Theron looks good despite film’s shortcomings
As vaguely remembered from MTV’s Liquid Television from late last century, Aeon Flux was a wham-bam animated exercise in nihilism and outré kinkiness. For the big screen and a PG-13 rating, Peter Chung’s creation has been diluted into a sporadically interesting 90 minutes of eurotrash voguing about stylized sets, with occasional outbursts of futuristic gunplay, with sometimes inventive use of clichés.
After 99 percent of the Earth’s population is killed by some disease in 2011, a Dr. Goodchild comes up with a cure and walls off the remaining folks in a Utopian society that flourishes under his bloodline’s dynasty for 400 years. Unfortunately, by 2415 things are starting to get seriously dystopian and people start being disappeared. A rebel alliance begins to form, and our titular character (Charlize Theron) is sent to assassinate the current Dr. Goodchild (Marton Csokas). But things are not as they appear … people are beginning to experience memories of events they’ve never experienced, and the rebels are seemingly being played by an outside force.
After a clunky first act saddled with awkward exposition, confusing narrative and hamfisted editing, Aeon Flux settles into being a sort-of-adequate sci-fi actioner. Nothing new is really offered, with the same sort of funky outfits and sets everyone seems required to trot out in cinematic representations of the distant future. Apparently, fashion will never improve and architecture will get less feng shui-friendly. Everyone will speak in a barely audible monotone and strike poses at any given moment. Unattractive genes will be culled from the flock. Hair is wasted on the young, with styles getting only goofier.
To the film’s credit, the filmmakers allow Theron to open up the character a bit, expanding the cartoon cypher into an anti-heroine that—while still a lethal coil of sexy killing machine—still maintains a degree of uncertainty about her mission. Theron isn’t really given that much to work with, but in her form-fitting outfits she at least offers up something of visual interest when things get talky.