Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dragon Ball Evolution

I know it's only been a few days since my last movie review, but some of my friends here in South Korea said, "Hey, man, let's go see the new Dragon Ball Movie," and having been an avid Dragon Ball Z fan in my past, I said, "OKAY." I wanted to comment here on this blog while the movie was still fresh in my mind.

If you watched Dragon Ball might get some enjoyment from the movie. However, If you like Dragon Ball, don't watch this movie. If you've never seen Dragon Ball, don't watch this movie. If you like decently written movies, don't watch this movie. If you like action films, don't watch this movie. If you hate cheesey teen flicks were there's all that high school angst, don't watch this movie. Maybe, if you really like really badly done Science Fiction movies, and have never heard of Dragon Ball before, then it might be okay to watch this movie.

This movie is only 1hour and 30 minutes long, including the ending and opening credits. That's a problem, because in the end, there's really only one hour of movie, which is like one episode of the wire or two episodes of Samurai Champloo. I would have rather watched those then this movie.

Within 10 minutes of the movie starting, I was already bored. First off, Goku is 18, not a kid. This is a problem. Secondly, Goku is in school, which, we all know, he never was. Thirdly, Goku's "grandfather" is apparently one of Master Roshi's trainies, so he's preparing Goku to learn the Kamehameha wave. What the...!!

Basically, after I suspended my disbelief for a moment, Goku's grandfather gives Goku a dragon ball and tells him about them. He tells him all about how there are seven and how if you collect them all, then "you're greatest wish will come true." Okay, now we're just messing up the entire story.

Meanwhile, Piccolo is a bad guy. That's fine, he was in Dragon Ball as well, but apparently, he's the last survivor of the Namekian invasion of Earth 2000 years ago....Now we all know that Piccolo and the Namek people didn't come out until DBZ, so they are obviously messing with the story at this point. Besides the fact that the people of Namek seemed to be a fairly peaceful race in DBZ, so why the hell would they want to invade earth? AND, if Goku is going to talk about them, at least teach the actor how to pronounce the damn word.

Anyway, so Goku knows all about the people of Namek (or Nimik as he says), and we are supposed to believe then that he has no idea that he is Saiyan. Okay, fine. But the fact that he's explaining this to his teacher in his school while Chichi is sitting three desks away looking attractive in her modern style clothing and his hair has waaaay to much Gel (that's how they get the Goku hair look on him) is really hard for me to swallow.

The movie continues by messing up everything dragon ball all the way till the credits. We get to see Bulma (who is at least a little in character), Yamcha (without a scar but still the desert bandit thank God), Roshi (without his turtle hermit shell), Sifu Norris (replacing Mr. Popo as the token black man), Piccolo (who apparently has cool technology that lets his spawn mini-versions or allow him to make his people look like whoever), Mai (who's apparently Piccolo's bitch), and Chichi (who is apparently like the popular girl at school, with a crew of half-wit rich kids who "protect" her from losers like Goku despite the fact that she likes him).

So, at the end of the movie, I felt profoundly stupid. They tried to cram 84 episodes of Dragon Ball into one hour, which basically meant that the didn't really do or say anything. No, they're trying to beat the clock as the world will end if Piccolo get all the balls together before the solar Eclipse, because that's when "Oosaru" (which is Japanese for Great Monkey for those of you not in the know) will arise and join Piccolo's army, and together they will make a wish to destroy the world. And apparently, Piccolo knows Goku's secret. How could he not though? Apparently, Monkey Goku is also one of Piccolo's bitches. But on top of that, the dialogue sucked, the story sucked, the make-up sucked...about the only cool with this movie was the CGI. If it had just been CGI, it probably would have been better.

In the end, there was no Krilin, but there was a fire mountain, which Roshi does not put out with his Kamehameha wave. No, if you are a fan of Dragon Ball, you will likely sit through the movie getting all the references that other movie goers are missing, but not enjoying a damn minute of it. Then you would turn to me and say, "Ah, I get what you mean now" because I will be staring off into space with you.

I give this movie an F for "FAIL" and for seriously being teh leet suxxor. Watching it was about as much fun as shoving razor blades under my fingernails.

Friday, March 27, 2009

CROWS Becomes Live Action Movie

It has been a long time since a review has come up on this page, but I think it's due time, despite the fact that I'm beginning to think that this group is dead. But, since I'm wanting to keep it alive, I'll post for posterity's sake.

Maybe many of you are already familiar with the comic book "Crows" by Hiroshi Takahashi. It's the prequal comic to the one titled "Worst" by the same author, and takes place in the same chaos driven, criminally deliquent school as Worst. And just like Worst, the kids don't just fight to survive, they fight to win.

"Crows" is about a transfer study who comes to Suzuran High School and gets himself involved in a power struggle that occuring. But to top matters off, despite being the new guy, he declares that he's going to become the top of the school for reasons that don't make sense at first.

The movie, however, follows a different plot-line, one much more reminiscent of "Worst" then of CROWS, and follows a different set of characters, but is generally the same story. Released in 2007 (thus being a few years old), it is named "Crows Zero," supposedly being the prequal story even to "Crows" itself.

The question becomes, with all these prequal stories, why wasn't the story just told in chronological order in the first place. I guess that's what happens when you create something and then realize you've completely ruined any chance of sequals.

But the movie follows the character Genji Takaya as he arrives at Suzuran and declares he will be the king of the high school by boldly erasing the name of Tamao Serizawa, who has already made the same claim. The thing is, Serizawa has already got things in motion, which means that Genji has got a lot of work to do.

Armed with a Yakuza friend, named Ken, whose crew he beats down on the first day of school, Genji begins to bring down leaders and gaining an army in the name of surpassing Serizawa and taking Suzuran by force.

However, Serizawa could easily take the school if he didn't have a problem with some of the leaders, like the head of a vicious biker gang, or the guy who just won't give up no matter how much they beat him, and so he watches as Genji takes down his problems one by one. As Genji assends, Serizawa's job just keeps getting easier.

Unfortunately for Serizawa, his best friend has a tumor and is dying, which distracts him from the task at hand, leaving his captains in charge of the gang. But his captains have a different plan in mind; they're not just going to sit around and watch as Genji takes the school. Using some very subtle and very diabolical tactics, they begin to destroy Genji's crew, even taking his girlfriend hostage and threatening her life, all the while covering their own tracks.

Genji's world begins to spiral out of control, but he slowly learns the meaning behind Suzuran High School and the reason why the teachers and the government let it stay the way it is. And as he learns the meaning for Suzuran High, he begins to realize what's important, and being the King doesn't seem to matter anymore...

I give this film an A+ for great writing, amazing action sequences, romancing of the criminal underworld, and being one of the best Comic-to-film Live Action Movies I've ever seen. With completely different characters than the comic, you have to accept it as a completely different film, and when you do so, you will not be dissapointed.