Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F Review Fight Frieza Again

Dragon Ball is back! Goku! Vegeta! And let's not forget Frieza. This is the second in-continuity film based on work by DBZ's original creator Akira Toriyama to come out and not that late since the last DBZ film was in theaters.

There's been a long line of Dragon Ball Z films that introduced strange characters and new enemies like the power house Broly or Frieza's forgotten brother Cooler. Those films all went off the rails. Some felt more out of place than others. Yet, the animation was superb. The fights and enemies presented showcased the talents of the director and animators. This is one of those films with strange ideas albeit a let down on action.

If you enjoyed meeting all your old friends again and I mean all your old friends in DBZ: Battle of the Gods (with mediocre battles) than let me stop and tell you that was the best DBZ film to come out. Its sequel is the film made to get little kids in theaters to go out on a weekend in Japan. To bug their parents for DBZ stuff. It's not as funny or as memorable, it's not even as thrilling, but it is Dragon Ball and it has it's moments.


Yamcha, Puar, Chatzu, Oolong, Majin Buu, Hercule and the rest of the DBZ cast, get out of here. Trunks, Goten, get outta a'here. We don't need you for this one. That's what director Tadayoshi Yamamuro said to the audience under the script of Akira Toriyama. A smaller cast of DBZ fighters enters the fight in this one. Forget the birthday party reuniting fun of the other film with your favorite character adding a joke, that was the last year. Time to see true Hell.

Hell has a lot of stuffed animals. To creep out any DBZ fan more than any one should, the film starts off in a happy world of bright colors with fairies and stuffed animals. At the premiere I thought they were playing a prank on us at first. Turns out the prank was on Frieza trapped in his version of Hell, that seems like a very nice place for non-genocidal, pants wearing people.

Frieza army is in shambles with him gone. The commander in charge, Sorbet, has been leading his forces since Frieza's defeat by Goku. Using the Dragon Balls and alien science Frieza is resurrected in a horrible, horrible manner. He was in pieces when we last left him. Think of any science film where they transport somebody and there insides are there outsides. Great for kids! This element brings back the brutal nature of some of the films like Bio-Broly.

I did not forget the Black Metal song Frieza got for his return that used English. Lines were along the line of, " Frieza is back, he's right over there." Think of it being shouted out to rock in the background. I must download that song later. Frieza reborn, he immediately shows off how evil he is by killing his own men after they question and him and like every rich Japanese villain eventually slight covers his mouth when he laughs.

Frieza sets out to train, something he's never done. He's ability so far has all been natural. That's a chilling thought about Frieza.

We then revisit some of our old friends, not all of them. Goku and Vegeta are off training with Whis to get even stronger. Krillin is a cop. Pan has been born and Piccolo is Uncle Piccolo. Oh, and then Bulma is visited by Jaco, Galactic Patrolman. Wha-what?

Jaco, Galactic Patrolman could have had his own movie. If you don't know this knew DBZ hero, you might not have read the recently released prequel to Dragon Ball. For fans of the prequel series, it was a nice surprise. Jaco is a stereotype of Japanese sentai heroes with his moves and skills. An alien hero, he's a sworn proctector of the universe. Y'know a space cop. With amazing skills and super strength he fights evil throughout the universe. For those who know what it means, DBZ sort of has it's own Kamen Rider now.

This space cop does lack the heart of a true hero. He's realistic about fighting Frieza and is a bit of a coward against some of the top villains. Instead of trying to fend off Frieza himself he merely warns Bulma.

Then Frieza shows up. A crew of Tien, Krillin (his wife tell him she's a better fighter than him, but he goes anyway), nerdy looking Gohan, Piccolo, Jaco and Master Roshi? Master Roshi fights? Yup, the Turtle Hermit is immortal or so he says. Master Roshi comes back to blow Kamehamahas in the face of alien bad guys. Frieza didn't come alone, he brought an army of a thousand of his men to destroy the Earth and get his revenge on Goku for defeating him.

The battles that take place show off the DBZ fighters old moves and give Jaco many moments to shine. Shine and pose. Other than Jaco though... those moves were the same. No new techniques and no great fight choreography. On top of that, Gohan states he could defeat the army on his own. It's all a waiting game for Goku.

Goku arrives. Like every other time. Goku and Vegeta make it back and now it's own. Goku and Frieza must duke it out. Super Saiyan Super Saiyan God Goku vs. Golden Frieza? We hope that the dub will merely make Goku's new state Super Saiyan Blue, because that's Goku's hair color when he powers up. Forget going to SS3, it's Super Saiyan then Super Saiyan Blue. Frieza chooses his own shine, so he chose gold? He gets to pick the color when he evolves? We're eventually going to get Goku-'s hair changing color in-battle if the films keep going this way.

Now comes a fight that fans were waiting for. I'm still waiting. It's a bit anti-climatic for DBZ. No new moves. You might piss yourself or yell out when Goku goes a new level. You're a fan. Fight choreography, energy attacks, nothing stood out. I remember the Madoka Magica third film pulling off better attacks. That's right, little girls with magical powers pulled off better attacks than DBZ.

Some last minute fight malfunctions might leave you stunned. Vegeta is in the film too. And he's not happy playing second fiddle to Goku. Will his avarice and jealousy get the better of him?

Some parts of the film deserve a do over. As I already wrote, someone else should have handled all the fights, they were just repeats of old battles, now in HD. Something needs to stand out for Dragon Ball to make it reclaim it's title for top fights.

For the DBZ fan, of course see the film. It's out this Summer dubbed and in theaters. It might even get some 3D showings. For the anime fan writing a list of top fights forget this film. It has moments for long time fans. For newcomers though, catch Kai.
Just make Jaco, Galactic Patrolman next time Toei.