Based on one of the most popular Japanese manga series of all
time, Dragonball: Evolution follows a young warrior on an epic
adventure to discover his destiny...and save the world from
the forces of darkness. For his eighteenth birthday, mild-mannered
Goku is given a mystical Dragonball, one of only seven in existence,
which combine to grant a perfect wish to whoever possesses them.
But an ancient warlord named Piccolo has escaped eternal imprisonment
and is on his own quest to gather the Dragonballs. Goku must
enlist the help of his friends—and the power of his evolving
martial arts skills—to defeat Piccolo before it’s
After two decades, three anime series and
48 volumes of serialized comics, all we have is an offending,
measly 86 minutes movie adaptation of Dragonball.
This instant mee treatment of the beloved
Akira Toriyama’s manga takes the main protagonists out
of the original story and turns it into a typical good versus
evil martial-arts flick forsaking the epic-feel and essence
of Toriyama’s creations.
The movie involves a college boy Goku or
more commonly known to us as Wu Kong (played by Justin Chatwin
from War of the Worlds) who teamed up with a gun-toting girl,
Bulma (Emmy Rossum from Phantom of the Opera) to search for
the legendary dragonballs after his grandpa is mysteriously
killed. It is believed that with the dragonballs combined,
they are able to summon a magical dragon to grant anyone a
wish. Goku and Bulma must accomplish this before the evil
Piccolo does or the earth will be ruled by him.
Along the way, Goku and Bulma encountered
various colourful characters including Goku’s love interest
and future wife (that is according to the manga) Chi-Chi (Jamie
Chung), a lecherous Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fatt) and a desert
bandit, Yamcha (Joon Park).
The script by James Wong and Ben Ramsey offers
nothing spectacular and bland to the point that reading the
black-and-white manga heralds more enjoyment. There is the
obligatory romance bit, crappy special effects, Chow and Joon
Park’s over enthusiastic performances which we are suppose
to deem as funny and some lackluster martial-arts sequences
choreographed by action design company, 87Eleven to fill up
the running time.
the while, little insight is being offered especially the
evil Piccolo who appears for the sake of being a villain because
Dragonball Evolution needs one. With Stephen Chow listed as
one of the producers (Yes that Chow Sing Chi we know), this
is the biggest disappointment of 2009. In later reports, Chow
claimed that his creative inputs were denied by the production
team and he practically wasn’t involved at all, something
which Director James Wong claimed otherwise.
it is, the total domestic box-office takings of US$9 million
say it all. Then again, as a standalone martial-arts cum sci-fi
flick, it should be entertaining enough for boys aged 10 and
below. My colleague’s son actually embraced it and well
what can I say, he is seven this year.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 Dragonball Evolution Z (not Zzzzzz) Edition
contains the following bonus features:
8 Deleted Scenes – None of the 8 deleted
and extended sequences here makes the final cut. Pacing reasons
most importantly, they don’t serve much to the whole
Workout – The guys at 87Eleven shows you how
to workout in Goku’s style. Strictly for kids.
Anthony "Worked Up" Music Video –
Why wasn’t the Japanese theme song included as well?
Reel - A 2 minutes worth of unfunny gag reel
a Scene" Featurette – This 9 minutes featurette
touches on how Chi-Chi fights with ''herself'. Not exactly
enlightening nor entertaining but more of Jamie Chung is generally
After Film School with Justin Chatwin – Chatwin
chats (pardon the pun) with three filmmaking students on his
thoughts and experience in being an actor. Running almost
24 minutes, this might get bored after a while as the topics
covered are generally PR stuff.
a less than whelming movie, the video transfer is excellent
with vibrant colours throughout which occasionally betrayed
the cheesiness of the special effects backdrops. The Dolby
Digital 5.1 is peppered with lots of sound effects during
the action sequences, close your eyes and imagine its Yuen
Woo-Ping that is doing the job. It might work.
by Linus Tee
on 7 August 2009