Groundbreaking director Mamoru Oshii continues to push the boundaries of art and animé with this universally-acclaimed cyber thriller about a quest for a killer that becomes a mind-bending search for the meaning of life. The long-awaited sequel to Ghos
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Mamoru Oshii's landmark Ghost in the Shell (1995) largely defined the cyberpunk genre and influenced the Matrix films in the U.S. The long-awaited sequel continues the adventures of Batou, Major Kusanagi's former assistant, who was left behind when she disappeared into the cyber-realm of the Net. With his new human partner, Togusa, Batou investigates a series of bloody murders involving gynoids, robots with sexual functions. The case leads them to the headquarters of the Locus Solus company, where Batou uncovers the evil secret behind the creation of the gynoids. Innocence includes some staggeringly beautiful CG images, especially a parade depicting characters from Chinese mythology. Oshii contrasts this glittering beauty with a Blade Runner-esque dystopia. But even his skill as a director can't disguise the fact that the underdeveloped story and flat characters are far less interesting than the opulent visuals. (Rated PG-13: graphic violence, violence against women, brief nudity, profanity, alcohol and tobacco use.) --Charles Solomon
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