So Aeon Flux finally bubbled up in the ol' Netflix queue. I've been doing the 'chicks in tight outfits kicking some ass in movies whose titles begin with a vowel' lately. Ultraviolet, Underworld: Evolution, and now Aeon Flux.
I'd heard Aeon Flux was the worst of the lost, so I figured I'd just put it on while I was doing some work. So much for doing some work. I pretty much dug the movie, despite its shortcomings.
I don't know anything about the Aeon Flux animated shorts on MTV, but I can imagine the visual style in the movie was often an homage. Fine by me. The overall look was low budget, but they did well enough considering what they were working with. There was some pretty cool gadget bits that were probably ruined if you watched the trailer, but I'd never seen the trailer. Which pays off in movies like this.
Good cast, with some silly cameos from Francis McDormand and Pete Postlethwaite. Charlize Theron looked great and did well enough with some snippets of bad dialogue. But for the most part, she managed to sell the heart of the movie, which was her connection to first her sister and then Marton Csokas (who was Celeborn in the Hobbit movies, plus he had a really cool scene in Bourne Supremacy where Matt Damon kicks his ass using a magazine).
And because it banked so heavily on that relationship, I liked the movie. For an action movie, it was surpisingly story- and character-centric. I'm going to go ahead and presume credit belongs to director Karen Kusama, whose only other movie is Girlfight. Because if some music video/commercial director dude like Kurt Wimmer or former stuntman like Len Wiseman had directed Aeon Flux, I can only imagine how bad it would have been.
Instead, we got a thoughtful story, action scenes that were more interested in tableau than choreography, and a really cool reveal sequence that will be ruined for you if you read Glenn's post in an earlier thread about the movie. What a cool premise, and a follow-through and conclusion that manages to do it justice!
At any rate, I'd say it's the cheapest looking of the three movies, but easily the best. Ultraviolet was a cartoon that was far too clumsy with anything but action sequences, and Underworld Evolution was just flat-out clumsy. I mainly disliked Underworld because Scott Speedman is such an unconvincing schlub that every time he's on screen, the only thing I can think is 'That frickin' dork doesn't even belong in the same movie with someone as hot as Kate Beckinsale!'
So there you have it. They're all bad, and it helps if you come at them with appropriately reduced expectations, but I really liked Aeon Flux. Of course, take this with a grain of salt considering I'm a guy who really liked the Charlie's Angels movies...