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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 02.03.08] post apocalyptic

Year: 1989
Director: Masato Harada
Writer: Jim Bannon
IMDB: link
Amazon: link
Review by: Christopher Webster
Rating: 8 out of 10

Remember that first scene in Terminator? You know, the one where a futuristic tank tread rumbles past frame crushing what look to be thousands of human skulls littering a dystopic war torn future world. Remember the shivers you got when the camera pulled back and you were launched full throttle into the throws of a rebellion in action where the very human race was being cut down by flying mechanoid HK-killbots? Actually scratch that. Remember The Matrix Revolutions, when hundreds of rebels, suited up in com-bot outfits, took on what seemed like ten million squid like sentinels? Well, welcome to the mech-gone-wrong world of Gunhed, a film that doesn't just show you a glimpse of these awe inspiring images of the future only to pull you away, but one that lets you indulge in all of your more elaborate techno-porn fantasies.

A Toho production out of Japan, Gunhed grew from a Jim Bannon script that was submitted to a Godzilla contest. Though he lost, Bannon's screenplay, which pitted Godzilla against a super computer, stole the hearts of Toho execs who later turned it into the giant robot classic it is today. But what the heck is Gunhed about? Well, that's a very good question.

Besides the initial set-up (which is complete cyberpunk genius btw), much of Gunhed's simple plot is quite confused and you're never quite sure what the film's protagonists are after, why they are after it, or indeed how close they are to getting it.

However, because all this confusion unfolds in, what I call an Akira way; where everything in the film looks so amazingly awesome that you really don't give a rats ass what is happening or why, the film never really suffers too much from it. It just barrels along at break neck speed, showing off spectacle after spectacle until all robot hell breaks loose and then it's over.

How best to describe... There are shades of Cameron's Aliens for sure though imagine the pirate crew of The Betty in Resurrection running amok in the future world of the Terminator in that assassin bug robot from the end of Ghost in the Shell and you'll start to get a better sense of what you're in for. Is it post-apocalyptic? Hells yeah!

Is it Cyberpunk? Without a doubt. Is it cool as all fudge Asian Cinema? Definitely, without a doubt, hells yeah!

Recommended Release: GUNHED

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