Tuesday 19 January 2021
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REVIEW – Netflix science fiction show Altered Carbon dropped a couple of weeks back and now I’ve finished it.

Set in the Blade Runner, Altered Carbon stars Joel Kinnaman as a Japanese terrorist Takeshi Kovacs. He desperately doesn’t want to sleep with his sister. Authorities de-ice the criminal Envoy and put him in a new sleeve – an ex-cop white guy – so that he can investigate Laurens Bancroft’s (James Purefoy) murder. He’s hired by Bancroft because being a Meth – rich guy who lives in the sky – Bancroft has downloaded backups of himself that he can then put into cloned sleeves – bodies – of himself. The first couple of episodes get by on the whizzbang of all that new vocabulary and the production values that do make you go oh look Blade Runner… oh look Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome… oh look Blade Runner… oh look the Matrix… oh look Blade Runner… oh look Blade Runner.

The Stranger Things cut and paste methodology wears thin about episode three and then the clunky dialogue begins to really compete with the hammy acting for what torments the soul of the viewer more. The Neo-Noir demands a corrupt world, but there’s a weird hollowness to everything here. Some of the ideas are excellent and spice up the hate watching –  feisty cop Ortega (Martha Higareda) is a particularly irritating bundle of stereotypes. I liked the AI hotel called Poe (Chris Conner) and some of the ideas about swapping bodies are good and the action is well done. But the overall effect becomes numbing and the nudity plus violence stuff starts to get really old. Women get hurt and humiliated time and again. And I’m not sure having your avenger turn up in S&M gear retroactively makes the women-beating feminist.

So we have a slick-looking sci-fi thriller with dialogue so bad it feels like its trying to parody bad dialogue and which wears its unoriginality as a badge of honor. But other than that I enjoyed it.

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