Armicron (2000)

(aka, Outlaw Power, Armicron in Outlaw Power)

I think the main effect of watching this Power Rangers-style direct to video movie is that I now really, really, really want to see the original 1995 Korean film they stole the effects from.

I mean, wow, they look remarkably good.  Better, for the most part, than the effects Toho was putting into their Godzilla films back in 1995.

Mind you, I do have another reason for wanting to see the original, Power King:  I’ve also seen Tyranno’s Claw, which was also directed by Hyung-rae Shim.  It’s a surprisingly good parody of One Million Years B.C., which I enjoyed enormously (or should I say, gigantically, or perhaps prehistorically?).  Hyung-rae Shim had a very successful career as a film comic and director, and clearly loved making Tokusatsu comedies.  After all, he directed a lot of them.  Sadly, I don’t think any of his films are available here in the West other than his relatively straightforward monster movies. Dragon Wars and the Millennium version of Yonggary [Reptilian].

But, yeah, I’ve wanted to see Power King for quite a while, along with several of his other films.

But seeing what it looks like — even if badly distorted through the lens of a terrible hack editing job meant to turn it into an American film — just makes me want to see it even more.

Unfortunately, Power King hit the market at just the wrong moment, at a time when The Power Rangers were a huge hit.  So someone took the Korean film, yanked out all the fights and special effects sequences, then built an all-new story around that footage, featuring an all-new American cast.

Just as Saban was doing to all those Super Sentai series.

So we have a hunky muscular guy pretending to be a bespectacled nerd (played by Mike Bunata, who was the Blue Ranger in the third season of The Power Rangers), who looks at least a decade too old to be a high school kid.  He goes on a weekend camping trip with a bunch of jerks who just want to use his van.

Unfortunately, they picked the weekend on which the alien overlord decided to take over Earth.

But, the two daughters (one very asian looking, and the other blonde and very Western.  Genetics, you know) of the ruler of the last planet the overlord conquered (who, yes, looks very asian as well) have escaped.  And, when they give our nerdy hero their two necklaces, he turns into…

Power King!…

Ummm, I mean:


Which leads to one beautifully shot fight scene or large scale battle after another, complete with an endless stream of fighter jet stock footage which was slapped in along with everything else.

Perhaps the jets in the original all had Korean markings.

It all looks like someone took a pretty terrible, Revenge of the Nerds type comedy and stuck it into a much better film.

Wait a minute, that’s exactly what happened.

And it should come as no surprise that, according to IMDB, in the original, the Ruler has one (count them, one) daughter, and she has a blonde servant.

Oh, and there’s only one necklace.

But whoever butchered this thing didn’t completely hide the best moments in Power King: the fights are spectacular, and there’s a fairly good speeder bike chase at the beginning — although the scene in which the alien army marches into battle accompanied by a flight of speeder bikes, which are clearly practical bikes on set, right over the heads of the actors playing the alien soldiers.  I’m sure it’s a simple little trick, with the supports of the flying bikes just out of shot, or the wires hidden, but it still looks so real, far more real than your typical digitally composited CGI flying bike looks, even in the most expensive films made today.

Armicron is a seriously stupid movie (although in a moderately good sort of way) but, once it reaches the second half, very little of the film is new and it suddenly gets much better.

Although, yes, there is a seriously dumb ending, where the hero is no longer a nerd and the girls…

Well, I’ll let you find that out for yourself.

Oh, well.  It’s a shame.  It looks like Power King was a fun, lighthearted, Tokusatsu film, with a nicely goofy sort of plot and lots of great effects.  I’ll admit I have a hard time picturing Hyung-rae Shim’s pudgy and childlike Young Gu character as the Korean version of Ultraman…well, maybe Kamen Rider because he never actually gets big…although he doesn’t have a motorcycle…

Well, you get the idea.  Like The Power Rangers.

Only one of them.

…But he’s quite good as a prehistoric version of that character in Tyranno’s Claw, so you never know.

All I can be certain of is that Armicron is really bad, and I really, really, really want to see Power King.

Which, yes, is where we came in…

(Complete film available from the Internet Archive)

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