Review of Gunhed (1989)

Moving picture, 100 minutes

Seen in 2016.

I saw the contemporary English dub.

In 2038, scavengers are caught up in an unfinished military operation against an evil AI from 2005 on the island of 8jo.

Mecha action born out of a Godzilla (1954) franchise script. The titular, self-aware mecha was poorly designed by Kawajiri Yoshiaki.

Weakly written, directed, acted and dubbed, with a general shortage of establishing shots and expository dialogue on the cheaply weathered industrial sets. Clearly the intention was only to deliver on the low-budget special effects while imitating The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986). Some of the effects are indeed pleasant, but not even the Gunhed model really gets moving, not being sufficiently articulated or motorized: animation is the superior medium. The nerdy tokusatsu atmosphere is strong enough to have made William Gibson refer obliquely to this movie in Virtual Light (1993).

moving picture Japanese production mecha fiction cyberpunk