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Natural City
DVD disk
05.24.2006 By: Matt Hosack
Natural City order
Director:
Byung-chun Min

Actors:
Ji-tae Yu
Jae-un Lee
Rin Seo

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In the future, 2080 to be exact, the combination of cloning and cybernetics has led to artificial drones of sorts which are used for labor (and other things). Much like the Matrix’s THE SECOND RENAISSANCE, these cyborgs start to malfunction and fight back. Of course, you have to have generic S.W.A.T. teams of sorts (straight out of FINAL FANTASY SPIRITS WITHIN) that run around and suppress these drones. Enter the main character, R (Yoo Ji-tae), who is tired of everything. To complicate things, he is in love with a cyborg dancer Ria (Rin Seo) who is soon to “expire.”
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Marketing people be damned! When you look at a cool DVD cover and see quotes like “A Modern Blade Runner” and “the Korean answer to The Matrix” you should expect the film to kick some kind of ass. After all, how hard can it be to screw up a sci-fi with flying cars, robots, rain, and guns? Pretty easy. There is absolutely nothing redeeming to this film. This film only re-enforced the notion that no matter how cool you think special effects are, if the story and the characters aren’t there, then all you have are Jack and sh*t (I believe Jack left town). Why should you skip NATURAL CITY? First off, the effects aren’t that stellar, as I’ve seen much better from the Korean market. If action is what you desire, there is about five minutes of it here. There is no coherent or meaningful story and this is only exemplified by the completely unsympathetic and detached characters in the movie. When you don’t give a rat’s ass about a film’s story or characters, then you won’t give a rat’s ass about the film, especially when there’s no mind blowing action or effects in the mix.

NATURAL CITY is nowhere near the same league as BLADE RUNNER or even THE MATRIX. This film really shows that when it comes to top notch sci-fi, Hollywood is still the best. I would hope this would be a lesson where the filmmakers tried again till they got it right. I think the real overseas kick lies in the many wonderful animes we have like the GHOST IN THE SHELL franchise where effects and action give way to story and character. I say all of this because who wants to watch a guy fall in “love” with an expressionless machine? Not I.
THE EXTRAS
“The Story of Natural City” >> 20 min > This is a pretty generic behind-the-scenes EPK just like the movie. Nothing to see or read here folks.

Deleted Scenes >> The last thing I want to see after a crappy film, is crappy deleted scenes.

Cast Interviews >> 향찰/鄕札 can you read that? My movie rocked?

Original Theatrical Trailer >> I have to admit, if I saw this trailer, I might have checked this out but I’m telling you otherwise.

There is also a plethora of previews for other Tartan Asian Extreme flicks.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
What we have here is another “could have been” sci-fi that doesn’t even succeed on any level to entertain or engage its audience. It’s missing the basics of any good film, mainly story and characters and we aren’t even left with decent visual effects or action. Like the film, the creators expect the audience to fall in love with something completely lifeless. James Cameron, where the hell are you?

Props 2 > Ridley Scott and Mr. Cameron for defining the dark sci-fi genre.

Final D >> Punch out of NATURAL CITY and punch IN with films like BLADE RUNNER.

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