Guyver: Dark Hero (1994)

Sean Barker is bonded to the alien bio-mechanical Guyver suit, that when activated transforms him into a superhero. After defeating the evil alien Zoanoids in the first movie, he now lives a secluded life. He learns about an archaeological dig where mystical symbols were discovered that are strangely familiar to him. Sean travels to the site, and before long he needs his Guyver powers to face otherworldly evil again.

Guyver: Dark Hero is the sequel to The Guyver, and both movies are based on the popular Japanese Manga Bio-Booster Armor Guyver. The first part was not overly spectacular, and had plenty of boring moments. You can easily watch the second part on its own, unless you really want to get into the backstory. In that case, I’d still recommend to read the Wikipedia article on the first movie, and skip watching it.

So thankfully Guyver: Dark Hero goes against the trend that any sequel to a B-movie is worse than it’s predecessor. Budget-wise it looks like a low-cost effort, but the money was spent very well as far as I can tell. The plot is basic, as is the quality of the acting and the dialogues, but it’s not so bad as that it will make you fast forward to the action scenes. The action department is where the movie really shines, and it also features a couple of charming old-school special effects. The movie is fairly light-hearted, and has the vibe and simplicity of a kids movie. That being said, it is not a kids movie at all, as there’s a good bunch of blood and gore in it.

The action is almost all hand-to-hand martial arts combat, and the fights are reminiscent of the comic-book style of the Power Ranger series. This is no coincidence as the fight sequences were choreographed by Koichi Sakamoto, who worked as stunt coordinator for many Power Rangers episodes and movies. The colorful costumes of the Guyver and his alien antagonists look pretty good, and the fights pack a lot of punch. All the fights feature people wearing goofy latex costumes kicking and punching each other, so you will need to have a favorable attitude towards this kind of action to really enjoy it. But in any case it’s all a lot more entertaining than your average Power Rangers episode. The martial arts sequences are filmed very well with a dynamic camera and good editing. This is really the thing that makes the movie unique and ultimately worth watching, as high-quality martial arts action was actually a bit of a rarity in US movies from the 1990s or earlier.

Guyver: Dark Hero is a fun comic-book style movie that features excellent martial arts sequences. It’s too bad that the movie series was discontinued after this one, but at least director Steve Wang would step up his game even further, and direct the incredible martial-arts action-comedy Drive afterwards.

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