New Line // 1991 // 92 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 25th, 2004
Richard Dean Anderson-free.
I remember seeing commercials for this movie a long time ago. Seeing as it was released in 1991, I would have been about 13 or so. In the deep, dark recesses of my mind, where just glimpses of cognizance are stored, I dredge up this memory: "That looks kind of awesome." Years later, here I sit at the keyboard, preparing to tell the world of my experience of finally seeing this comic-book-sci-fi-actioner. My only question to you -- are you ready?
After a convoluted expository crawl about aliens and how they created humans as weapons and how they're all ruled by some bastard called the Zoalord and how he has risen to prominence by creating the Chronos Corporation, a powerful organization fronting his maniacal whims, and that a top-secret weapon named the Guyver has been developed and it's powerful and dangerous and everyone wants it, the movie begins.
A scientist named Dr. Segawa is fleeing an unknown pursuer, cradling a suitcase -- possibly...the Guyver?! -- and hustling through a dark alley. But too late!
They're on to him!
He stows away his mysterious cargo and faces his attackers: Weber (Spice Williams), Lisker (Michael Berryman), and Striker (Jimmy Walker)! Irritated that the Guyver is missing, the assailants proceed to whip the spackle out of the scientist -- before transforming into slimy aliens with a penchant for hip-hop!
Meanwhile, Sean Barker (Jack Armstrong, All My Children) is a short-tempered mullet-wearer trying his darndest to court the luscious Mizky Segawa (Vivian Wu), daughter of the recently-slain-while-being-rapped-to-by-a-frickin'-alien Dr. Segawa.
The detective assigned to the murder case is the plucky Max Reed (Mark Hamill, Star Wars), and Sean mistakenly believes Max is applying the pink lightsaber to his girlfriend.
Pissed, Sean hops on his moped and zips through the night, only to be confronted by a gaggle of street toughs. Luckily, he has in his possession the Guyver, which he stumbled across the previous night. Faster than you can say "Uh, I think this movie sucks," the Guyver has melded with Sean to form a bio-mechanical bad-ass.
The Zoalord unleashes his alien thugs to retrieve the weapon, but they'll have to go through a heft helping of whoop-ass to get it. From then on, it's a stuntman in a costume beating the hoochie out of other stuntmen in costumes, all the way up to the stunning showdown between the Guyver and the Zoalord.
Okay, The Guyver. First off, know that this is a sci-fi comedy. It does not take itself seriously. When you've got a bat-alien hybrid creature voiced by Jimmy Walker freestyle rapping to awful synch music, that's a good sign you're hip-deep in cheese.
That's what The Guyver is. Cheese. Heck, it's the cheesiest.
You get ham-fisted over-acting (Berryman and Hamill especially, who spit their lines out through clenched jaws), the ZAP! scene transitions, the gut-wrenching gags (during a chase, an alien runs onto a movie set, where the director chastises him for being late to the shoot, only to turn around and see the real actor in his monster suit), the ludicrous plot contrivances (spoiler warning! Sean is defeated and melts, yet is able to return by incubating in the body of an evil alien when it accidentally swallows a Guyver module), not to mention the basic premise of a kung-fu superhero in a hugely plastic get-up slapping around trash-talking aliens, all set to a nauseatingly hokey soundtrack. Yeah, The Guyver should be the American Dairy Farmer Association's theme movie.
Most perplexing, however, is the intended audience for the film; I don't who director Screaming Mad George (you read that name correctly) was thinking of when he crafted this. At first glance, I would think children. But scattered throughout the film are some surprisingly violent moments; Max Reed's weirdo transformation into a bug monster and an alien taking a saw blade to the forehead top the list. But it's too effin' corny for anyone with an I.Q. higher than a granola bar to take seriously.
Therefore, it must have been developed for the "guilty pleasure crowd." That's my best guess. It's laughably dopey, the costuming is fun to watch, and the cast is comprised of a quasi-iconic celebrities. And thus ends my treatise on The Guyver.
New Line continues to impress with its technical treatment of DVD releases. The widescreen transfer is relatively clean, despite some spotty bits in the film that betray its aged stock. Both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks accompany, though the mixes are pretty subdued. Much of the film audio is front-loaded. Extras are too lean: previews and DVD-ROM content only.
The Guyver is a movie that looks like a comic book, sounds like a soft-core porno, and feels like a Velveeta single. It's campier than Crystal Lake.
Guilty for first-degree criminal goofiness.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* DVD-ROM Content