By Clint Morris
Films based on Japanese anime are a bit like second-hand board games â€“ mostly in one piece, but itâ€™s aggravating when you discover just how many bits arenâ€™t there. And like the recent â€œSpeed Racerâ€, the feature film adaptation of â€œDragonball Zâ€, imprudently titled â€œDragonball Evolutionâ€, is like Mousetrap without the Mouse â€“ gimmicky, colourful and pretty to look at, but not much fun.
An early contender for worst film of the year, director James Wongâ€™s (â€˜â€™Final Destinationâ€™â€™, TVs â€˜â€™The X-Filesâ€™â€™) film really only succeeds in one thing â€“ giving its lead actor a great haircut (yes, theyâ€™ve mastered the Goko haircut from the cartoons â€“ with the spikes). But even a creative moptop wonâ€™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; wouldnâ€™t surprise me if the script consisted of four dot points) of a young messy-haired teenager named Goko â€“ yeah, a white kid named Goko â€“ played by Justin Chatwin (â€œWar of the Worldsâ€), whose in search of seven mystical Dragon Balls (not in a literal sense â€“ 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), Gokuâ€™s gonna be ready to fight for â€˜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 â€œMortal Kombatâ€ and â€œMax Payneâ€ may only â€˜justâ€™ past muster, but this doesnâ€™t even attempt to pass itself off as entertainment. If anything, itâ€™s an elongated commercial for a new toy line. Thereâ€™s nothing in it at all.
Chow Yun-Fat, no doubt there for the fat cheque and thatâ€™s it, looks as bored as batshit; â€˜â€™Phantom of the Operaâ€™â€™ cutie Emmy Rossum seems to spend her time telekinetically letting her manager know this isnâ€™t the film she signed on for, and former â€˜â€™Buffyâ€™â€™ favourite James â€˜Spikeâ€™ 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 1987â€™s â€œMasters of the Universeâ€). In fact, the only chap seemingly enjoying himself is Justin Chatwin, as Goko – but then, considering his last flick was â€œSuperbabies : Baby Geniuses 2â€, heâ€™s probably not at a stage where he can tell a good film from a bad film. â€¦
â€¦. Unfortunately for Twentieth Century Fox, we, the punters, are.
Donâ€™t dare unleash your peepers on â€œDragonballâ€ â€“ itâ€™ll give you conjunctivitis.