“I don’t know what to do, man. All these sites have different shit. There’s not a lot of consensus in the bomb disarming community!”
Ruben Fleischer’s feature-length follow-up to the excellent Zombieland is neither as fresh nor as successful, though much of the blame lies with a “comedy” script in which I can barely identify a single actual joke. With a hapless pizza delivery driver forced to rob a bank when two incompetent criminals strap a bomb to his chest, 30 Minutes or Less has the sensibilities of a slacker/stoner movie, where a functionally coherent plot is generally considered sufficient. Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari commit to their roles but their talents are largely wasted here. Thankfully, the film is only one and a half hours long; preferably it would have been 30 minutes or less.
“You are more than just a weapon. You have a soul — a ghost. When we see our uniqueness as a virtue, only then will we find peace.”
Ghost in the Shell is a cultural phenomenon that has been adapted from the original manga into animated films and TV series, but its first live action feature comes from the USA rather than Japan. The result is undeniably visually stunning with extensive CGI bringing its future tech to life and illuminating it with colourful hues. Yet the franchise’s central question proves an apt analogy for the film: beneath the flawless exterior of this glossy shell there is no soul, no emotional weight. Accusations of Hollywood whitewashing are not resolved by the mere fact that Major’s mind is revealed to have come from an ethnically Japanese woman. If the film’s tacit suggestion is that the Western ideal of a “perfect” designer body would invariably look white, it fails to engage with this at all. The film’s most inspired casting is the legendary “Beat” Takeshi Kitano as Major’s boss, Aramaki.