Dragonball Evolution

By Clint Morris

Films based on Japanese anime are a bit like second-hand board games – mostly in one piece, but it’s aggravating when you discover just how many bits aren’t there. And like the recent “Speed Racer”, the feature film adaptation of “Dragonball Z”, imprudently titled “Dragonball Evolution”, is like Mousetrap without the Mouse – gimmicky, colourful and pretty to look at, but not much fun.

An early contender for worst film of the year, director James Wong’s (‘’Final Destination’’, TVs ‘’The X-Files’’) film really only succeeds in one thing – giving its lead actor a great haircut (yes, they’ve mastered the Goko haircut from the cartoons – with the spikes). But even a creative moptop won’t keep the most easily pleased of viewers entertained for an hour-and-a-half.

Flat from go to whoa, the thinly-written, comatose bore tells the story (if you can call it that; wouldn’t surprise me if the script consisted of four dot points) of a young messy-haired teenager named Goko – yeah, a white kid named Goko – played by Justin Chatwin (“War of the Worlds”), whose in search of seven mystical Dragon Balls (not in a literal sense – that might have been a more interesting movie). Of course, the evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) is also after the magical balls but with the help of new trainer Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat), Goku’s gonna be ready to fight for ‘em.

This is just artery robbery. With kids having to shell up to $15 to see the thing, the filmmakers should be ashamed of themselves. Video-game flicks like “Mortal Kombat” and “Max Payne” may only ‘just’ past muster, but this doesn’t even attempt to pass itself off as entertainment. If anything, it’s an elongated commercial for a new toy line. There’s nothing in it at all.

Chow Yun-Fat, no doubt there for the fat cheque and that’s it, looks as bored as batshit; ‘’Phantom of the Opera’’ cutie Emmy Rossum seems to spend her time telekinetically letting her manager know this isn’t the film she signed on for, and former ‘’Buffy’’ favourite James ‘Spike’ Marsters, becoming somewhat typecast as a fiend from elsewhere, looks plain bored (not to mention uncomfortable in that wacky make-up; seems there was some paper mache masks left at the end of 1987’s “Masters of the Universe”). In fact, the only chap seemingly enjoying himself is Justin Chatwin, as Goko – but then, considering his last flick was “Superbabies : Baby Geniuses 2”, he’s probably not at a stage where he can tell a good film from a bad film. …

…. Unfortunately for Twentieth Century Fox, we, the punters, are.

Don’t dare unleash your peepers on “Dragonball” – it’ll give you conjunctivitis.