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This Scarlett Johansson headlining sci-fi-drama is sadly all style over substance.

Based on the internationally-acclaimed Japanese Manga series, there was a great early buzz for this Blade Runner-looking flick, but despite a beautifully-realised Cyberpunk Toyko-inspired setting – accompanied by a hauntingly impressive techno soundtrack – the generic storyline will leave you shell-shocked after it hinted at so much promise.

Johansson stars as a one of a kind special ops human cyborg hybrid called Major, the leader of elite task force Section 9 – including her right hand man Batou (Danish actor Pilou Asbaek) in a team led by legendary Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano – which stops dangerous criminals and extremists in this near future world.

But when a vengeful computer hacker and failed former agent gone rogue (Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Pitt) aims to wipe the team from existence, she must bring him down to save her kind – despite it asking more questions about where she came from.

This leaves her confronting her creator, Juliette Binoche’s (Oscar winner for The English Patient) Dr Ouelet and her dictatorial boss Mr Cutter (Peter Ferdinando), to unlock answers to her past – which creates a dangerous situation for her entire team.

Even though Ghost in the Shell does impressively recreate the source material, everything else is wholly generic throughout, and will probably leave you craving a sequel to Johansson’s other Oriental-influenced sci-fier Lucy, instead.

If you’re a fan of this Japanese-stylised universe, it’s not without its merits, but the movie from the director of Snow White and the Huntsman won’t exactly be a fairy tale to the rest of us – particularly if you’re looking for any meat in this below-par Manga sandwich.

Gavin Miller

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Cast: Scarlet Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Juliette Binoche, Peter Ferdinando, Takeshi Kitano, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere & Yutaka Izumihara

Running Time: 1 Hr 47 Mins

Director: Rupert Sanders

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