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"Would you like a kiss?.....",
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This review is from: Malice @ Doll [DVD] (DVD)
Malice @ Doll is set in a future society where mankind has managed to wipe itself out, leaving behind the mechanical beings who existed to serve. Without clients to service, the robot prostitute `dolls' in a large brothel are starting to slowly break down and experience spurious mutations of their programming. Essentially trapped in the building as the security robot now kills anything it sees as it patrols the corridors, one of the dolls, Malice, has something of an epiphany when she finds herself waking up human.
Feeling emotion and getting used to the warmth of her new body, Malice discovers that by kissing her fellow robotic housemates she is able to bring them to life too. But this isn't the start of a new Eden, the transformation isn't always a successful one.
The film is completely CGI and the artwork doesn't compare that well to more recent CGI features - however it certainly isn't poor and doesn't deserve the criticism I've seen. It is jerky and at times you can tell that sequences are being repeated in a loop, but it has a distinctive look and the visual scope is ambitious with monster-esque robots and a strangely gothic feel. The DVD transfer itself is poor - the conversion struggles with the unclean source material and there is plenty of noise and evidence of compression. This doesn't ruin the film but it does distract at times. There's no dub on the disk, which doesn't bother me as I prefer the original soundtrack - but you get the impression that the subtitles have been rushed. The DVD offers the film in both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios.
This is an 18 certificate film, but those expecting to see a generous amount of sexual content should look elsewhere. Other than a classic Japanese `tentacle scene', the film concentrates more on the sexuality of mankind rather than the actual sex. The DVD box with "uncut" prominently displayed is an attempt to sell this as something it is not, it's a dark fairytale - not hentai. The story itself is often confusing and risks become boring at some stages, it's a film which benefits from a second viewing - you appreciate it more once you know the overall story and aren't trying to piece everything together. It's only slightly subversive cinema, at times it is quite touching and there's a suggestion that the Dolls are capable of emotion and ambition before they truly come alive, a startling thought when you consider that these poor beings were used simply as tools to satisfy the desire of their creators.
In a nutshell: A surreal film worthy of a watch but it's not going to be considered a classic. The themes and overall concept promise so much but they aren't explored as well as they could.