Guyver: Dark Hero(Movie Review)
Guyver: Dark Hero is a sequel to the 1991 film The Guyver and is based off of a japanese anime/manga. I saw these films when I was younger and it left an impression on my little nerd heart. I came back to them recently and… Oh god, the first was awful, but the second, while not a great film, is still really fun. I’ve also watched the anime and its pretty good as well. Before we talk about the sequel, let’s address the turd in the room.
A young man named Sean Baker stumbles upon an alien armor. He accidently activates it and the armor merges with him, creating the Guyver. The suit gives Sean enhanced strength, speed, combat abilities, and sweet lasers. The suit belongs to the Chronos Corporation and the CEO sends out his genetically altered thugs, called Zoanoids, to retrieve the Guyver unit. I’m telling you guys right now: DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM. It is straight garbage doo doo. If you respect yourself, don’t watch it. Unless you are a glutton for mental and visual punishment, stay away from this film.
First of all, it shits on the source material by having a PG-13 rating. The anime is violent and bloody. Instead, this one has beatboxing alien mutants and Mark Hamill turning into a giant roach.
Second of all, Mark Hamill was given top billing, but plays an FBI agent, not the Guyver. If you look at the poster, you’d think he was the star.
Third of all, horrible effects. They have not endured the test of time. At all. Syfy channel’s digital effects look like fine art next to these.
Fourth, really bad acting. Like Nic Cage Wicker Man bad. All you need to know is the Guyver defeats the bad guys and walks away in one piece with the suit. Spare yourself the pain folks. I would rather chew glass with my butthole than watch this movie ever again.
Guyver: Dark Hero(1994)
The film takes place a year after the events of the first film. Sean Baker(recast as David Hayter of Metal Gear Solid fame) has been using the Guyver to fight crime in L.A. Unfortunately, the suit has a seemingly unquenchable blood lust, leaving Sean to emotionally reconcile with its murderous ways. Hoping to find out more about the Guyver suit, Sean travels to an archeological site in Utah where a UFO has been seemingly unearthed. Once again, Sean must battle another branch of the Chronos Corporation and their Zoanoids as he searches for the truth.
This is a straight to video film that has garnered a cult following and is viewed more favorably by fans of the manga/anime. First of all, this one is rated R for VIOLENCE and they take advantage of it. The Guyver dispatches his foes in some really gruesome ways. It’s fucking awesome.
Second, the fight choreography is on point. The Guyver’s fighting style is very Power Rangers, meaning he’ll sail through the air just to kick somebody in the head and then do six backflips for good measure. But then he shanks these hideous monstrosities with his elbow blades and eviscerates them, their intestines spilling to the floor. It’s a combination that’s fun to behold. I need more of it in my life.
Third of all, the story and tone of the film feels more on par with the anime. There’s a mythology to explore here and this film successfully world builds more than the first ever did.
Also, the effects look way better. Budget constraints meant the filmmakers had to be smart with their locations and digital effects and it shows as most of them are practical. You are still looking at makeup and guys in suits for the Zoanoids, but it’s cheesy in a good way. That last fight is a particular favorite. The antagonist in the movie’s final showdown or “boss battle” was a great design. It gives Sean’s Guyver suit a run for its money in terms of how cool it looks.
My biggest gripes about the film are the acting and writing. The acting is not much higher than the first film’s, but it’s not helped by the poorly written dialogue. However, it feels more endearing in this film because I enjoy the other elements so much.
All in all, I’d say give this film and the anime a watch. Its really fun in a cheesy way and would make a nice watch for a lazy Saturday. The film is available on Amazon and Youtube for $3 and the anime can be found on Youtube for free. The first film is also on Youtube for free, but really, why do that to yourself?