Jake Sleezer’s review published on Letterboxd:
In my pursuit of rebuilding my relationship 'blockbuster' cinema, I finally watched this one. I'm very glad to remind myself that my roots in this corner of the cinematic world really do rest in the soil of anime VHS (I do cherish a copy of Gunnm on tape) - I sort of forgot that the feeling I look for in bigger movies was always captured so well in those OVA's and features of the 80's and early 90's because they always delivered on inventive larger than life conflict, environments and stories that were easy to care about.
I find that Robert Rodriguez has lately been taking ideas that he really likes from the past and repackaging them into something more tepid and palatable to people who like ahem... Guardians of the Galaxy... and yeah, that's what he did sorta, even though it's clear that's not what he wanted to do, but what do you expect? He still managed to keep some of the powerful images that this story needs that you won't be seeing in a lot of other movies of this caliber (although, I must acknowledge, these are all ideas Rodriguez had nothing to do with outside of his ability to tell his team to copy what had already been made decades ago, which is one thing that is intrinsically BAD about western anime remakes) To be clear, I knew better than to watch this looking for Japanese techno-body-horror, and with my tempered expectations, what I got out of it was a movie franchise that I can actually care about keeping up with. I want to watch what comes next and I felt movie comfort.
PS why can't Hollywood just let a fucking long ass epic go out for once? Keep your grubby bloody butcher gloves off my movies jerks.