Thursday 23 December 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie

Sometimes the various traditions that Toei have set out for the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises can seem so set in stone that it feels like there's little room for innovation, but every so often something exciting and different does manage to slip in and become the new norm. One such example is the recent string of teaser films that have been produced - attached to various movie offerings and airing just ahead of the full show release. Mashin Sentai Kiramager was the first series to get one with its Episode ZERO in 2020, with Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger following with Red Battle! All Sentai Rally! this year. However this year also saw Kamen Rider Revice get in on the action with Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie  - a 25 minute mini-movie attached to giant crossover anniversary film Saber + Zenkaiger: Superhero Senki.

Karizaki admires his latest creationVice welcomes you to the movie

When the demon cult Deadmans attack a FENIX research facility, genius scientist George Karizaki proclaims that it's time to fight fire with fire - revealing his latest invention, the Revice Driver. Sometime later, when the Deadmans attack an amusement park Kamen Riders Revi and Vice leap into action, with Revi's demon partner Vice getting a little too excitable in the ensuing chaos.

Though the Deadmans are defeated they soon return, and this time with a new soldier at their disposal. Will the Kamen Riders save the day? And will Vice get the bath he longs for?

The Deadmans attack!Kamen Riders Revi & Vice

Although Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie was released over a month before the series began, calling it a "prequel" of any sort would be rather generous. While the first scene of the film undoubtedly takes place before the beginning of the series, the rest of the action takes place around episodes three and four. Not that there's a whole lot to gauge from that information though, because the movie is very coy about the finer details of Revice's plot - or any real details at all for that matter. But rather than this be from said details not quite being ironed out yet (as it often felt with the new Rider summer movie cameos), it comes from not wanting to overload the audience with information about a series they won't be starting for a few weeks' time. There are allusions to key points in those early episodes (such as Ikki fighting in his brother Daiji's place), but certainly nothing essential to the plot. The fact Ikki Igarashi isn't even named until around ten minutes in should give you an idea of how much it's concerned with the overall plot.

Naming the lead character isn't the only thing the movie is coy about either, as despite their prominence in the story the film is purposely vague about the Deadmans as well. Olteca appears in his monster form, but that's the only real connection there is to the series here. What it does manage to get across instead though is just how the Deadmans work - corrupting people and exploiting their insecurities to bolster their ranks. Visually the film doesn't do enough to set the Deadmans apart from all the other Kamen Rider villains we've seen over the years, but that tidbit of info does at the very least provide a nice little hook to make them seem engaging. As far as the wider Revice cast is concerns Igarashi siblings Daiji and Sakura also make a fleeting appearance, which in the context of the film doesn't amount to much but perhaps hints to the significance of their relationship in the series itself.

Ikki and ViceRevi takes to the air

Instead Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie is all about showing off exactly who Kamen Rider Revice is, and just what can this 50th anniversary Rider and his quirky demon partner do. Like the Zenkaiger movie before it, it's about the gimmicks and the action. A wafer-thin plot is sandwiched between two big action sequences, which succinctly show off the pair's abilities, form changes and gimmicks. The movie setting certainly serves to make these fights seem much bigger than they necessarily would in the series, particularly in the first's transition from outdoor amusement park to indoor water park. It also serves as a great showcase of Revice's unique hover bike, which makes it even more of a shame that it's appeared as little in the show as normal bikes tend to these days. If you're into Kamen Rider largely for the fight sequences then it's a good watch, as the movie very clearly has something to prove in that it needs to make Revice look as enticing as possible. 

What little story the film has outside of the action sees Ikki and Vice play a prank on two unsuspecting landowners (who do later appear in the series) looking to take control of the Igarashi bathhouse, which is not only a prime bit of child-friendly comedy but helps set out the relationship between the two Riders as well. Vice always takes things a bit too far, but Ikki has a mischievous and somewhat hot-blooded streak in him as well. While it isn't strictly needed because all of this can be gauged from the fight sequences anyway, it does work nicely in parallel to those scenes - highlighting the relationship both in and out of costume. It's also the perfect place to show off Vice's penchant for breaking the fourth wall, since the timing of the movie's release allows it to work to full effect.

However above all else at the very least, the film is worth watching just for the end credits sequence. Here we see Ikki and Vice fooling around in the bathhouse still in full costume, and it's just one of those gloriously silly bits of Kamen Rider shenanigans that are always a pleasure to behold. Them pathetically squabbling and throwing rubber ducks at each other followed by Ikki effectively advertising how great his family's bathhouse is tells you just as much about these characters' personalities and relationship as the rest of the film does, so of course quickly becomes the most memorable part of the entire thing. When Bandai unveiled the Revice Figuarts at this year's Tamashii Nations event in a full bathhouse diorama they knew exactly what they were doing, because god knows that's how I want to display them after seeing this.

The Spider DeadmansA victory bath

All in all Kamen Rider Revice the Movie isn't a whole lot to write home about, but it at least does what it was intended to do. It's a proof of concept mini-movie intended to hype audiences up for the forthcoming series, which it does without incorporating any of the wider anniversary elements that Zenkaiger's Red Battle! All Sentai Rally! had. On the one hand its commendable that Revice was left to stand entirely on its own merits, but on the other it makes it a far more forgettable experience. Effectively an extended action sequence with minimal plot interspersed, it's a piece that'll have far more resonance with anyone who saw it in theatres as opposed to all of us watching weeks after the series began.


Oar said...

If anything, this movie made me wish more of the show was about Ikki and Vice particularly. It didn't take the show barely any time before it started introducing more riders and focused on their stuff, never looking back on the whole premise of a main character with an inner demon for a partner...

Alex said...

Yep, I completely agree. I've been enjoying Revice but it's done too much too soon, and that aspect has been especially lost along the way. I feel like the almost antagonistic element to Vice and him wanting to eat Ikki's family had way more in it.

Google Chrome, the web browser said...

I think if I were a child in Japan watching this in a theatre I probably would've gotten a lot more out of it. Like... there are TWO new Riders that we haven't seen before! This is single-handedly the best thing I've ever seen! However, as an adult whose seen Revice for months at this point watching it on a computer screen, it was just kind of like "Oh hey Ikki and Vice, you sure aren't actual written characters yet." Absolutely agree on the end credits though. That was more worth watching than the movie itself.

Anonymous said...

@Alex I've heard a few fans concerned with Revice moving too fast, but I think it's actually because Hanta Kinoshita (head writer) has a lot of plans for the show. He knows (or must know) this is a one year 45-50 episode show. Some fans are also thinking that Revice will come back to Ikki and Vice. notice how Ikki would disappear from family photos time and time again? I'd say it's a sign they will.

So, how worried are you about Revice moving too fast and "running out of" story? Also, I haven't finished all the seasons (especially Heisei Phase 1), but are there any previous cases of that happen in Kamen Rider?

Personally, it's a nice change from Saber moving slow and having lots of filler minutes/ killing time. "To purposely fill broadcast time, characters such as Tassel was introduced, and in-between commercial breaks featured longer eyecatchers." (

Alex said...

I definitely think the concerns of it doing too much too soon are valid. If Kinoshita has it all laid out already then I'll trust in his work for now but this first arc definitely feels like it could have run much longer - especially with how many Riders they've introduced. To think we have four already and we're definitely going to get more, if only because more toys need to be sold.

I don't know if I can necessarily think of any shows that have "run out of story" as much but there's a definite pattern with post-Decade (more specifically Ghost onwards if I think about it) shows becoming very different as they progress. I think a lot of it has to do with villain Riders becoming far more of a staple, so aspects like the monsters quickly get pushed aside or phased out entirely (Ex-Aid and Build immediately spring to mind here).

As much as I don't want it, I'm very much expecting a "Kamen Rider Gifu' situation by the end of the series.

Anonymous said...

Personally I would a Kamen Rider Gifu actually. More specifically, like The Ark or Evolt since I liked how they could control characters and have different forms with them too. Maybe Gifu could do that since (spoiler for episode 16), Gifu didn't actually die in episode 15 and was revealed that they aren't constrained to a specific body.