Dragonball: Evolution

Wow, what a dud. Badly-acted, inanely-scripted, edited into oblivion and heavily reliant on special effects that wouldn’t pass muster in the kind of 2nd tier Hong Kong (or Bollywood, for that matter) cash-in in otherwise best resembles; this would be a shoo-in for a lot of year-end “worst” lists save for the fact that no one but hardcore “Dragonball” fans will take much notice of it now OR remember it a week from now. It’s not just a bad movie – it’s a dull, lifeless one.

Let’s be clear, though: There’s ABSOLUTELY no reason for anyone to see this unless they’re already a devotee of Akira Toriyama’s seminal manga/anime franchise… and even then it can only possibly be of interest as a curiousity item for fans who feel like watching the unwieldy result of trying to rework Toriyama’s offbeat scifi-fantasy spoof of Chinese mythology and martial-arts manga into the framework of an American superhero movie – primarily “Spider-Man.”

The original “Dragonball” applied a gonzo sheen to the ancient Classical Chinese novel “Journey to the West.” Taking place in a vaugely futuristic world of magic, monsters and kung-fu; it followed the friends and associates of gadget-girl Bulma and Goku – a hyperactive feral child with superhuman fighting skills, mysterious powers and a dubious origin – on their quest to collect seven lost “Dragonballs” with which one can summon a dragon and make a wish. The new film keeps that basic outline but moves the premise to a world dissapointingly closer to our own, reimagines Goku as a power-concealing undercover nerd in High School a’la Peter Parker and bumps eventual-baddie Piccolo to the forefront early on.

The “international” cast does what it can in what amounts to another fundamentally-empty Fox cheapie hoping to cash-in on a name brand. James Marsters comes off the best under heavy makeup as Piccolo, while Chow Yun Fat (seriously?) looks like he’s having fun as lecherous martial arts teacher Master Roshi and Emmy Rossum deftly approximates anime sex-appeal in a ridiculous hairdo. Justin Chatwin as Goku is very nearly the least interesting male lead since Robert Pattinson in “Twilight.”

Skip it.

5 thoughts on “Dragonball: Evolution

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well damn. I was expecting at least a “meh”. When I saw Matrix III’s final fight scene with the flying and overpowered fist fight with the shockwaves in the rain, I immediately thought “cool, they should use that in a Dragonball Z movie”.

    Still, I may just rent it through Zip, then skip through the stupid bits to where Marsters and Chow Yun Fat are having fun with their roles.


  2. CaptainFreetime says:

    Even the Dragonball fans hated this movie. Hell, ESPECIALLY the Dragonball fans. 99.9% wrote it off the second they saw the trailer.


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