Dragonball: Evolution (2009)

DBevolutionWell, here’s the odd news. Director James Wong and Twentieth Century Fox seem to rely heavily on mimicking the “Spider-Man” movies by turning our hero Goku in to a new age Peter Parker who has immense power and responsibility with every reason not to use them on his foes; pair that with a Luke Skywalker death scene and you have a mélange of influences with no bond that keeps the film from falling apart from the seams. That is until the day comes when a force of evil conveniently gives his training a purpose. Had “Dragon Ball” been adorned with a different name and a completely different set of characters, it wouldn’t actually be so bad, but when you make the inevitable comparison to the anime, the flaws are quite obvious and ridiculous.

I’m not one of those Dragon Ball fans, don’t get me wrong. I mean whole time I spent with my cousin he forced me to sit through what can only be described as a grueling, overrated and awfully repetitive series “Dragonball” has all the wrong ideas. About ninety percent of the core characters are gone, the monkey elements are nowhere to be found, Justin Chatwin is cringe inducing as son Goku spouting every single line with a stilted force as if he’s going through the motions for that sweet paycheck. Worst of all, Chow Yun Fat basically slums it once again in an American film that has no idea what to do with him and his skills as an actor.

One of the primary changes though is the use or lack thereof of the graphic violence that helped to sky rocket Dragonball to fame and provide such a loyal fan base. Here all violence is reduced to battles off screen, all avoidance of real martial arts showdowns, and the plan to keep all enemies as mindless monsters with no blood to shed no matter how hard the fists fly. One of the main fouls that have kept me spitting bile is that my favorite character from the series is turned in to a stock villain who looks like he may as well have walked out of an episode of “Power Rangers.”

Piccolo is an interesting character turned in to a bad guy who is evil for the sake of being evil and with Marsters being barely recognizable, the villain is done no justice whatsoever and it’s disheartening. As far as 2009 flops will go, “Dragonball Evolution” could have been much worse to sit through. It will please the kids as candy coated pabulum, but as for the fans of the franchises, you’d be better off with the anime series, so quit your whining. And one last thought: Would it have been so hard to cast an Asian as Goku considering 98 percent of the cast is Asian? Just saying, folks.