A New Sleeve
CGI Anime is the hot new trend and if recent efforts are anything to go by, it has a long way to go. Unlike Love, Death & Robots or even recent videogame cut-scenes, these computer generated Japanese animations are by comparison still in their infancy, seeing baby step improvements over time. As stuffy and old school as I am when it comes to anime and the gorgeous hand-drawn efforts, if Altered Carbon: Resleeved is anything to go by, the medium is moving in the right direction.
Taking place before the events of the first and second series of Altered Carbon, Resleeved sees Takeshi Kovacs return in a new sleeve, tasked with protecting a tattooist named Holly while investigating the death of a Yakuza Boss. Accompanying him in this quest is Gena, a straight-talking badass CTAC agent that has her own agenda. On the planet Latimer, amidst the neon-lit streets and glitzy back-alleys, the group fight, spill blood and subsequently go up against the big antagonist in a climactic fight at the end.
In terms of structure, Resleeved is unashamedly cliched, using all the usual tricks you’d expect from this sort of story with a group of characters that never quite get enough characterisation and development beyond a couple of flashback segments midway through the film. Having said that though, Resleeved does well to keep things engaging, with a smattering of action sequences and some well-choreographed segments that finally show glimpses of what this medium can do.
Of course, things like lighting, shadows and background characters standing idly by are still problems for this new medium to work through but the cyberpunk flavour of this, with its numerous high-octane fights and decent soundtrack, should be enough to see you through to the end. The fights are ultimately what help this film stand out though and whether it be sword fights, hand to hand combat or gunplay, Resleeved makes a conscious effort to add as much as it can into its 70 minute run-time.
The decision to add in fade-edits between scenes is a questionable one, reinforcing the notion that you’re watching a PS3 game one cut-scene at a time. On top of that, the CGI animation continues to exhibit issues with facial expressions, although admittedly this time around that is tightened up a little to give more of a Borderlands-esque cel-shaded feel to proceedings.
Resleeved is a decent enough chapter in the cyberpunk world of Altered Carbon but whether you’ll return to this one in a hurry or not remains to be seen. The film does enough to make for a visual spectacle and some of the backdrops and landscape work are really impressive, giving some much-needed depth to the series. It’s not perfect, and the film does suffer from a very cliched story and an archetypal villain, but if you go in to this one for the visual treat and action, Resleeved does not disappoint.