Judge David Johnson says Pete Thornton ain't got nothing on alien bio-booster armor!
"Please don't confuse us with that moronic first movie. Thank you."
Here's an analogy for you:
Where the Batman franchise descended into ludicrous campiness upon subsequent entries from the original, the sequel to the goofy The Guyver took itself more seriously. Is it enough to make the movie worthwhile?
Facts of the Case
When we last left "The Guyver," a young man with an extraterrestrial bio-mechanical weapon suit implanted in his body, and no one cared. The filmmakers have obviously tried to revamp the Guyver's cinematic rendering this go-round by discarding cheesiness of the first film and pursuing a more serious, gorier interpretation.
Sean Barker is back, played by a different actor (David Hayter, who went on to a huge career in video game voice work; Fun Fact: The IMDb notes that Hayter is the voice of the EA slogan "It's in the game!"). From the get-go, we know we're dealing with a more hard-core Guyver when the hero confronts a gaggle of punks. He proceeds to beat the potato salad out of them, and then, when the leader begs for his life, Guyver slits his throat and unleashes a geyser of blood!
A year before, he believed he had wiped out the Chronos Corporation, a hideout for aliens pretending to be humans but plotting to take over the world. Now he's feeling the pressure of his new identity and the killer instincts that accompany it. But when he hears about a controversial archaeological site that may contain the secret to the Guyver armor, his interest is piqued and he's off.
He meets Cori (Kathy Christopherson, After Diff'rent Strokes: When the Laughter Stopped), the beautiful daughter of the scientist in charge of the excavation. Sean knows right off the bat she's a lot better looking than his previous girlfriend, but before he can get his "woo" on a Zoanoid, one of the alien monsters shows up, rips the head off a hapless redneck, and engages the Guyver in hand-to-hand combat. Chronos is back!
Sean must now unleash a clandestine campaign on the invading Zoanoids, avoid the suspicions of a government agent, keep Cori safe, and solve the riddle of the Guyver's purpose.
The first Guyver was a big, dumb joke. Despite some good creature effects, the movie crashed and burned and crashed again, weighted down by preposterous acting, corny music, and the "are-you-kidding?-we-don't-take-any-of-this-crap-seriously!" attitude. Now, The Guyver 2 maintains much of what hampered its predecessor, specifically the terrible acting and general low-budget feel, but that's where the comparisons cease.
The Guyver 2 is a much better effort and an entertaining sci-fi B-movie in its own right. Much of the success has to do with the entirely new tone; where the first movie was self-mocking, the creative minds behind The Guyver 2 decided to play it straight, and give it an R rating to boot!
One of the great things about this movie is that it embraces its rating, and earns it. Seriously, this flick is loaded with gore. Sure, most of it emanates from violence towards "alien monsters" (read: guys in rubber suits), but there are no punches pulled in the fluids department. These alien bastards get decapitated, have their wrists bent backwards and broken off, melt, get electrocuted, have their eyeballs punctured, receive copious puncture wounds with elbow-mounted swords, and vomit gallons of blood.
The action is 100 times better.
The plot framing this violence is typical Z-grade material: good and evil battle for the ultimate weapon and there's an ancient alien ship involved. Though the acting is wretched—particularly the government agent who delivers his lines as if he was just coming to after major invasive surgery—at least the casting agent had the good sense to bring aboard better-looking people than the last entry boasted.
I think the biggest compliments I can hand The Guyver 2 are a) it kept me fairly entertained throughout, and b) it managed to cleanse my "Guyver palate" after the horrendous first movie. No masterpiece by any means, but solid B-movie fun.
Like the first release, this disc suffers from a bare closet of extras (previews and DVD weblink content), but boasts some impressive technical aspects. The widescreen format is great, though the picture is real grainy. This is due to the miniscule budget, no doubt. New Line managed to squeeze two digital tracks out of the movie—Dolby Digital and DTS—though the surrounds aren't as active as I would have liked. On the other hand, if you have a potent subwoofer setup, this movie will make your braces vibrate.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The movie is too long. Any film about a bio-armor-wearing superhero fighting aliens should not exceed 90 minutes, much less 120! The Guyver 2 clocks in at about 2:06. Unnecessary. Though the final twenty minutes or so is essentially non-stop fighting—which is good—two-thirds of the movie offers too little Guyver-mayhem and too much character-emoting. With these actors, that latter ain't a good thing.
Skip the first, watch the second. If you're down with decent sci-fi kung-fu and cruelty to alien beasts, here's the movie for you. Of course, you might have to zip through a couple of painful scenes with your remote to get to the good stuff.
New Line is thanked for a solid effort transferring this movie, and those behind the making of The Guyver 2 are given marshmallows to roast over the bonfire that will immediately follow the dousing with gasoline of old VHS copies of the first movie.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
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