As clear as popcorn follows hotdog, action dud follows Oscar. Hilary Swank triumphs in Boys Don't Cry and follows it with The Core; Halle wins for Monster's Ball and thanks the Academy with Catwoman; Jamie Foxx takes a nosedive as a pilot in the dull Stealth after scooping a gong for Ray; and now Charlize Theron, fresh from tearfully accepting a gold statue for Monster, crams herself into an undignified jumpsuit for this sci-fi stonker.
Originally produced in the early '90s as a segment for MTV's Liquid Television, Aeon Flux began life as a collection of animated shorts. The shorts spawned an MTV series, the series begat the film, and now the film has already inspired a comic-book prequel. And, of course, there's the videogame... Marketing synergy, they call it. Shame someone forgot to put a decent product at its core.
So, it's the year 2415 and Ms Flux swears revenge on the murderer of her sister while hunting for the masterminds behind the so-called perfect society she's imprisoned in. Along the way, Girlfight director Kusama chucks in all the typical sci-fi ingredients - cloning, megalomaniacal New World leaders, a society duped into conformation, bad hairstyles - but it's all just an excuse to squeeze the toned and flexible Theron into a series of black Ann Summers cast-offs and hang her from a high wire for a little generic martial-arts action.
With the kind of clunksome dialogue that Schwarzenegger would have taken issue with ("You killed my family, so I came here to kill you") there's little to redeem Aeon Flux and you can't help but feel sorry for its once shining cast. Pete Postlethwaite fails to transcend his embarrassing condom suit and matching sperm ship, while Frances McDormand - another Oscar-Winner-Gone-Bad - must have been wondering why she couldn't have sniffed out this stinker.
Apparently, Theron almost broke her neck making this movie and spent much of the shoot on painkillers. That may be a good idea for viewers, too.
A sci-fi encounter of the extremely dumb kind, going badly where many have gone before. Strictly for comic fans and horny teens.