Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Movies Based on Manga” with a minor in “Two-Bit Actor Mark Hamill”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult appeals to Japan-o-philes and closet anime fans by watching Guyver!
When college student Sean Barker discovers an alien artifact called “The Unit”, he is transformed into an alien-hybrid super soldier. He quickly teams up with his girlfriend Mizki and CIA Agent Max Reed to combat the deadly mutants known as the Zoanoids. Can Sean learn to control his newfound power and save the Earth from the alien threat? Part human. Part alien. Pure superpower. This is Guyver.
Bio-Booster Armor Guyver is a manga series written by Yoshiki Takaya, about a high school student who comes in contact with a symbiotic biomechanical device that enhances the capabilities of its host. Action packed, mysterious, and often gruesome, Guyver gained quick popularity after it’s initial release in February of 1985. It is still going strong and is currently serialized in the monthly Shonen Ace magazine. Guyver was adapted into a series of direct to video anime episodes in the mid 80’s and early 90’s, a 26-episode anime series in 2005, and an incredibly deceitful live action movie in 1991.
The Guyver (released in Europe as Mutronics) is a 1991 Amercian sci-fi film loosely based on the Japanese manga series of the same name. Starring Jack Armstrong as Sean Barker, Mark Hamill as Max Reed, Vivian Wu as Mizki Segawa, and Michael Berryman as the villainous Lisker, the film was praised for its inspired casting, but not for their “ham-fisted over-acting.” Riddled with sci-fi clichés (including an opening text crawl that only serves to immediately confuse the audience) and brutally unfunny comedic scenes (at one point a gang of monsters start rapping before a fight starts), The Guyver seems like the best AND worst parts of the Power Rangers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles smashed into one. This is what it would look like if the early 90’s fell into a vat of toxic ooze and was recruited to fight robot mutants from space.
In fact, this film might be one of the first examples of Supercult false advertising. The poster and box art for the Guyver gives Mark Hamill top billing and even visually implies that he plays the titular character, but Luke Skywalker was relegated to a minor role, while Jack Armstrong was cast as the Guyver. The Guyver was Jack Armstrong’s feature film debut after working in television for 27 years. Fortunately for us, he went right back to TV afterwards and has rarely ventured too far into the limelight since.
The Guyver was directed by Steve Wang and Screaming Mad George. Wang is a Taiwanese director whose work includes other superhero stories like “Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight” and “Kung Pow! Enter the Fist”, but I know you don’t care about that. What you really care about is whoever the heck “Screaming Mad George” is. Well, Screaming Mad George is a special effects artist, director and musician from Japan. Born Joji Tan in Osaka Japan, he took the name George in order to stand out, but upon emigrating the U.S. where George is a much less stand-out-ish name, he changed his name to Screaming Mad George, inspired by his love for Mad Magazine and the R&B musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Screaming Mad George worked on creature and special effects for many feature films, most notably Predator, and his work shines through in The Guyver, which features over 50 creature effects.
Sadly, special effects and crazy names aren’t enough to make a film good enough to stay off the Supercult hit list. With a 4.7 on IMDB, a 36% audience review and no critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, The Guyver is a movie that flew under everyone’s radar, but somehow garnered enough interest to warrant a slightly better sequel, Guyver 2: Dark Hero.
Critics were mixed at best and scathing at worst towards The Guyver criticizing everything from the glaring plot deficiencies to the “nauseatingly hokey soundtrack.” David Johnson o DVD Verdict declared it “a big, dumb joke” saying that “the movie crashed and burned and crashed again.” All we can say is, brace yourselves for impact Supercultists, and remember that not even your seat floatation device can save you from how hilariously bad this movie truly is.
The Supercult show is proud to present Guyver!