunned and amazed. The movie was a huge hit, and has since earned enduring cult status as one of the seminal science fiction films of the 1980s. Followed by two sequels, a TV series, and countless novels and comic books, this original RoboCop is still the best by far, largely due to the audacity and unbridled bloodlust of director Verhoeven. However, the reasons many enjoyed the film are also the reasons some will surely wish to avoid it. Critic Pauline Kael called the movie a dubious example of "gallows pulp," and there's no denying that its view of mankind is bleak, depraved, and graphically violent. In the Detroit of the near future, a policeman (Peter Weller) is brutally gunned down by drug-dealing thugs and left for dead, but he survives (half of him, at least) and is integrated with state-of-the-art technology to become a half-robotic cop of the future, designed to revolutionize law enforcement. As RoboCop holds tight to his last remaining shred of humanity, he relentlessly pursues the criminals who "killed" him. All the while, Verhoeven (from a script by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner) injects this high-intensity tale with wickedly pointed humor and satire aimed at the men and media who cover a city out of control. --Jeff Shannon


Director: James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger Michael Biehn Linda Hamilton Paul Winfield Lance Henriksen Bess Motta Earl Boen Rick Rossovich Dick Miller Shawn Schepps Bruce M. Kerner Franco Columbu Bill Paxton Brad Rearden Brian Thompson William Wisher Jr. Ken Fritz Tom Oberhaus Ed Dogans Joe Farago
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Theatrical: 1984   Rated: R
Duration: 107
Summary: This is the film that cemented Schwarzenegger's spot in the action-brawn firmament, and it was well deserved. He's chilling as the futuristic cyborg who kills without fear, without love, without mercy. James Cameron's story and direction are pared to the bone and all the more creepy. But don't overlook the contributions of Linda Hamilton, who more than holds her own as the Terminator's would-be victim, Sarah Connor--thus creating, along with Sigourney Weaver in Alien, a new generation of rugged, clear-thinking female action stars. It's surprising how well this film holds up, and how its minimalist, malevolent violence is actually way scarier than that of its far more expensive, more effects-laden sequel. --Anne Hurley


Director: James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger Linda Hamilton Edward Furlong Robert Patrick Earl Boen Joe Morton S. Epatha Merkerson Castulo Guerra Danny Cooksey Jenette Goldstein Xander Berkeley Leslie Hamilton Gearren Ken Gibbel Robert Winley Peter Schrum Shane Wilder Michael Edwards Jared Lounsbery Casey Chavez Ennalls Berl
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Theatrical: 1991   Rated: R
Duration: 360
Summary: After he pushed the envelope of computer-generated special effects in The Abyss, director James Cameron turned this hotly anticipated sequel to Terminator into a well-written, action-packed showcase for advanced special effects and for one of the most invincible villains ever imagined. Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a legitimate sequel: there's more story to tell about a hulking, leather-clad android (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who arrives from the future to protect a rebellious teenager and future leader (Edward Furlong) from being killed by the tenacious T-1000 robot (Robert Patrick), whose liquid-metal construction makes him seemingly unstoppable. The fate of the future lies in the balance, with Linda Hamilton (who would later marry her director) reprising her role as the rugged woman whose son will change the course of history. The digital video disc of this blockbuster hit is presented with a digitally mastered THX soundtrack. --Jeff Shannon


Director: Jonathan Mostow
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger Nick Stahl Claire Danes Kristanna Loken David Andrews Mark Famiglietti Earl Boen Moira Harris Chopper Bernet Christopher Lawford Carolyn Hennesy Jay Acovone M.C. Gainey Susan Merson Elizabeth Morehead Jimmy Snyder Billy D. Lucas Brian Sites Alana Curry Larry McCormick
Genre: Sci-Fi Action
Theatrical: 2003   Rated: R
Duration: 110
Summary: With a reported budget of $172 million, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines starts in high gear and never slows down. The apocalyptic "Judgment Day" of T2 was never prevented, only postponed: John Connor (Nick Stahl, replacing T2's Edward Furlong), now 22 and disconnected from society, is being pursued yet again, this time by the advanced T-X, a sleek "Terminatrix" (coldly expressionless Kristanna Loken) programmed to stop Connor from becoming the savior of humankind. Originally programmed as an assassin, a disadvantaged T-101 cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger, bidding fond farewell to his signature role) arrives from the future to join Connor and his old acquaintance Kate (Claire Danes) in thwarting the T-X's relentless pursuit. The plot presents a logical fulfillment of T2 prophesy, disposing of Connor's mother (Linda Hamilton is sorely missed) while computer-driven machines assume control, launching a nuclear nightmare that Connor must survive. With Breakdown and U-571 serving as worthy rehearsals for this cautionary epic of mass destruction, director Jonathan Mostow wisely avoids any stylistic connection to James Cameron's Terminator classics; instead he's crafted a fun, exciting popcorn thriller, humorous and yet still effectively nihilistic, and comparable to Jurassic Park III in returning the Terminator franchise to its potent B-movie roots. --Jeff Shannon