Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dammit, I can't find my driving moccasins anywhere!

G-Savior was an anniversary movie of some sort for Japan's monolithic Gundam franchise, which stemmed from the original Mobile Suit Gundam television series that was a bastardisation of elements from the original Starship Troopers novel and visual aspects of the first Star Wars movie filtered through the sanctimonious anti-war fixation of Japan's anime industry, an industry founded on creating interesting and exciting ways to animate things exploding, though nowadays seemingly surviving by creating new ways to animate the knickers of underage schoolgirls.
The original Mobile Suit Gundam begat several sequel series and movies as well as remakes set in alternate continuities, but this Canadian-made straight-to-dvd flick is set - for some reason - in the original MSG's Universal Century timeline despite having nothing to do with it beyond some vaguely familiar-looking Gundam/Gouf designs on the giant suits - yes, I know the names of the robot designs from a cartoon I watched ten years ago. I am not proud that I know the serial number of the original Gundam was RX78 without having to Google it, but it does illustrate that I'm a fan of Gundam as much as I am crappy sci-fi, and even though I am by all accounts the primary audience for this film, there's no getting away from the fact that it's blimmin' terrible, being more about the bland hero sneaking about for some reason - he might have been on the run, he might have been investigating something, I do not recall - than it is about giant smashy robots, of which there is merely one space fight right at the end realised with FX that would let down an episode of Babylon 5. There was a rich mythology to draw upon to make this kind of film and I wonder why they didn't do so. Terrible film, now disowned by the makers and the owners of Gundam to the point I think the dvd I have may be some kind of collectable rarity for hardcore Gundam nerds, a notion not discouraged by the fact you can watch the whole thing on Youtube and the makers could not care less.

Robot Wars is kind of a let down for me, seeing as I've waited more or less fifteen years to see it, having first glimpsed a trailer back in the late 1990s when my film viewing was dictated by whateverr I came across in the 50p rental section of my local video store(1), which was fine by me, as before me, alcohol and vaginas started spending more evenings together, I was happy enough to be entertained with the filmic oeuvre of Michael Dudikoff, Billy Blanks, Jean Claude Van Damme, Olivier Gruner, Matthias Hues - these were name draws for me, actual honest-to-god reasons for me to pay (admittedly not very much) money to watch a man with oiled abdominal muscles kick another oiled man in the head for 90 minutes, and it was likely before some magnificent opus like Talons of the Eagle or King of the Kickboxers that I first saw that juddery stop-motion giant robot scorpion and it looked like the greatest damn thing ever. Fast forward a lot of alcohol and considerably less vaginas later and I did finally get to watch it, and it is not good.
I think its main problem is the total prick main character, who was one of those anti-hero types beloved of the era but which were rarely realised particularly memorably or well, who sits in his control room of his bus (which is a giant robot scorpion with death-ray lasers - I'll admit that this is pretty cool) being an asshole and smoking cigarettes, and there's some feisty reporter types and a plot about a fake town, but it's all preamble that stops us getting to the robot fights right at the end anytime soon, even though the film's only about 71 minutes long. I didn't enjoy it much, and I think by knowing through repeated exposure how to spell the name Mattias Hues correctly that I have established my bar is pretty low.

(1) a note to anyone under fifteen years old: a video store was something that used to exist. Its primary function was the rental of what would seem to you to be large, rectangular MP3s.

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