No, it's not "MacGyver," it's THE GUYVER, and one can only wish that the creativity that went into that erstwhile hit TV show had gone into this film. Based on a popular Japanese comic character created by Yoshiki Takaya, the story has a lot of potential that is frittered away with a
Fleeing through the Los Angeles night, scientist Dr. Tetsu Segawa (Greg Paik) is cornered in a storm drain by a bunch of goons led by Lisker (Michael Berryman). They demand that he hand over a mysterious object in a metal case he holds--little knowing that he has stashed the object nearby. The
doctor suddenly transforms into a reptilian creature, but so does Lisker, who kills him and takes the case. The next day, CIA agent Max Reed (Mark Hamill)--with whom Dr. Segawa had arranged a meeting and who witnessed his death from afar--goes to notify the doctor's daughter Mizky (Vivian Wu) of
his death. She's at a martial arts class being taken by her boyfriend Sean (Jack Armstrong).
Sean yearns to be a kung fu master but, in time-honored tradition, he lacks the concentration. He does notice Max's interest in Mizky, and later follows the two to the site of Dr. Segawa's murder. There he stumbles upon the device the doctor had hidden, a strange metal object the size of a hubcap
called the Guyver. He can't figure out what it is, but later, when he gets in a fight with a street gang, the thing seems to come to life, encasing him in a suit of armor that allows him to vanquish his foes before retracting into his body. It is this object that Lisker was supposed to retrieve,
but the metal case he presents to his boss, Fulton Balcus (David Gale), head of the Chronos Corporation, contains a toaster instead. Enraged, Balcus orders Lisker to track down Mizky.
Max, meanwhile, has explained to Mizky that he's been investigating the Chronos Corporation, and that Dr. Segawa was supposed to deliver the Guyver to him. As Sean is coming to visit her, and Max is staked out outside her apartment, Lisker and company attempt to kidnap Mizky. But Sean and Max get
the better of them for a moment and flee, with Lisker and the other goons--one of whom, Striker (Jimmie Walker), has transformed into a monster--in hot pursuit. The chase leads to an abandoned warehouse, where Lisker and the rest also transform into creatures, and Sean calls on the power of the
Guyver to protect him. The armor wraps itself around him and a lengthy fight ensues but, when Lisker pulls a controlling cell from Sean's forehead, his body disintegrates.
Max and Mizky are captured and taken to the Chronos labs, where Balcus reveals that he's been using an ancient alien power to transform humans into Zoanoids, his monstrous henchmen. The Guyver is another manifestation of this power, one that will allow him to rule the world, and it appears to be
slowly regenerating itself from the controlling cell. Mizky attempts to steal the cell but, in the resulting melee, it is swallowed by one of Balcus's creatures. Soon Sean, who is now one with the Guyver, is reborn and tears his way out of the monster's body. He manages to fight off all the
attacking beasts and free the captured Max from the transformation chamber, but the latter metamorphoses into a giant bug before dying. An enraged Balcus then transforms into a giant dragon and attempts to kill Sean, but the young man uses the Guyver's power to blow him to pieces. He then reverts
back to normal and leaves with Mizky, not knowing that the monstrous Striker has survived.
THE GUYVER represents another welcome infusion of Asian fantasy into American genre production, but the result doesn't resemble the top-flight fantasy of films like A CHINESE GHOST STORY so much as it does an episode of the old "Ultraman" TV show. No doubt there was a wealth of Japanese material
to work with, but screenwriter Jon Purdy has concocted situations that are a lot less imaginative than the science-fiction trappings and creature designs. One of the main problems is a rather uninteresting lead character. Sean is the traditional KARATE KID-style hero who must learn discipline.
Even so, his persona disappears beneath the Guyver's armor in the second half of the movie. The rest of the characters are comic-strip level, from Wu's poorly acted damsel in distress to Hamill's CIA man, who's unusually forthcoming about his assignments.
Of course, this is essentially a comic-strip movie, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. But there are no additional levels or interesting plot twists to attract viewers older than kids, and directors Screaming Mad George and Steve Wang throw in a lot of lame comic relief, from a clumsily
telegraphed bit where the monstrous Striker stumbles onto a horror movie set--and confronts "Scream Queen" Linnea Quigley--to dumb rap dialogue delivered by the same character (Walker's character even gets a silly "Good Times" in-joke as the movie's punchline). On the other hand, both George and
Wang are special effects artists who clearly viewed this as a showcase for their work, and their monster designs are varied and very well executed.
The creature effects are, in fact, the highlight of THE GUYVER, even if the climactic set pieces are a little too reminiscent of THE FLY and ALIENS. The fight scenes are fairly well staged, too, but they go on for too long, further pointing up the fact that they are all THE GUYVER has to offer.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: No, it's not "MacGyver," it's THE GUYVER, and one can only wish that the creativity that went into that erstwhile hit TV show had gone into this film. Based on a popular Japanese comic character created by Yoshiki Takaya, the story has a lot of potential t… (more)