With its pronounced flirtation between sex and violence, MTV's "Aeon Flux" is the sort of thing that would set Sen. Bob Dole's followers beside themselves with worry--if they could make any sense of it first.
Formerly a recurring feature on the cable network's "Liquid Television" animation series, which gleefully veers between groundbreakingly cool and noxiously pretentious, "Aeon Flux's" first half-hour episode lands somewhere closer to the latter. Set in a future where Eurotrash poseurs control the planet, "Aeon Flux" stars a buxom heroine battling evil while dressed as a G-stringed dominatrix.
Joining Aeon is Trevor, who, depending on the episode, can be a very heinous foe, a very close friend or some combination thereof. Creator Peter Chung no doubt considers this some sort of nifty ambiguity; it plays out more like he was too lazy to come up with another character.
In the endlessly convoluted premiere, Aeon, between aborted erotic trysts, makes time to battle Trevor and/or a greenhorn minion over a kidnaped president, whose innards have been converted into what looks like a pulsating honeymoon suite at the Madonna Inn.
There's an intriguingly inventive sensibility at work here; unfortunately, no one has bothered to think things through very clearly. Chung apparently doesn't realize that there's a reason narrative cohesion has for centuries been considered a virtue in storytelling.
Japanese-style animation--long on evocative detail, short on fluidity--keep things visually arresting. Alas, forcedly cryptic dialogue, elliptical plotting and gratuitous titillation practically defy the viewer to get involved to any degree with whatever might be going on. No matter; young men will happily shut down their brains to watch Aeon flex her nubile muscles.
* "Aeon Flux" premieres at 10 tonight on MTV.