Before there was the Power Rangers … there was The Guyver. Made before CGI was viable, this live action adaptation of the Japanese manga was actually a fairly accurate on the basic story where an ordinary young man is thrust into the extraordinary when he runs across a strange alien artifact that transforms him into the ultimate fighting machine known as the Guyver. He further discovers that those who wish to acquire the Guyver aren’t quite human but a race of murderous creatures known as Zoanoids who are probably the inspiration for monsters throughout human history.
There will be those who will probably argue that this film was not faithful to the original, but I thought it wasn’t that bad as it was an adaptation for American audiences. The plot was fairly simple and easy to understand and there wasn’t any glaring holes that I noticed. However, this movie never bothered to take itself too seriously, unlike the original. The Guyver is more comedy than horror, often breaking up the action sequences with goofy gags that were actually rather funny and on occasion had me groaning such as the rapping Zoanoid which I couldn’t believe that they stuck in there.
As far as the actors go, I did find the bait and switch of Mark Hamil being given the starring role in the credits but actually being only a supporting character to be rather annoying. It gave you the impression that HAMIL was going to be the Guyver. To his credit, Hamil was probably the best actor in the movie. I didn’t think too much of leading man Jack Armstrong (Sean Barker/Guyver) as being a bit mediocre with the others giving decent to fair performances with Vivian Wu (Mizky Segawa) simply screamed a lot and David Gale (Fulton Bacus) was a stereotypical mad villain.
It was probably the fighting sequences that made such an impression on me. They were fairly good and brought to mind those old fashioned kung fu movies that I used to watch as a kid only jazzed up because it was monsters who were doing the fighting. I have to say that the costumes were fairly good and rather articulated. They were definitely a cut above in functionality and grotesqueness with a bit of weirdness thrown in. I did think that some of the special effects could have been improved upon; the electricity raging around the Guyver when it first bonded to Sean looked a trifle bit fake as did the Guyver melting.
Overall, this movie played more like a live-action cartoon than a science fiction/horror movie and it seems like it was mainly intended for young children. Sadly, I think they cut out most of the best gory scenes in order to make it suitable for younger audiences, while the older sect miss out on. Still, I liked it as a kid and it’s still tolerably amusing now that I’m older.
RATING: 3 STARS.