Jinzô ningen Hakaidâ (Mechanical Violator Hakaider) (1995)
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Critic Reviews for Jinzô ningen Hakaidâ (Mechanical Violator Hakaider)
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Audience Reviews for Jinzô ningen Hakaidâ (Mechanical Violator Hakaider)
Treason? Or revenge? I vote treason. I'm "Tokyo Shocked" that this movie came out. This Tokyo SHOCK release marks the 30th review on the site and the first under the new name 90 lost minutes. While the director's cut of Hakaider is only 77 minutes long I do confess that I spent at least 13 minutes considering whether or not I wanted to finish it. So, yes, this movie really is 90 lost minutes. I could try and explain the story but that wouldn't really do much good so I'll give you a basic run down. Hakaider is discovered and soon proceeds to whomp a metric ton of ass for no real reason. Mr. Evil Guy Flower Pants who runs Jesus town doesn't like it and sends some dudes after him. Hakaider escapes from Mr. Evil Guy's clutches with the help of some rebels. He exposes the rebels to serious danger and all but one of them are killed, thanks Hakaider. The one who isn't killed thinks Hakaider reminds her of a dream she's been having and she falls hopelessly in love with our leather/metallic hero. Hakaider leaves while she is asleep and then goes back to Jesus town to finish the job of freeing those who didn't ask to be freed. It's harder than he would like but the damn movie is named after him so you tell me who wins. Why does this movie suck? I'll tell you. It is a live action movie that is shot like it's anime. All of the camera angles and presentation are the same as they would be as if this was animated. What is the best part about anime? THE ANIMATION! So there are shots which appear to be setup to show off the visuals but they come across as lengthy pauses that leave you shouting at the screen. Also, the English dub is entirely produced in a studio and none of the locations have any depth or feel to them at all. They all just sound like someone in a closet reading lines. Those are its technical hurdles. What's funny is that if this was anime I would like it. It's weird and a bit nonsensical which generally goes hand in hand with Japanese storytelling. In fact I must not have been the only person who thought this since they went on to create anime from this universe some five years after this movie. This movie suffers from what I call "convenient plot device syndrome" or CPDS. There is a scene where Hakaider transforms into his power suit for no real reason and then 30 seconds later someone he didn't see tries to shoot him, CPDS. There are multiple occasions where you think. Damn, that was convenient. Like when Hakaider kills the angel robot and pulls his spinal column out which was exactly what needed to happen for the giant killer claw machine to be directed. What? Here are some things I learned from watching Hakaider. 1. It's ok to have live action movies where the shot is so distant that you can't see people's lips move while they're talking to each other. 2. If you rule Jesus town you must be a controlling paranoid freak who loves flowers and lives in a Mac store. 3. If you're going to build power armor make sure it has elf shoes. 4. All battle droids die just like the ones George Lucas made. 5. Choir music is more effective when actual people are singing it instead of poorly recorded synthesized keyboard samplings. 6. The best way to present a live action version of an anime story is to include horrible stop motion boss fights as the final payoff. 7. If you run Jesus town you must own a killer crane game claw machine. 8. If your robotic arm gets shot off it will grow back as soon as you try to drive away on your motorcycle. My biggest question about this movie is ... now what? So he frees the simpletons and takes out Mr. Evil Guy. So what? What happens next? It's like the whole purpose of the movie was to setup an additional story. So much so that the hero's motivation and destiny are muddy at best. I say skip this movie. Don't be drawn in by the trailer like I was. It actually is pretty boring. It took me 4 tries to finish it and it's only 77 minutes long.
All my life I've tended to like the bad guys better than the heroes. I've always liked The Empire better than the Rebels, I constantly rooted for Dr. Wiley while playing Mega Man, and any and every invading alien army is ALWAYS more interesting that whatever lame humans arise to combat it. Thus, Hakaider SHOULD be right up my alley. A bit of history: back in the 70s there was a tokusatsu series called Kakaider about a transforming android who fights evil robots. Hakaider was the ultimate badguy robot, Kakaider's "evil twin" if you will. Flash forward to the 90s, somebody thought it'd be interesting to make a spin-off movie where Hakaider served as anti-hero rather than villain. Think about it: a whole movie focusing on the bad guy! How could it not rule? Well, Japanese audiences found a few ways right of the bat: the Kakaider fanbase resolutely refused to accept the character as anything other than a menace, and the movie was a huge flop domestically. Of course, most of us in the states have never even HEARD of Kakaider before, so we can judge the movie free of prejudice, right? Maybe, but that doesn't make it any better. In fact, the first flaw one finds in Hakaider is that it assumes the audience already knows who its star is. There is virtually NO attempt to explain who this guy is or why he does anything, not that he really does all that much anyway. Worse, Yuji Kishimoto's performance is actually LESS emotive when he's NOT wearing his goofy mask, so there no character depth to be found there. In fact, there's no depth ANYWHERE in Hakaider. The film is littered with silly religious imagery that means nothing (because it was the mid 90's and pointless religious iconography was COOL!), not to mention some profoundly corny dream sequences that ALSO mean nothing plot-wise. Worse, the "edgy" anti-authoritarian message is embarrassingly predictable, not to mention juvenile. "But who cares about plot and message and stuff?" you say "We're here to see robots blow stuff up!" Sadly, you'll be disappointed there as well. Hakaider is remarkably uninspired visually. From one of the blandest "post-apocalyptic" futures ever put on film to painfully over-lit "night" sequences to astoundingly boring "action" sequences, everything about this flick under performs. Even the cheap, keyboard soundtrack manages to suck what little energy there IS out of most scenes. In fact, this whole film looks at least ten years older than it is. Seriously, hold any scene from Hakaider up against 80's Italian slush like The New Gladiators or Escape 2000 and see if there's any real difference. In fact, the climactic battle with a STOP MOTION PUPPET looks like something Charles Band would have coughed up back when people were actually paying attention to him. You have to specifically try NOT to try to make a movie about an evil war robot and have it turn out THIS listless. Frankly, I don't think it matters what the Kakaider fanbase thought about this movie, it deserved to flop. For Japanophiles only.
Jinzô ningen Hakaidâ (Mechanical Violator Hakaider) Quotes
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