“Gacchaman” (original title)
Runtime : 113 min
Genre : Sci-Fi
Movie Release : 24 August 2013 (Japan)
Director: Tôya Satô
Writers: Tatsuo Yoshida (characters), Yûsuke Watanabe (screenplay)
Stars: Tôri Matsuzaka, Ryôhei Suzuki, Gô Ayano
I’m pretty fond of Japanese Otaku hero shows, I’ve followed Super Sentai, Kamen Rider and after seeing how well the standard could be set with Gantz a few years ago I had high expectations for this.
I saw this as part of Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal and suffice to say it sure did know how to draw me into the film.
Its a really interesting plot buildup: An invading force known as the Galactor has laid siege to countries all over the world with the worst affected area being in Europe, Japan is one of the few safe havens left on the planet but is still under threat from constant attack, with Galactors personal energy shields rendering human weapons useless they instead turn their attention to powerful crystals which select their owners to become the superheroes the Gatchaman.
The film starts out really strong with a fantastic opening action sequence rivaling that of many Hollywood action films with great fight scenes some decent effects (to a degree) and it really left you with some great on your seat action for the first 15 minutes.
After that, it all falls apart.
The next hour of the film almost becomes an annoying slog with so much exposition and back story being tried to get cramped into the film, with most plot point revealed to be rather uninteresting or just flat out silly, not to mention one rather obvious plot hole towards the end of the film where it almost felt like the director said “screw it”
In fact what it actually feels like is that the movie blew its budget way on the opening scene that they had to go all melodramatic to fill in the rest of the film.
The climax of the film isn’t any better either whilst we do see a return to action the fights are in to close corridors making it hard to make out whats going on and one ridiculously stupid over dramatic death scene that is almost laughable had it not been for the fact that by this stage I was pretty much bored out of my mind.
Comparable to say Pacific Rim which knew what it was, it knew it was a silly setup which compensated with awesome fight scenes. But in Gatchaman while the setup was strong what was holding it together was silly, yet they tried to make a silly plot serious and sadly it just doesn’t work.
Not helped are some of the Japanese actors bad attempts at speaking English, And while I can forgive some actors who have to learn what to say on a whim some of the spoken English dialog from one character doesn’t even match the subtitles for whats being said on screen.
In the end Gatchaman could have been a great film to introduce Western Audience to Japanese Super Hero films but unfortunately its incredible boring and silly 2nd act renders the whole film almost unwatchable. I would recommend finding the opening action scene on the Internet for some good entertainment while killing time but thats about it.
Gatchaman Movie Trailer