While digging through some old VHS tapes the other day, I encountered one of the best 90’s sci-fi movies…that I had completely forgot about…Shame on me! It was a decrepit old copy of Guyver 2: Dark Hero. As with many of our movie refreshes/reviews, you are probably once again saying to yourself “I have never even heard of this!” Well consider yourself blessed, cause here is some background on one hell of a great movie!
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So I know what is the first question on your mind…”Did I watch the old VHS copy?” Hell no, I knew this was a movie that was worth owning so I ran down to the used store and found a DVD copy…I upgraded!
So the next question is…”I never saw the first Guyver movie, shouldn’t that be where I should start?” Hell no, the first movie is god awful. It stars Mark Hamill, which should be a redeeming quality but Star Wars is the only good Hamill. All you need to know from the first movie is that Sean Barker (David Hayter) encounters a small alien artifact that ends up merging with him. The artifact contains a suit of armor referred to as the Guyver. There is a evil organization called Chronos that is trying to get the artifact back, and they use mutated humans as their army. Simple enough right? Sean destroys Chronos and all is good at the end of part one.
So Guyver 2: Dark Hero picks up with Sean Barker living in torment as he becomes a nighttime vigilante that can’t stop himself from killing criminals, blaming it on the Guyver suit. He keeps having vision of spaceships and aliens which he connects to an archeological dig in Utah. Upon further exploration, the dig is in fact linked to the suit’s alien background and of course…Chronos is not truly defunct. So once again, the Guyver rises up and begins to battle the mutants to protect the hot chick and make sure the contents of the dig site don’t fall into the clutches of Chronos.
Sounds kind of run of the mill, I know, but you have to see this movie. This is based on some classic 80’s Japanese Manga by Yohiki Takaya that later was adapted in to great anime all by the same name. I am also now learning that there was a Guyver animated series that was made in 2005…on my list! If you are an anime/manga fan, I highly suggest all of this. Ok, back to our originally scheduled program!
Guyver 2 was released in Japanese cinemas in 1994, later to video in the US, and directed by Steve Wang. Steve Wang is one of the best kept secrets in the world of movies. Steve has done it all…director, writer, producer, art design, special effects director, make-up…oh and did I forget actor! In fact, one of the most impressive things about this flick are the special effects. There are very few computer effects…most of the creatures are awesome looking body suits with fantastic old school animatronic facial/body features. And this is not a surprise as the majority of Wang’s credits come in special effects. On top of effects, the fight choreography is astounding; especially considering everyone in the movie is in full body suits from head to toe! So for the total geeks out there I encourage you to go and learn more about Steve Wang’s other work. And yes, he did the first Guyver movie as well…still not sure what went wrong there…
Regardless, Guyver 2: Dark Hero is one of those rare hidden gems that everyone should be out seeking down after they read this blog. Don’t worry about the DVD being hard to find, you can queue it in Netflix or it should be at your local video store. As always, we encourage your comments, I would love to know what you think of this movie, and again, if you like the look/feel of the designs you should for sure check out all the anime and manga!