Monday 29 October 2012

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider x Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen

It finally happened. After 40 years of Kamen Rider and 35 years of Super Sentai, with only a few fleeting crossovers in between, the two franchises have collided for one big movie event.  The film was released cinematically back in April, and heavily promoted between the two currently airing shows Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters and Kamen Rider Fourze. It also saw the return of the casts of both Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and Kamen Rider Decade, two series which shared very similar motifs.

The film sees Captain Marvelous/Gokai Red taking control of the DaiZangyack fleet, a crew made up of previous villains in the Super Sentai franchise. In order to seek out the ultimate treasure, Gokai Red has proclaimed war on the Kamen Riders and vowed to eliminate them all. On the other side, Tsukasa Kadoya/Kamen Rider Decade has once again taken his place at the head of DaiShocker, and in turn plans to destroy all of the Super Sentai. As the legendary seven Riders, the Gorangers and many more fall at the hands of both Gokai Red and Decade, the two's former friends wonder what has happened to the heroes they once knew and why the Super Sentai and Kamen Riders have suddenly turned on each other.

Marvelous is back as the leader of the Zangyack...

Of course, in true crossover style the hostilities don't last very long and the climax of the film sees an army of Super Sentai and Kamen Riders take on the enemies of their previous franchises in an all-out costume clad battle.

As is Tsukasa with DaiShocker, looking even sillier than ever.

So with all the hype surrounding Super Hero Taisen, the question that has been on the tongues of many for a good while is whether the film is any good? And at last the answer can safely be said that "no, it really isn't." The opening scene sees Gokai Red single-handedly take out the seven legendary riders (that's Riders 1, 2, V3, Riderman, X, Amazon and Stronger) in under two minutes, which already gives you an idea of how unbalanced some of these battles are. What follows is Gokai Red struggling against Fourze, and then Decade struggling against the Go-Busters. While the Gokaigers (well, Marvelous, Joe and Don anyway) and Decade (along with Kaito and Hina from OOO who decided to tag along) are at the forefront of the film, it often doesn't really know what it should be advertising itself as. Sometimes its a Gokaiger/Decade movie, others it feels like a Fourze/Go-Busters movie, and then an extremely pointless scene involving the Den Liner is thrown in just to remind you that Kamen Rider Den-O is still around.

The source of most of this film's angst

Next comes just how out of character some of the cast are in comparison to their depictions in their respective series, and that's ignoring Gokai Red's sudden turn to evil (Decade has done it before, so that's a little more bearable). The worst offender is Joe Gibken/Gokai Blue, who's gone from being the mostly calm/collected pirate he was into an emotional mess who would have been useless had Don or Hina not be around. The comes Diend's sudden turn to villainy at the very end of the film, which would be fine had he done it for his usual reasons of "treasure" and not "Decade pretended not to be friends with me so I'm going to throw a hissy fit".

Oh, and we still have no idea who or what the hell Narutaki is.

So many colours!

But getting past the obvious plot holes and the fact that a large portion of the film is flat out boring, the are some pretty good moments. The battles between Gokai Red and Kamen Rider Decade have some nice choreography, and are well thought out too (Space Ace vs. Blade Battle Japan vs. Hibiki changes). Then later on, the all rider/all sentai battles have some great moments, with characters like Kamen Rider Black and Shadow Moon receiving little character moments in the dialogue and riders and sentai teaming up corresponding to their respective years. The Gokaigers finally use the long teased OOO keys...and then use them to fire a Gokai Galleon buster. On the humour side of things, we have Yoko calling the Shocker grunts dated and Tsukasa calling the Goseigers boring.


The big CGI centrepiece of the film sees Go-BusterOh face off against the DaiShocker/Zangyack alliance's "Big Machine" (a combination of the Gigant Horse and the Crisis Fortress), with Fourze piloting in the place of Yellow Buster and using the Super Drill and Rocket switches. It works well as a flashy action sequence, and breathes life into the usually lacklustre Go-BusterOh.

Go-BusterOh: Now with added rocket drills

What you'll get out of Super Hero Taisen is honestly going to depend on what you go into watching it looking for. If you're expecting a coherent plot, people to actually stay in character and a reasonable premise and resolution, you're going to be sorely disappointed. If however you go in looking forward to a bit of fun, great fight sequences, cameos, hilarious Tsukasa hair/make-up and the chance to finally see your favourites from both franchises on screen together then the film might not feel like a complete waste of 90 minutes.

Admittedly it isn't the worst crossover film we could have got, but its far from the best either.

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