GUYVER (1991) Reviews and overview of superhero comedy

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Guyver is a 1991 sci-fi comedy film about a young man who discovers a mechanical alien device that turns him into a cyborg superhero. When strange creatures start appearing, trying to take the device back, he begins to uncover a secret plot to genetically engineer terrifying monsters. Aka The Guyver and Mutronics

A sequel, Guyver: Dark Hero, followed in 1994.

Co-directed by Screaming Mad George [Joji Tani] and Steve Wang from a screenplay written by Jon Purdy, based on the manga Bio Booster Armor Guyver by Yoshiki Takaya. Produced by Brian Yuzna (Beyond Re-Animator; Faust; The Dentist and sequel; Society).

The American-Japanese co-production stars Mark Hamill, Vivian Wu, Jack Armstrong, Jimmie Walker, David Gale, Michael Berryman, Jeffrey Combs and Linnea Quigley.

Plot:

A young man, Sean Barker, discovers an alien artefact called “The Unit” which changes Barker into an alien-hybrid super-soldier called “The Guyver”. Barker learns that a major corporation called “Chronos” is after the Guyver unit and soon discovers that the people behind Chronos are not human after all…

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Reviews:

” …sits somewhere in limbo between a slightly stronger episode of Power Rangers and a weak superhero/body horror mash-up. The film itself isn’t boring as there is always something happening on-screen but when you look at the talent involved it feels so underwhelming compared to the other movies that are listed in the crew’s filmographies, the action being so lifeless and unexciting that there is only the detail in the alien make-up to marvel at.” Ancient Slumber

“While the creature effects are generally terrible, the Guyver looks fantastic on-screen and I love how it seems to breathe and act as its own organism like it does on the anime series […] Much of that doesn’t matter when the movie itself is dumb […] and filled with a slew of awful performances, especially from that of star Jack Armstrong.” Cinema Crazed

” …I see where the comedy works, and I see where it’s crap, and I’m able to appreciate both. I’ve always said the hardest bad films to make fun of are comedies, because they’re not taking themselves that seriously either. That gives this film an added level of interest because it’s not only an icon of early 90s bad sci-fi, but it’s also a comedy, so you know you’re a master of the art if you can tackle it.” Direct to Video Connoisseur

“Despite some good creature effects, the movie crashed and burned and crashed again, weighed down by preposterous acting [and] corny music.” DVD Verdict

“ …surprisingly convincing costumes and effects, inspired casting, and energetic direction, [but] what sinks it is its unfortunate adherence to the time-honored direct-to-video clichés: an unearned paycheck for a onetime A-picture star, and a tendency to fall back on lame humor whenever the going gets slow.” Entertainment Weekly

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The Guyver has – probably unintentionally – a frenzied, overcaffeinated, off-the-wall style with which you never know quite what the movie will do next. There could be a brutal, crazy fight between its extremely well-designed monsters, or one of those monsters could break into a cheesy rap. That unpredictability is in itself a whole lot of fun – at least, if you have the ability to watch it with a sense of humor and a certain amount of irony. This is a true guilty-pleasure movie…” The Movie Sleuth

” …it never really achieves that elevated height of inspired silliness. But it has its moments, if you accept that you just can’t take it seriously […] We don’t get the existential dread of the hero worrying about losing his humanity to the suit — not even after a particularly gruesome moment following his first defeat. But, hey, this is bad movie night gold.” Rivets on the Poster

Cast and characters:

Greg Paik … Doctor Tetsu Segawa
Jimmy Walker … Striker
Peter Spellos … Ramsey
Michael Berryman … Lisker
Spice Williams … Weber
Mark Hamill … Max Reed
Jack Armstrong … Sean Barker / The Guyver
Johnnie Saiko … Craig
Vivian Wu … Mizky Segawa
Deborah Gorman … Ms Jenson
Danny Gibson … Aikido Instructor’s Assistant
Willard E. Pugh … Colonel Castle
David Gale … Fulton Balcus
Ted Smith … Ronnie
Doug Simpson … Quinton
Linnea Quigley … Scream Queen
Michael Deak … Director
Jeffrey Combs … Doctor East
David Wells … Doctor Gordon
Jay Kelley … Lab Scientist

Technical details:

88 minutes

Fan-made teaser [1080p]:

Clip:

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