The latest example of the mismanagement comes in the form of a casting call that reveals the film's synopsis, courtesy of Geek Tyrant:
Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother, Tetsuo, is abducted by government agents led by The Colonel.
Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join with Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City thirty years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous but after finding his brother again, is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers.
Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy, Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind. Kaneda clashes with The Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races in to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island, as he did thirty years ago.
Naturally, the anime's intense and action heavy biker gang scenes would cost money to make and the budget for Jaume Collet-Serra's film has been slashed from a A-list tentpole to a paltry $90 million. Now the leads are no longer bikers, they have been aged too, since no one is going to back a multi-million dollar picture if it's anchored by the limited appeal of teen stars.
The discovery that Kaneda and Tetsuo would be brothers and that the awakening of Tetsuo's powers were the result of experimentation and not an accident, indicate they are taking the laziest route dramatically. The bond of brotherhood does all the work, saving them the time to build up the relationship between two friends and the subsequent rift Tetsuo's transformation causes. The anime was an unwieldy adaptation but this is not the way to improve on that, the original film was ambitious but everything about this remake seems to intentionally drawing back.