Latest trailer for Alita: Battle Angel ramps up the action

Alita is on her way, and she's not coming to play checkers.

The third trailer for director Robert Rodriguez' live-action adaptation Alita: Battle Angel is far heavier on butt-kicking action than the previous two, showcasing the titular cyborg's insane abilities and fighting skills. The trailer appeared this morning on the YouTube channel of 20th Century Fox U.K. Bloody Disgusting was first with the news. 

The flick's first trailer debuted way back in December of last year, and raised eyebrows for the lead character's appearance more than anything else. Portrayed in motion capture by Rosa Salazar, Alita is rendered with distinctly oversized eyes, which — while faithful to the character's look in the manga which provided the source material — sent some viewers sailing over the edge into the Uncanny Valley. A second trailer dropped in July of this year, with cleaned-up CGI that gave the character a slightly less alien look, but which only revealed snatches of action sequences in quick cuts.

Trailer number three remedies this with a vengeance. Among other things, Alita is seen balancing her entire weight on one fingertip like Spider-Man, picking a fight with a cyborg roughly three times her size, and taking down a giant mechanized monster with ease. The new trailer is also distinctly more polished, tightening up Alita's look even more and grounding its CGI characters more firmly in the real world.

Based on Yukito Kishiro's iconic manga Battle Angel Alita, the project has been in development for nearly two decades. Producer James Cameron and 20th Century Fox began registering domain names for its promotion as far back as 2000, and Cameron announced his intention to direct the film in 2003.

But a funny thing happened during Alita's journey to the screen, and that thing was Avatar. Cameron's 2009 sci-fi epic became the highest-grossing picture in history, and the director subsequently turned his attention to developing sequels, four of which are currently in the pipeline. Unwilling to shelve the project entirely, Cameron gave all of his notes to his buddy Rodriguez — who, despite never having heard of the property before, took it and ran with it. Rodriguez edited Cameron's work into a shooting script, and (at Cameron's urging) took over directorial duties as well.

Cameron will co-produce the picture with Jon Landau, who previously worked with the "King of the World" on TitanicSolaris, and Avatar. In addition to Salazar, the flick's uniformly impressive cast includes Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connolly, and Mahershala Ali — Oscar winners, all — along with Heritage Falls actor Keean Johnson, Jackie Earle Haley of Watchmen fame, and Ed Skrein, who appeared in Deadpool as Francis — er, Ajax.

Originally slated for release in December of this year, Alita was pushed back to avoid serious competition from the likes of Transformers spin-off Bumblebee, Disney's Mary Poppins Returns, and Columbia's Will Ferrell starrer Holmes and Watson. Its new February release date should be a little friendlier — and if this new trailer is any indication, Alita could continue the recent trend of giant smash hits to debut during that month.

Alita: Battle Angel hits screens on February 14, 2019.