Director: James Wong.
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat and some other people including Justin Chatwin, James Masters. USA. 1h 25m.
Sometimes a manga series can inspire huge things, and with a thriving fanbase both in Japan and here it’s something with could easily break the box office and sway merchandising for years to come. Admittedly I adore the animated series and would have been happy to watch a feature length film made with the same retro feel and expressions, going live, usually ruins such things but I was very interested to see how my favourite characters were going to be whitewashed and ruined, I guess there is a mini masochist inside of us all.
This Easter the legend comes to life.
So changing EVERYTHING and relying on the old story of “based on characters…” we find Son Goku, now European, out on a quest to collect the 7 Dragon Balls, which isn’t anything unusual or different, but he’s battling against King Piccolo.. who has broken free with his ninja hence woman Mai (Eriko) to search for the balls to take over the world or some shit, I had honestly lose all interest during the intro.. so this is sketchy for me, Goku, the adorable high school student and martial artist had been given the No. 4 Dragonball by his gramps, upon returning from a party hosted by his crush Chi-Chi (Jamie Chung) he finds his home destroyed and his gramps near to death, after Piccolo’s failed attempt to capture the ball, Just before he dies Gohan, tells Goku to seek out Muten Roshi (Yun-Fat) and he teams up with a sassy mentor and token and kicks random ass on his quest through lands of terrible acting and poor effects.
There’s probably more to digest for real connoisseurs, the film did make a profit so there were quite a few curious souls and I am hardly the target audience, it might play well with diehard fans but I feel it made no new converts.
The film is very cobbled together, having very little bearing the brightly lit universe of the Dragonball that I remembered from my teenhood, fair enough it would have been a challenge but it would have been easily accepted if the effort had been made. Akira Toriyama was so disgusted with this adaptation (which isn’t the first attempt) that he revived the series with the 2013 edition Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.
With all the questionable humor removed and paper thin characters, the film is highly predictable and seemed to be an almost free ride for Chow Yun Fat, he hardly broke a sweat and seemed to spend most of his on screen time laughing within, luckily I saw the short version but if you’re up for it, there is a 1 hour 40 minute endurance test
R – Final Fantasy (2001) Resident Evil (2002) Tank Girl (1995) GI Joe The Rise of Cobra (2009)
L – Animation on the Silver Screen.
A – Whitewashing…
5S – Chow Yun Fat