The Guyver. I rented this film for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I remembered watching it as a kid some Saturday morning and thinking it was cool. Weird pre-pubescent flashbacks become rarer and rarer for me these days, so I try to indulge them when I can. (This explains my rather extensive Rainbow Brite collection that no one will ever see.) The second reason I rented this movie was it promised to be a monster-rama of anime proportions. At some point I remember seeing a Guyver anime, but all that I really remember has something to do with Elf genetics, so I'm probably confusing it with something else entirely.
So why are you reading this and why am I typing it? Because The Guyver ended up scaring the bejeezus out of me. Sadly it did this for all the wrong reasons. What was good? The monsters. This film has more monsters in Latex than most movies I run across. What was bad? The monster that is Mark Hamill. All will become clear, my son. Let us make our journey as short and as safe as possible. Let us begin.
Renamed Mutronics for the European market, The Guyver starts out pretty strong. The big freakish guy, Michael Berryman (most remembered for playing the big freakish biker in Weird Science or the freakish big guy from The Hills Have Eyes) starts off by becoming even more big and freakish. Berryman kills a fugitive scientist (who also turns into a big freakish monster). Berryman, being used to being horrible, tears apart our renegade. This is really just for the introduction of the film, letting us know that big mutant actors that turn into monsters are looking for a magical item called the Guyver and are really pissed about not knowing where it is.
David Gale, a personal icon of mine for his work on the Re-Animator series, plays Balcus, the boss of the evil mutant corporation. Of course he's in charge of the evil mutant Berryman. To briefly highlight his evil powers, apparently David Gale can use his giant fore-head zit to make Michael Berryman hit himself. Threatening to make Berryman "slap himself silly", one really doesn't know what to think of our antagonist.
Meanwhile, we meet our "heroes." In the nearby Aikido school, Sean looks longingly at a possible girlfriend, Mizky (who is very asian). Suddenly his dreams are shattered as a very scary Mark Hamill shows up to tell her father is dead. Mark Hamill is the scariest thing in this movie. Playing his part like some sort of stoned gigolo, Hamill is the most repulsive thing in sight....and I think the directors knew it. You'll see why in a few. I can't tell if he was shooting for charming or creepy. Anyway, Hamill is some sort of undercover anti-mutant cop, and apparently Mizky's dad was the fugitive scientist. Hamill uses his "case" to sleaze his way into Mizky's apartment, infuriating Sean (our hero) to no end.
Sean is having less luck, as, apparently, in his fight with a street gang, he's accidentally opened a magical artifact with his forehead. I guess. One moment he's getting his ass handed to him, the next he's a cyborg wiping the floor with random street goons. When he does notice something's different about him....What's the first thing he checks out? His crotch. I'm not saying he's fixated, there just happens to be a rather long moment of crotch-staring madness. When Sean wakes up the next day, what does he check to make sure he's alright? His crotch. Jesus. The costume is cool (despite having built-in Horn-rimmed glasses) and we now have someone to root for, since no one can accept Hamill as the hero. On a side note, Sean ends up looking more like Luke Skywalker than Hamill does. Some people would think this has something to do with Hamill's car accident...but remember that happened before The Empire Strikes Back. I'm not saying Hamill's not talented. I'm just saying that he's done 90% voice-acting for cartoons in the past 20 years. Maybe he was just miscast in the Guyver. Personally, I wouldn't sign up for roles best described as "wino cop with an Asian fetish," but that's just me.
The monster squad, led by Berryman, chase Mizky, Hamill, and Sean into an abandoned warehouse. Besides the big freak Berryman, we have an elephant monster, a rapping gangsta Gremlin clad in gold chains, and a female monster that equates to Alf with breasts. Alf with Breasts. Sweet Jesus. Sean isn't too great a fighter yet as we watch a long fight scene that pretty much ends with him killing a couple of monsters before he "kills" Mizky accidentally. As he cries like a little girl, the remaining monsters tear him apart, literally. Apparently, by removing the Guyver's big ol' (forehead) ball, he melts into...butter? Anyway, remove his ball and he dies. I'm the same way myself, personally. But while this is happening, the lurking Hamill shows up.
Now, cinematically, it has been established that Mizky is dead. A blade through her chest killed the monster behind her, so it seems rather likely. Suddenly we see a spooky Hamill groping a DEAD BODY. Sure she wakes up a little later but for about 8 seconds of eternity Hamill is on-screen manhandling the poor girl, looking around for people that might be watching. I guess if you're an Asian necrophiliac, you really can't wait or you'll miss your chance. Of course Mizky wakes up, only knocked unconscious by blade through her chest. Hamill and Mizky end up being captured themselves, while Sean is having his Ball removed.
Now keep in mind I did say that was a LONG fight scene. There are only really two fight scenes in the entire movie. Both of them are about half an hour long each. Now, the costumes are good, but I'd have to say the cartoon noises everyone makes when they hit each other, combined with the goofy physical comedy of clumsy monsters, makes these fight scenes seem about three days longer than they should be. Also, despite Sean's earlier attendance to an Aikido school, all the fighting in this movie ends up being bar-style brawling. This doesn't stop our hero from making "I'm a ninja" noises and waving his hands around spastically like most 8 year olds after watching a Bruce Lee film. So Hamill, Sean's big ball, and Mizky have all been captured by the monsters. While I'm guessing Sean is the most screwed (seeing how he's just a big metal testicle at this point) the horrors that David Gale has for the trio are nothing if not creative.
Poor Mizky. Of all the things that I would hate to wake up to, waking to David Gale touching me and licking his fingers is pretty high on the list. (To be fair, waking up a giant metal testicle wasn't on the list until this movie but its pretty high up there too.) Mizky has used her beauty to soothe the savage Gale, who promptly invites her to become a mutant in his organization (Hamill is already being mutated in the background). Of course he gives her a tour of his secret lab, which allows her to find out what's become of Sean's forehead testicle. Apparently, a Dr. East (played by Jeffery Combs who played Dr. West in the Re-animator. ha ha ha ha ha.) has Sean's ball in an aquarium and is attempting to re-grow the magic suit from it. Apparently the Guyver suit is a living thing, built to protect its user. So, when Mizky steals its ball, and a monster accidentally swallows it, it makes PERFECT SENSE that the Guyver-Sean rises out of the choking monster whole and ready to fight evil. Perfect sense, I SWEAR. Point is: Its time for another half-hour eternity of monster fighting.
Oh and Hamill? In the ensuing fight scene there are two points concerning our little sleazy-monkey. 1: There are two "joke" monsters running around the lab-fight (apparently a rapping monster and Alf with Breasts are too serious). While the Guyver-Sean takes on most of the monsters, these two monsters (a weird lizard with a huge ass and a human fly with a lisp) chase Mizky and Hamill around the lab. At one point, the butt-o-saur has Hamill pinned on the ground, flapping its useless arms rapidly at him. This "Lab scientist" is played by Jay Kelly. Now I'm going to guess that because Hamill is the only human face on the cover, the only one to get his name on the cover, and the BIG STAR of this film, he may have been treated better than the rest of the cast. For example? He has a personal assistant (according to the credits). This personal assistant's name? Jay Kelly. Yep, that's Hamill's personal assistant grunting and growling at him. Would make me feel special too.
2. Hamill was in a tank of goo being turned into a mutant earlier in the scene. After all the monsters are dead (boring bar fighting disguised as kung fu) Hamill falls over cramping. Here's where I'm pretty sure the directors realized that Hamill was so repulsive that they needed to satiate the audience. But how? By turning Mark Hamill into GIANT MUTANT COCKROACH. There is justice in this film. On a side note, take time to watch a far too long and far too loving goodbye from the Guyver to the dying Hamill.
David Gale turns into a dinosaur and the Guyver suit's nipple cannon takes care of him. Guyver-Sean turns back into just regular Sean. Here he yet again hyper-focuses on his crotch.
And the surprise ending? The rapper Monster, who I excluded for most of the review, was left unmentioned because I can't talk about a jive-talking homie without pointing out how frickin' racist this character is. But to illuminate this almost forgotten point: The last line of the film is our little Gangsta Gremlin being hired by the CIA. His response? "DYN-O-MITE!"
Apparently, when I was twelve I thought this film was pretty cool...so maybe I'm too old to appreciate it. Maybe so, but I'm going to have nightmares concerning how Mark Hamill behaves when he's picking up prostitutes off the street in his "I'm not middle-age" convertible. In closing, I'd like to say that for a film that has over an hour of fighting, it's kind of boring, and a waste of David Gale's talent. On the plus side, it's Hamill in a way you never wanted to see him. Maybe I'll review one of the new edition Star Wars films, just to give him another chance in Head Injury Theatre. Special thanks to Screaming Mad George (the special effects guy of much fame and director of this film) for going the extra mile and convincingly turning Hamill into a piece of insect vermin.
Editor's note: My apologies to Mark Hamill, wherever you are. Your voice entertained me so many times without my even knowing it. From video games to animated features, you have been there, lurking.
|copyright 2004 Jared unless stolen or whatever.|