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Masked Rider: The First (2005)
"Kamen Raidâ: The First" (original title)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 166 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 2 critic

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Cast

Credited cast:
Masaya Kikawada ...
Hongou Takeshi / Masked Rider 1
Hassei Takano ...
Ichi-monji Hayato / Masked Rider 2
Rena Komine ...
Midori-kawa Asuka
Hiroshi Miyauchi ...
Hideyo Amamoto ...
Dr. Shinigami (digital cast) (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Issa Hentona
Hirotarô Honda ...
The Private Secretary
Renji Ishibashi ...
The Member of the House of Representatives
Issa
Itsuji Itao ...
Spider
Tôru Kazama
Toshiyuki Kitami
Ryôko Kobayashi ...
Miyoko Harada
Shirô Namiki
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Storyline

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Action | Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

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Release Date:

5 November 2005 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Masked Rider: The First  »

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1.85 : 1
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Followed by Masked Rider: The Next (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The First What? Nothing to Do With Real Kamen Rider
21 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had heard of this film only after witnessing the true horror that is the more recent series of the Kamen Rider franchise, most infused with far too much pretty-boy angsting by actors who are so poor they couldn't convincingly appear on a soup commercial, coupled with female leads whom we're apparently supposed to consider ingratiatingly cute but who, in fact, are at least as incompetent as their male counterparts in terms of acting. While the traditional Kamen Rider series may not have been masterpieces themselves, many of them at least managed to convey the darkly fascinating world in which the Kamen Rider series is rooted, and to boot they had excellent and exciting fights. Not so in this film, which purports to be an homage to the original Kamen Rider series. In fact, that claim couldn't be farther from the truth.

As with many of the more recent Kamen Rider series, this film is one that falls flat on its face for the attempt to inject 'adult drama' into essentially a children's series. And as always, with 'adult drama', the 'drama' in question consists of rather puerile acts and activities, childish participants, and seemingly arbitrary angst that prevents more or less all of the characters involved from being anything approaching sympathetic or interesting. Any real character development is eschewed in favor of attempts at artsy shots and sequences (which the director never once manages to pull off successfully), contrived plot devices that have no basis in the original material this claims to pull from, or totally superfluous scenes that make this seem much longer than its 1.5 hour running time. And in that seemingly interminable time, not one plot point is resolved to any satisfactory conclusion. In my mind, that spells utter failure, and I find it unlikely that this little terror will be sequelized.

As with other films of this director, who seems only able to disgrace old and well-respected series with his unimaginative plodding, the focus on the human angst in favor of things actually happening brings down the film considerably. When we do get the marked relief of someone actually fighting, it's over too quickly and usually comes off as boring and too CGed-up to be anything but gaudy and confusing. Further, as usual with this director, unwelcome changes are made to the already perfectly adequate source material and then hastily discarded partially through because, quite frankly, they don't work; perhaps he saw this and decided they should be done away with, but if so he shouldn't have included them in the first place. As usual, a shoddy job.

The actors fit into the aforementioned mold of being physically attractive but not much else. Further, every time they're actually required to do anything physically demanding, it's patent that they have no idea what they're doing. They are entirely unconvincing doing anything that doesn't involve sitting around whining, which they don't even manage to do that well; the acting talent gulf in this is obvious when veteran actors, terribly underused and misused for this travesty of film, outshine the entire rest of the cast simply by appearing for a few minutes in a throwaway scene or two. Films like this shouldn't go to the trouble of getting older and respected actors involved with the franchise in question, because they're only potent reminders of superior works. If they believe that it will bring in fans of the original series, they can think again. And while I have nothing against feminine-acting men, I do wish the director had given a bit more direction to some of the main actors who were supposedly very close to some of the generic females that paraded across the screen; they seemed much more interested in each other. While that's not a bad thing in my opinion, we shouldn't then be expected to believe they have any relationship at all with these girls.

Movement and so forth also managed to be amazingly awkward, with one scene sticking out where a girl faints in a way so unlikely that it made me laugh. Certainly not the intended tone for that scene, but it unfortunately wasn't the first or only incident of people moving or acting in ways that were incongruously unlikely and implausible. How exactly can people do this? It's through bad direction, and that makes the horrid director's taint on this even more laughably obvious.

Honestly, I can only hope this talentless hack is barred from sullying the name of any other old and respected series. Kamen Rider has been slighted enough by the recent series purporting to be faithful to the original source material. They're hardly little more than asinine soap operas with some flashy costumes and the occasional fight. If you're going to claim that your film is a return to the original Kamen Riders' era and tone, at least try to capture it. If this incompetent horror had decided to do his own original Kamen Rider film, it still would've been terrible, but not quite as insulting as claiming he was trying to redo the original series. Anyone who wants a real idea of what the original Kamen Rider series were like should seek out those series and not this pathetic excuse for film-making.


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