Super Hero
Guyver: Dark Hero
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Dir: Steve Wang
Star: David Hayter, Kathy Christopherson, Bruno Gianotta, Christopher Michael
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1994
Format: DVD R2
'

Set one year after the original movie (Guyver/Mutronics) Sean Barker (David Hayter) is still the host of the symbiotic bio booster Guyver armour and although he defeated the Zoanoids of the Kronos corporation he is still called to fight by the armour.....for justice.

Dogged by bad dreams, Barker is troubled by his nightmarish visions and sketches what he has seen when he wakes up. One morning whilst working on some more of his sketches he watches a dodgy cable show which reports of an alleged werewolf attack in Utah near the site of an archeological dig. During the interview with the survivor of the attack whose brother was killed, the reporter shows a picture which was copied from some old cave paintings at the archeological dig site. A picture which is identical to one that Barker had drawn from his dream, knowing that he needs to see the dig site Barker hitches his way to Utah to find it.

After initially shocking the daughter of the archeologist in charge of the dig, Barker manages to convince Cori Edwards (Kathy Christopherson) to take him to the site to have a look around. That evening as Barker and Cori sit around getting to know each other, the survivor of the attack from tv returns to the woods near the camp with a photographer and is attacked once again. Back at the camp Barker and Cori hear the screams and as Barker runs to the site of the attack he sends Cori for help, en-route Barker biomorphs into Guyver and upon reaching the clearing he discovers a Zoanoid attacking the hapless victim.

Guyver gets the Zoanoids attention and a brief stand off occurs and both combatants realise to their surprise what they are dealing with. (Guyver because he believed that he had destroyed all of the Zoanoids and the Zoanoid because of course the mysterious and powerful Guyver that Kronos has been looking for is suddenly right in front of him.) The obligatory fight ensues but is cut short when they are disturbed by the helpers from the camp the Zoanoid escapes and Barker has to change back to his normal self before he is revealed to everyone. Back at camp after the attack Barker carefully surveys all the archeologists in an unsuccessful attempt to identify the Zoanoid. After seeing one of the men, called Atkins (Christopher Michael) leave the camp and head into the surrounding woods he follows and discovers that Atkins is a government agent in charge of a special unit charged with the destruction of the world wide Kronos corporation.

Shocked at this revelation and the fact that he hadn't completely destroyed Kronos, Barker doesn't say anything to Atkins about who he really is and what he can do but is a little happier that someone else can fight Kronos instead of him. Meanwhile Kronos now knows where the Guyver is and still want him and the armour for themselves but don't want his added complication amidst their discoveries at the archeological dig.

Written, directed, produced and edited by Steve Wang, Guyver:Dark Hero is based on the characters originally created by Yoshiki Takaya and essentially follows on from the first film Guyver/Mutronics.

Anyone that missed the original movie should either go and get a copy of it or watch the Manga releases, but generally the story is of an alien symbiotic bio-booster armour which joins with it's host augmeting the hosts attributes and surrounding him/her with an almost inpenetrable armour, all of which can retract inside of the host at will leaving no trace. The Kronos corporation have perfected a technology which can activate some primal DNA coding which enables company employees to transform at will into Zoanoids which as well as being big, strong and ugly are similar to ancient myths of were-creatures. Kronos however have the serious hots for the Guyver unit, which to them is an all powerful weapon and they must have it. In the first film Dr. Tsagawa had stolen the Guyver unit from Kronos' labs before they had chance to activate it, whilst escaping the doctor hid the unit inside a lunch box which was discovered by Sean Barker before Dr Tsagawa was murdered by Zoanoids. Barker then accidentally activated the unit and was bonded with the Symbiote making him the Guyver, and a priority target for Kronos.

Set a year from the first film the UK release has some missing scenes which lose a little of the continuity, for example we don't get to see the relationship and break up of Sean and Mizky (Seans girlfriend from the first film) and we don't get to see Sean's nightmares which direct him to the archeological dig site. Those are just examples of what we in the UK don't get to see, but other than that it is still a pretty good film. Some good direction by Steve Wang which features some fantastic fight sequences in addition to the superb prosthetic and make up effects. The Guyver armour is superb and packing attitude and closer the Manga version in this film and the Zoanoids are ostensibly better visually this time around. Serious credit due to Steve Wang for all of his work on the film, which must have been a labour of love for him. Manga very rarely transforms into a "live-action" movie very well and usually the end product is so far removed from the original concept that it tends to be a little painful to watch and bears no resemblence to what you may have expected. Wang has taken the legendary character of the Guyver and done it proud, making a film that anyone can watch and be entertained by without upsetting any die hard Manga fans out there.

Acting wise I have to admit that it tends to be a little hammy in places and although for the most part the action sequences detract from this so you aren't as bothered by it, it does occasionally border on "cheesy". David Hayter takes over as Sean Barker and seems to be well cast, hardly the greatest acting talent but as a physical actor he is good to watch but not always to hear. Kathy Christopherson supports well as Cori Edwards apart from one or two "cheesy" moments but she does look quite good. Christopher Michael works well as the government agent Atkins but his performance contains some of the most groan-worthy dialogue of all.

Guyver: Dark Hero is basically a good film and as long as you don't mind some occasionally floundering dialogue you will enjoy it. A large part of the appeal for this film may be that it is basically a Manga film, (possibly) super hero and Science Fiction film all rolled into one. Steve Wang seems to have a knack of making films that are basically difficult in realisation but appear stunning upon production which has to a testament to his skill, but by the same director I have to say that Drive appears a better film but is something different again and cannot really be classed in the same vain as the Guyver.

Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD
Picture 4.3 Decent quality fullscreen image
Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Poor surround sound really, this needs a 5.1 score
Features Dull static menu
Verdict A pretty poor presentation really, a full screen image and a low grade soundtrack. Scene selection is the only real feature on the disc, but this was never a big film which is a pity.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home