Okay, I’ll admit it.
I love Giant Robots.
Particularly the monster-sized, city-destroying variety, complete with missiles, laser beams, giant power swords and lots of working parts.
So I will admit to a certain weakness for this one. After all, we have not one, but two Monster Robots, which aren’t only enormously detailed, but which actually look mostly plausible.
Even if we all know that such massive machines really aren’t physically possible.
BraveStorm is more or less a remake or reboot or re-envisioning of two tokusatsu series, Silver Rider and Red Baron.
Not, from all accounts, that it has much in common with the originals.
This is the first feature film from Junya Okabe who has a rather culty reputation for his rather black revisionist tokusatsu series, Dark Soldier D. Since BraveStorm, he has also made an impressive “fan film” ZVP which combines the classic Zatoichi Chanbara films with an equally legendary SF franchise.
In 2050, mankind is nearly extinct. An alien race has devastated the planet and a family who are among the last humans in existence have stolen the secrets of the alien robot, Black Baron. They then send it and most of the family back through a time portal to the present.
Where, naturally, they build there own super robot, Red Baron.
Now, the main reason for watching a Giant Robot movie is the Giant Robots. We expect to see them fight and trash whole cities in the process. BraveStorm certainly gives you that. Even if it does wait until the very end before the robots of war are let loose.
We also get a lot of bionic super suit action, some icky aliens, and lot of plot (and I do mean a lot!)
Which is the real weakness of BraveStorm: it’s all set up.
It takes the entire film to establish the situation and characters, and by the time the film reaches the “let them fight” moment, it is almost over. The “main” story, about the irresponsible young man forced to save the world and his troubled relationship with his brother feels almost tacked on.
Mind you, the robot battle is quite good.
Even if it is way too short.
Did they have a sequel in mind when they made this one? Or was it just that the few minutes of incredible CGI robot carnage were so expensive that they had to find a way to stretch it out into a full-length movie?
This is actually quite a pleasant example of the Giant Robot film, just perfect for all the kids out there — particularly the big ones.
It’s just a bit lopsided.