Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Guyver (1991) Review:

When it comes to cartoon movie adaptations, it has yet to be seen where one comes out playing well. Speed Racer (2008) is a perfect example of this. Live-action tends to suck the life out of cartoons. So after watching the Japanese cartoon of The Guyver, I wasn't quite sure how this movie adaptation would play out. But surprisingly, to me, I was somewhat entertained by the creature effects and actors that appeared in the film. However, this still does not make it a great movie.

The film starts off with a scrolling of lines that explain that there is a group of people who can transform into creatures called Zoanoids. The Zoalord, the strongest Zoanoid who looks to control the world, leads these Zoanoids. But the only way he can do this is by obtaining the "guyver", a bio-armor that should make him invincible. That is, if not for an unwilling individual who runs into the bio-armor first, giving him power beyond his original abilities.

Mark Hamill as agent Reed
The unwilling individual is named Sean Barker played by the forgotten actor, Jack Armstrong. Armstrong gives a convincing performance as his character, even if the majority of his lines are "Are you ok? or Let her go!". Baker also has a girlfriend, Mizky Segawa (Vivian Wu), who gets caught by the Zoalord and is the damsel in distress. However, her character does show some courage, a trait that does not come up often, usually most damsels scream constantly. Tagging along with them is CIA agent, Max Reed, played by the famous Mark Hamill. Hamill gives Reed some good lines, this made me chuckle here and there.

Even more surprising is to find four other iconic actors in this film as well. Michael Berryman from Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes (1977) has a significant role as the Zoalord's henchman. Even more intriguing is that Jeffrey Combs and David Gale from Re-Animator (1985) both have roles in here too. Gale plays the Zoalord himself and Combs plays a lab rat named Dr. East. Jeez, how funny is that. Herbert WEST from Re-Animator (1985) is now Dr. EAST in The Guyver (1991), and, now Combs is working for Gale instead of fighting him, like in Re-Animator (1985). Also Willard E. Pugh, Mayor Kuzak from RoboCop 2 (1990), plays one of Reed's coworkers. Which also coincidental because when the "guyver" armor is first activated by Baker, someone says, "Alright you RoboCop thing!". Hahaha wow. Too many coincidences.

The Guyver is in the middle,....the other two...not so cool
Now for the bad things. First, I enjoy martial arts fight sequences but for a lot of the time, I felt like they dragged on forever. This is mostly because the fight scenes contained the same techniques. Also, I understand that it is 1991 but it seemed like many of the creature costumes ran from either clunky to unrealistically goofy. One monster had googly eyes. Really? How does that look terrifying? I'd laugh. Actually, a lot of the costumes looked like they were ideas to be used for the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993) TV show. But I do give credit to Linda L. Meltzer, head of costume design for making the "guyver" armor looking so awesome. The special effects with the bio-armor were cool but it also made me wonder why the same couldn't be done for when the villains transformed.

Also, for the first half of the film, the transitioning between scenes was very obnoxious. But credit should be given to screenwriter Jon Purdy for at least making the story more creative. The story isn't the usual cliche hero movie. There are parts of the film where it'll have the audience guessing and I'll admit there were segments where I thought certain things wouldn't happen but they did. It keeps you on your toes so that's good. The musical score by Matthew Morse wasn't impressive though. I had a slight resemblance to the anime shows but it wasn't very prevalent in the film. Also the ending seemed quick which made me feel like it was done last minute just as a throw in. This movie had a lot of ups and downs but I support it because it did almost go somewhere.

For the most part, the actors and the "guyver" armor itself is the thing to see in this film. The action is good for a while but gets tiresome overtime as well as the creature costumes.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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