Guyver, The (UK - DVD R2 | BD RB)
Chris checks out this cheesy 90s movie based on the classic manga series...
PART HUMAN. PART ALIEN. PURE SUPERPOWER.
Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and the team behind horror classic Re-animator join forces for this electrifying live-action adaptation of Yoshiki Takaya’s celebrated manga series!
Having been smuggled out of the mysterious Chronos Corporation by one of its researchers, a bio-weapon known as the “Guyver” unit – which transforms its holder into a lethal super-being – ends up in the hands of Sean, a young martial arts student. Sean soon finds himself in the sights of the Chronos Corporation and its mutant henchmen, who’ll stop at nothing to retrieve the weapon.
Produced by Brian Yuzna (Society, Bride of Re-animator) and co-directed by special-effects masters Screaming Mad George and Steve Wang, The Guyver is an FX-laden extravaganza featuring a plethora of familiar genre faces such as Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes) and David Gale (Re-animator). (Taken from the official synopsis.)
The Guyver arrives on Blu-ray with an unexpectedly pleasing transfer. I use the word unexpectedly only because it’s not exactly a high-profile title, rather than as a slight on Arrow’s quality control. Anyway, while unmistakably nineties in appearance there image exhibits a good level of detail, which both helps and hinders the effectiveness of the creature effects. The colour palette looks natural enough, albeit fairly flat, but that’s probably just because I’m used to modern colour grading. There are no issues with either brightness or contrast and, while there are a few minor artefacts here and there, the image is generally clean. A couple of scenes do look a little worse than the rest of the film, but this would appear to be due to the source rather than any encoding issues, as the compression is fine.
The disc offers a choice of LPCM 2.0 Stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtracks. I sampled both and actually ended up preferring the multi-channel track, as it’s faithful to the spirit of the original mix but provides some room for the various elements to breathe. Even so it’s a front-heavy affair, with clean, centred dialogue and reasonable use of the stereo channels for effects during the action sequences. Sound does bleed into the rear channels, but it is limited to general ambient effects and the super-cheesy score, which is honestly one of the most grating things I’ve heard in a while (but annoyingly catchy to boot). I don’t remember a whole lot of LFE, but there is some bass reinforcement for punches, kicks and the Guyver unit’s Mega-Smasher towards the end.
There’s not a whole lot to be found here I’m afraid. The stand-out is probably the Brian Yuzna interview, but even that is pretty short and uninspired. While I appreciate that The Guyver didn’t exactly set the world alight it would have been nice to have a little more input from some of the cast members (although I guess a Mark Hamill interview probably wouldn’t be too realistic these days). Anyway, here’s what’s included.
- Brand new interview with producer Brian Yuzna
- Image Gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nick Percival
Oh where to begin… I was a big fan of the original Bioboosted Armour anime back in the eighties so I was actually pretty excited to stumble across this film (with its alternate Mutronics: The Movie title) in a video rental store. Before long said excitement turned to despair, such is the quality of the finished product. Simply put, it’s a turkey; an embarrassment to the name Guyver. Featuring a cast of B-movie genre actors (most of who can’t actually act), the film forgoes the serious tone of the source material in favour of incongruous slapstick. The plot is full of contrivances; the all-powerful Chronos is reduced to a handful of bumbling employees who tick virtually every gender and racial stereotype box there is (and its end goal is ill-defined at best). The action sequences are also neutered in comparison to the anime, featuring family friendly levels of violence, or rather a lack thereof. This is particularly true of the so-called ‘director’s cut’ we get here, which is actually the original theatrical release and features less gore than some shorter home video releases! The one saving grace is the quality of the creature effects themselves, which are pretty good given the film’s budget.
As for the Blu-ray itself, well it’s a pretty decent audio-visual presentation, so if you are one of the film's fan's (I'm assuming they exist) you should at least be happy with Arrow’s effort from a technical standpoint. The relative lack of supplemental material is disappointing though, especially given some of the alternate gory sequences that exist in other home video releases that could have been included as deleted scenes or even integrated via seamless branching. All things considered this is probably one for the die-hards...
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 19th December 2016
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: Interview, Trailers, Stills Gallery
Easter Egg: No
Director: Screaming Mad George, Steve Wang
Cast: Mark Hamill, Jack Armstrong, Vivian Wu, David Gale, Michael Berryman
Length: 93 minutes
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