Guyver: Dark Hero is based on the Japanese comic (or manga if you want to get technical) Guyver. The comic streches back to the ’80s, and I believe it’s still going on to this day. Though a largely unknown series, it’s been a fairly influential one.
The story is about a corporation named Chronos, which has developed a way to mutate humans into monsters called Zoanoids. The main character, Sho Fukamachi (or Sean Barker in the American movies) is a young man who discovers one of three Guyver units, an alien technology which operates as a sort of armor that grants him a wide array of powers.
As this is the second film, it picks up from where Sean has already discovered the Guyver unit and destroyed the Los Angeles branch of Chronos. Sean is trying to learn more about the Guyver, and it leads him to an archaeology site that has discovered an alien spacecraft, where he encounters Chronos again.
The actor portraying Sean is different in this movie, with a far more serious tone, not to mention being a lot better. This is in part because it’s Solid Snake, or rather David Hayter, known for providing the iconic voice for the character in western releases of the games.
The director of the movie was one of the co-directors of the first, Steve Wang. He’s perhaps most well-known for his amazing work as a makeup artist. Just stop reading this right now and check out some of his work. RIGHT NOW. He really shows off his incredible talent in this film, with an impressive display of creatures. It’s amazing how great these pre-CGI creations look, especially considering since this was a low-budget, direct to video movie.
The action is incredible, coming off like a mix between a martial arts film and a superhero movie. There are lots of well-choreographed fights with plenty of wires, monsters, and Japanese superheroes.
The previous film was at times goofy. For example, one of the characters was basically JJ Evans from Good Times as a monster. The result is an evil Jar Jar Binks. And yes, he says THAT line. He also raps, because it was the early ’90s, and white people were just finding out about that thing. The sequel, however, is far closer to the original comics. It’s dark and brooding, with little in the way of comic relief, and no goofy slapstick fights.
Unlike the original, Guyver: Dark Hero has a cult following to this day. Will we ever see a sequel? David Hayter, who’s written screenplays for movies like X-Men and Watchmen, proposed an outline for a third film to Steve Wang. However, the rights for the franchise are currently held by the original owners in Japan, whoever that is. Here’s hoping something comes along to make a sequel a reality, if only so we can see a movie that doesn’t rely on CGI monsters once again.