Synopsis: Armitage: Dual Matrix assumes you've already watched the prequel, so it pretty much jumps right into story. The setting is around 7-8 years after the original Armitage, with Naomi and Ross living in Mars along with their daughter Yoko. Everything seems to be at peace until a riot breaks out in an anti-matter plant on Earth. Armitage learns that the riot is a plot to suppress evidence of illegal research and development of more "Third" robots. Thus she decides to go to Earth to find out who is behind this heinous act. What Armitage discovers is the most powerful enemy she has ever encountered replicas of herself!
Review: I have to admit, when I first saw Armitage III a few years ago on the Sci-Fi channel, I was amazed by the story and acting. I immediately recognized Elizabeth Berkley's voice. I liked it so much that I was overjoyed when I heard a sequel was in production. I was then shocked to find that Armitage's voice would be changed (to Juliette Lewis) but I didn't let that get me down. I waited diligently and the question at hand is: Was Dual Matrix worth the wait? Well, let's see..
The animation is really different from Poly-Matrix. This Armitage looks almost nothing like the original one. In fact, everyone seems to have a softer look to them. The sound in both English and Japanese 5.1 is a mix of hard-hitting rock and at times more mellow music in certain moments. I've only listened to the 5.1 English, and it's very good with lots of bass and in some scenes lots of action in the rear speakers. Also included in the special edition DVD is a 5.1 music player which allows you to listen to three of the movie's songs in 5.1. It's an ok feature but it's just an extra…
Those who've watched the original will in some cases have to be in a different mindset to fully enjoy Dual Matrix. The story focuses more on Armitage's trials and struggles within the robot/human world and her love for her family. It does not have the straightforward get the info, track the badguy, shed some light on Thirds, and blow the case wide open theme of the original. The feature begins with a violent attack on an anti-matter plant on Earth, while at the same time we see Armitage in the kitchen in normal attire making a birthday cake for her daughter Yoko -- an indication that this is no longer the Armitage of old. As she's icing the cake Armitage receives a direct feed of the attacks on the anti-matter plant and becomes seriously intrigued to say the least. This is where the story begins on the long jaggy road. Naomi and Ross have adjusted comfortably to their new life on Mars with their daughter Yoko. Ross lives under the alias "Kevin" and works as a security guard while Armitage is the standard housewife.
Now onto the nitpickings. First, the villain in the movie is not fleshed out as much as he could have been. He appears suddenly, gives a fairly good motivation for his action, but then takes a back seat the rest of the time. Both Armitage and Ross has been "toned down" in such a way that they're just not as tough as they used to be. For instance, in one segment when Armitage is fighting the replicas of herself she is getting beaten senseless. Now I know what you're probably thinking, but in the original she was beating down anything in her path including robots three times her size. One of the reasons could very well be the fact that she is now a mother and has calmed her ways for the sake of Yoko. Another could be that keeping a low profile keeps them out of the government's watchful eye. Speaking of which, if they're living incognito just about everyone important in the story seems to know who they really are. There are a few other plot holes, but they aren't really damaging. Don't let this mislead you however because this is a good movie, it just feels that it could have been better.
There are some really good moments though, such as when Armitage is fighting a replica and Yoko notices the exposed wiring on her mom's arm. She gets scared and runs back to Ross. This is a very touching scene in the midst of the action. You actually feel sorry for Armitage, seeing Yoko run in fear because she thinks she's a monster. For all the downfalls of Dual Matrix there are enough to still make it a worthy follow-up to Poly-Matrix. I'd say rent it first if possible to see if it's for you.
Miscellanies: There are four versions of the DVD release:
1. Feature only
2. Special Edition
3. Deluxe package with Poly-Matrix
4. Special limited edition lunchbox set including an Armitage figurine