Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Film: Ice
UK Release date: 7th November 2011
Year: 2007
Certificate: 15
Director: Makoto Kobavashi
Starring: Junko Minigawa, Kurumi Mamiva, Yuko Ohshima
Running time: 103 mins
Country: Japan
Reviewer: Adam Wing

What would happen in a world without men? I’m sure every woman on the planet would like to answer that one for us but the fact of the matter is, without men the human race would cease to exist. There would I suppose, be a lot more shoe shops and a lot less war to contend with. Countries would no longer fight; they’d just bitch behind each other’s backs, get jealous and not talk for weeks on end. Ice tells the story of a coming Apocalypse, where a drastic change in the environment causes every male on earth to die out by 2012… that’s next year! Shouldn’t there be some kind of warning first? I’ve not had a chance to set my Sky + box yet.

No more Match of the Day, no more comedy, no more D.I.Y. and a lot less sex. Actually, come to think of it, not that much less sex. Depends on whether you’re married or not. A world without men is a scary thought, but there is a silver lining for those in need of hope. In this ‘brave new world’ most of the remaining women have perished amidst battle in a third world war. So it would seem I was wrong, there was another great war after all, must’ve been one hell of a catfight. 20,000 survivors have gathered in the Shinjuku area, which has since become an ocean of trees. They still don’t get along of course, that would be a ludicrous notion. What they’ve actually done is split into two warring factions, giving themselves silly names like Team Jacob and Team Edward in the process. I can’t actually back that up. A world without men, I mean really...

Team Jacob has accepted its fate to perish, with patrons deciding to give their lives to pleasure. Team Edward on the other hand has bigger plans; its members are striving to save the future of earth through the power of science. It’s the beginning of an intense battle between two rival forces over ‘ICE’, said to be the last hope for the future of mankind. Expect action spectacle, lots of hair pulling and the occasional lesbian three-way. Once again, I can’t actually back that up. From the producer of Perfect Blue and The Wings of Honneamise, the designer of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ and the writer of Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D, Ice is a 2008 sci-fi adventure featuring the voices and music of Japanese pop sensation AKB4B, and it arrives on UK shores this month courtesy of Cine Du Monde.

Whether or not Ice was envisaged as a promotional tool for AKB4B remains to be seen, and quite frankly, who actually cares? All we really need to know is how good it is, and from that perspective, Makoto Kobayashi’s Ice is something of a mixed bag. The animation is hardly breath-taking but it does bring with it a unique colour scheme that makes the most of emerald greens, ruby reds and Apocalyptic grey. Futuristic robots, space cruisers and gigantic lasers are to be expected in this kind of film, but you also get a welcome nod to the silent movie era in the films denouement, a nice touch if ever there was one. It's a shame, then, that the majority of the film doesn’t live up to the pedigree of its makers. The films message is not as striking as the subject matter would have us believe, the plot is confusing at times, and the action sequences are few and far between. Intriguing concepts are one thing, plodding sci-fi movies are another.

Plot holes, inconsistencies and contrivances stack up, overpowering narrative flow and stomping all over irregular bouts of pulsating action. It’s a bit of a mess to be honest, and one that I struggled to get my head around, let alone remain interested in. There’s violence and bloodshed to be found, but disengaging characters and convoluted plotting will test your patience long before any fun is had at the expense of the all-female cast. Unlike its spellbinding forefathers, Ice is not a chip off the old block. So unless you’re an anime enthusiast, there’s a good chance it will leave you cold. Looks like I'll be returning to my Sky + box for now then.

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