Glenn Kenny
December 01, 1995 AT 05:00 AM EST

Wicked City

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
tvpgr
TV-14
seasons
1
run date
10/27/15
performer
Erika Christensen, Ed Westwick
broadcaster
ABC
genre
Drama

We gave it a B

In the flavorful concoction that is Japanese pop culture nowadays, brews such as the popular manga (comic book) Wicked City, which blends elements of Blade Runner, Alien, and kinky sex, surface all the time. The comic has also spawned these two tapes of the same name: one a live-action movie from Hong Kong (1992), the other a Japanese animated feature (1991). The story pits morphing aliens against earnest earthlings; the animated version manages to get the intricacies of the plot across better (a faction of evil aliens threatens a pact between their compatriots and us), while the live-action version careens into gleeful incoherence about once every five minutes. Other differences: The cartoon is more sexually charged, while the live-action version is overstuffed with cheap albeit inventive special effects. Connoisseurs will be delighted by both. But viewers unfamiliar with the conventions of Japanese animé or Hong Kong action movies will be confused, frustrated, and perhaps appalled.

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