Thursday, 15 December 2016

The Guyver (1991)

“Manga Meets The Chuckle Brothers”

Mind you, what else might you expect from the directorial pairing of Steve Wang (who did the great masks in HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN) and Screaming Mad George (who is, well, mad - but in the nicest way) who brought a US live-action adaptation of this manga and anime to the screen in 1991. 

There’s an opening crawl that ‘explains’ the background of what we are about to watch, but don’t worry too much. I caught something about Zoanoids, which are humans who can turn into monster soldiers. Their leader is the Zoalord who runs the evil Chronos Corporation (cue picture of evil-looking skyscraper with triangular windows). The Guyver of the title is a unit that acts as alien armour or boosts human abilities by lots and lots. 

Dr Tetsu Segawa steals the Guyver unit and gets chased by Michael Berryman and his comedy goons. Segawa gets killed but hides the unit. Meanwhile Sean Barker is practising his Aikido at the Wang Club before he sets off on his crappy scooter for a back alley where he’s beset by the Hilda Ogden street gang. They beat him up but he falls on the Guyver unit and behold! Lots of kicking ass!

Evil David Gale is the head of Chronos and wants the Guyver back. There is lots and lots and lots of monster smackdown action. Mark Hamill plays a cop investigating Dr Segawa’s death and he ends up in a tank before undergoing a typically icky (and quite horribly impressive) Screaming Mad George transformation. David Gale turns into some sort of dinosaur thing. There’s a massive fight. Dr Segawa’s daughter (Vivian Wu) can’t act to save her life but that doesn’t stop her being the love interest. 

The plus points of THE GUYVER are some really impressive monster costumes, prosthetics and transformations, and lots of fight sequences. The minus is that it’s often very, very silly, and I mean RENTAGHOST silly. It predates the TV series MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS but has the same laissez-faire attitude to anything other than martial arts-fighting monsters. And hey, if that’s your thing then there’s plenty of it here, plus cameos from some famous faces including Linnea Quigley and Jeffrey Combs (playing Dr East!). It’s occasionally bloody but is probably actually a pretty good way to entertain easily bored children.
            Extras are limited to a Brian Yuzna interview, a stills gallery and some trailers. 

Arrow Films are releasing THE GUYVER on Blu-ray on 19th December 2016

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