They certainly got the "shell" part of the title right. Stunning to look at, with one or two visually startling minutes sprinkled sporadically throughout, GHOST IN THE SHELL is completely hollow inside.
Scarlett Johansson is Major Killian, a cyber-enhanced human warrior battling a new breed of terrorists that are hacking people's minds and forcing them to commit violent attacks.
Every discovery she makes along the way is eminently predictable, so the setting may be futuristic but the screenplay is decidedly hackneyed.
The futuristic Hong Kong setting is fantastic. The entire production design and special effects team is to be applauded. But without anything interesting happening, the surroundings evaporate into boredom.
Pilou Asbaek (Overlord) is interesting as Killian's partner Batou, as is Takeshi Kitano as the head of the massive corporation that's manufactured Killian's less human components.
Johansson can rock an action scene, as any of her set pieces as Black Widow in the Avengers films have clearly shown. Her physical gifts are on full display here, but the character is so under written by a committee-created screenplay that you just sit by waiting for the next fight.
All $110 million of the budget is on screen, but audiences saw right through this glossy junk immediately and it was a massive flop with only $40 million at the box office.
There's nothing inside this hard shell, shiny future film noir. Go back and watch the original 1995 Anime classic for 100 times the entertainment. This live action update gets a hollow, echoing D.