Today I watched Steve Wang’s Guyver: Dark Hero (1994)
Set one year after the first live action Guyver film in which the titular hero has taken up work as a street vigilante. This apparently helps sate the biomechanical suit’s bloodlust so Sean Barker can keep some level of control. While watching a news program he sees a report about a monster sighting awfully similar to his arch-rivals, the Zoanoids. His search for both the Zoanoids and answers about the nature of the Guyver unit lead him to an archaeological dig that is investigating a cave that may contain evidence of ancient aliens. At the dig he learns more than just his cosmic origins though as the Chronos corporation has returned with it’s legion of Zoanoids who seek to find a new Guyver unit.
This film dispenses with much of the misplaced humour of it’s predecessor and attempts a significantly more serious tone. While it does so in an attempt to be more faithful to it’s source material, it loses a lot of the ridiculousness that makes both the original works and the first film, awful as it is, compelling. The original Guyver manga along with it’s various anime incarnations is an absurd work of body horror action, with lots of screaming and gore. This movie has that, but only in a very small amount, diluted across a feature length film.
While the new lead actor David Hayter, is an upgrade from the previous film, Sean Barker is a terrible character. I think that is to blame for a lot of the lack of melodrama, this movie fails to truly express his internal conflict with the Guyver unit. The film only briefly tries to touch on this subject and it makes Sean’s quest to be normal again seem really, well, lame. He has the opportunity to be a cool superhero, apparently there is a downside but because the film totally fails to express that, it comes off as very selfish that he would turn his back on superhero responsibilities like that.
In the end this film fails to deliver enough of what I want out of anything Guyver, intense body horror, anime-esque melodrama, and gory violence. Sure there is a little bit of that, but not nearly enough for my time. The majority of the screen time, which is mostly taken up by extremely dull bad acting, is far too much of a slog to get through to make the decent fights and effects worthwhile. The movie can’t do drama, they should have done more fan service, or at least edited it down to an hour at most. 2/5