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Aeon Flux

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Genre: Sci-fi male fantasy

The pitch: In Earth's last city in the year 2415, hard-bodied rebel commando Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) agrees to assassinate dictator Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas), but she questions who the real bad guys are when she and Trevor get the hots for each other.

Money shots: Aeon's friend Sithandra (Hotel Rwanda's Sophie Okonedo) has four hands -- two where her feet should be. Several times the film comes up with clever high-tech gizmos, such as mind-to-mind instant messaging.

Fashion statements: Aeon's wardrobe pretty much consists of fetishy bodysuits, and she first appears in public wearing what looks like a cross between a veil and an S&M hood. Frances McDormand, as the leader of the rebel "Monicans," wears a red fright wig that makes her look like an electrocuted Raggedy Ann.

Flesh factor: Aeon wears a beady, barely there swimsuit thing as sleepwear and shows some unclad back after her first fling with Goodchild. Otherwise, her tight costumes (often shot from below) leave little to the imagination.

Body Count: Innumerable, especially when Aeon machine-guns a virtual chorus line of goons at the end. Most memorable, she stabs two heavily armored thugs with a sharp piece of glass and pulls out an adversary's earring with her teeth.

Political subtext: With Goodchild being a head of state who faces the loss of his office because of a sexual transgression, maybe the name "Monicans" refers to Monica Lewinksy.

Better than the original?: Aeon Flux first kicked ass in a series of virtually plotless animated shorts on MTV's "Liquid Television." Compared to the scrawny, G-stringed original, Theron fleshes out the character (and how), but you dearly wish that the feature film was less than 10 minutes long, too.

The bottom line: A badly acted, incoherently structured shambles, Aeon Flux wastes the visual cleverness of some of the film's futuristic ideas and Theron's athletic body language. When Pete Postlethwaite turns up as a scientist wearing what looks like a giant toilet paper tube, Aeon Flux feels like a hippy-dippy sci-fi throwback to the likes of Zardoz or Barbarella. Now playing.

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