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Gacchaman (2013)

Set in the near future in Tokyo, Japan. The evil terrorist organization Galactor has declared war on the world. The group possesses more advanced technology than governments and occupies ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Tôri Matsuzaka ...
Ken
...
Ryu
...
Joe
Ayame Gôriki ...
Jun
Tatsuomi Hamada ...
Jinpei
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alexander Clemmens ...
Embassy Employee
...
Naomi
Gorô Kishitani ...
Dr. Nambu
Ken Mitsuishi ...
Dr. Kirkland
...
Iriya
...
Director General Anderson
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Storyline

Set in the near future in Tokyo, Japan. The evil terrorist organization Galactor has declared war on the world. The group possesses more advanced technology than governments and occupies over half of the planet. Dr. Kozaburo Nambu of the International Science Organization gathers together 5 superhero ninja agents, known collectively as Gatchaman, to stop Galactor. Written by Jiilo_Kim

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Action | Sci-Fi

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24 August 2013 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Gatchaman  »

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2.35 : 1
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Remake of Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Japanese superhero film that could have been great.
1 September 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw the international premiere at Montreal's Fantasia festival at the start of August. I only had vague memories of watching some of the anime this is based on, better known to North-American audiences as Battle of the Planets starring G-Force, a 5-person superhero team with a bird theme. I was curious as to how a live-action film would translate. Storywise, we have a mysterious invading force who mostly look like helmeted military/cops from a number of sci-fi/modern video games (think Half-Life 2) sporting almost-invincible forcefields with a few ludicrously-clad leaders. They have taken over half the world. The only ones who can effectively fight them are young people powered by a magical ancient stone (our 5 heroes but others too in the past). Soon enough, an operation with the ominous name of Last Suicide comes to be known and its true nature must be revealed.

The movie started off with an amazing outdoors battle in a big metropolis (Tokyo, I think) involving a giant mechanical wheel and the introduction of our main characters. Although obviously looking computer-generated in parts, it was very cool and exciting, bringing to mind the best American superhero blockbusters. The heroes moved with astounding agility and speed yet remained trackable and fun to watch. This impressed me. The costumes weren't faithful to the cartoon, but I thought they looked mighty fine for the modern age, especially the helmets. In that regard, the costumes of the main villains didn't fare as well looking somewhat ridiculous, especially the helmet of the main antagonist. But perhaps it was that way in the anime, so let's not be too severe. Unfortunately, that outstanding first battle was the highlight of the film.

In the middle part of the film came a lot of exposition and story background mostly showing our heroes in civilian attire. It wasn't uninteresting and I did like most of it. I was hoping for the return of costumed action though. There were some nice twists and even effective dramatic moments, but not all of them (some played out corny or too predictable). Of particular note, a confrontation between 2 of our heroes regarding the fate of a bad guy was quite intense with a surprising end. At that moment, I thought, Wow, this movie is turning out great, it's unexpectedly dark and mature. But I was wrong. One reveal involving a villain might have been predictable, but I didn't expect it to play out that way, so kudos there. Speaking of villains, disregarding the 2 totally-undeveloped costumed underlings, one of the main bad guys was appropriately sly and menacing (the one in civilian clothes), but I was disappointed with the other sporting the ridiculous blue helmet with the "fox" ears. There was something lacking in the performance that didn't help the drama. Some scenes that should have been heart-wrenching seemed a bit forced and fake. Some bad dialogue (was it the translation?) didn't help the drama, even provoking some inappropriate laughter in the audience. This jaded viewer did fear for the lives of our heroes a few times, so any movie that manages to do that deserves a few extra points in my book.

However, things kinda fell apart for the finale at the enemy's base where we were stuck with fights in underlit cramped caves and rooms. Even the main room with the floating platforms was underwhelming. Not helping was the way the action was so quickly cut. It was disappointing and was a poor contrast to the spectacular city action. The final confrontation also felt underwhelming and seemed to drag on. Something really interesting involving the corruption of one of the heroes was going on but it kinda fizzled out. I did like how at one point of that whole sequence, it did feel like a suicide mission. Overall this seemed like a worthy effort to modernize anime icons and bring them to live-action, trying to approach the American superhero movies in terms of action and sophistication, but in the end it kinda felt short. If you have any interest in the subject matter though, it's worth watching, I think, unless you're a true purist. In which case, you would probably feel offended by the liberties taken.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10 (average-good)


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