One would think that The Guyver would have been a good movie, considering all its potential. You had Brian Yuzna in the director’s seat, special effects by Screaming Mad George, David Gale as the lead villain and a story based off one of the best comics and animated series to come out of Japan. All that going for it and the movie STILL failed.
But before I jump too far ahead, here’s the rundown; Sean Barker is a loser martial artist-wannabe with a cute Japanese girlfriend, Mizuki. He gets his ass kicked routinely up until he becomes fused to a mysterious alien device called a “control-metal”, which creates a bio-booster armor around him and transforms the weak and pathetic Sean Barker into The Guyver! Turns out the sinister Kronos Corporation wants to get their hands on this control-metal to engineer an army of Guyvers, but what the world doesn’t know is that the Kronos Corporation is actually a front for…the Evil Zoanoid Space Mutants, lead by the tyrannical Zoalord!
Bet you didn’t see that coming. Well, Zoanoids are mutants engineered from human beings that can transform into grotesque monsters with super powers. They make trouble for our hero, as they kidnap his girlfriend and try to rip the control-metal out of his forehead. Sean realizes that the only way he can save the day is to team-up with hard-boiled detective, Mark Hamill, and defend human freedom against the ruthless alien organization determined to rule the world.
Yeah, that kinda plot works a LOT better in cartoon-format than it does in a live-action environment. But honestly, it all comes down to the presentation. The source material is extremely dark and extremely violent. While this movie gets the “violent” part right (Screaming Mad George never skimps on the gore), it interjects pathetic attempts at humor at nearly every turn.
The source of most of this “humor” is an old skool-rapping Zoanoid mutant portrayed by the immortal Jimmy Walker of Good Times-fame.
I couldn’t make that up if I tried. And before you ask, yes, he DOES say “Dyno-MITE!”.
The movie very roughly adapts the first six episodes of the animated series and only does a satisfactory job of cramming it all into an hour and a half. Some of the time-saving alterations to the story they made were rather good, but most of the best parts of the series (as in, the darkest) were left out, and the parts they did leave in were almost ruined by the goofiness of the film.
This movie also features a few veterans of Brian Yuzna’s earlier horror classic, Re-Animator. David Gale plays the Zoalord and head of the Kronos Corporation, and does a fantastic job considering what he had to work with. Jeffrey Combs plays a bit part as Dr. East, a pun on his character Dr. Herbert West from the Re-Animator franchise.
But good special effects and a nostalgic cast aren’t enough to rescue this movie from the childish, ridiculous humor that had no business being there in the first place. If you want to see a live-action Guyver movie that stays relatively true to the source material, then I’d highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of the sequel, Guyver II: Dark Hero.
But as far as this waste of potential is concerned, any Guyver-fan that lacks a sense of humor should avoid it like the plague. A little tinkering and this might’ve made a good Power Rangers movie.