Perhaps it is because not being a fan I do not consider the original Anime sacred texts or perhaps I just get such a kick out of seeing Hong Kong, the place I grew up in, enhanced by way of Inception style cinematography and Blade Runner/The Fifth Element production designs, but I find Rupert Sanders’ beautifully and meticulously rendered film more watchable than offensive. The story is a fairly conventional one in a Mission Impossible kind of way. There’s a mid-film reveal that’s hardly surprising but generally I find myself, superficially at least, captivated by the strong visuals and coolly executed action sequences. Attempts to inject something deeper and more meaningful about humanity and consciousness into the briskly paced action thriller, while not entirely successful, are at least done with the lightest of touch and the minimal of disruption to the flow of the film. It can feel rather derivative but, for fear of being too kind here, it is hardly surprising since there’s been too many other and better films made that’s been inspired by (or lifted from) the same source material this film is based on. The international cast, where diversity is now mandated after the Rogue One Agreement of 2016, is headed by Scarlett Johansson, a non-Asian who looks the part and acts robotically but lacks any real emotional depths in scenes that could have elevated the film into more than just the popcorn sci-fi thriller that it is now. Personally, I find that more problematic than the whitewashing where the film’s response could either be seen as lip service or an inspired marketing excuse.