Guyver: Dark Hero (1994)

That’s more like it. After the first “The Guyver” managed to draw up some profit and interest, New Line released a sequel to “The Guyver” directly to VHS. It wasn’t until 1995 where I was finally able to see it on the Science Fiction Channel in American cable television. I wasn’t even aware there was a sequel at the time. For folks who hated the camp and comedy of the first film, prepare for a jolt of pure action packed entertainment.

“Guyver: Dark Hero” is by no means a masterpiece, but it’s so much closer to the spirit and concept of the original animated series than the first film was. Guyver kicks immense amounts of butt with amazing martial arts choreography, the directing and editing are top notch, the monster effects are used sparsely and wisely, while the monsters themselves are menacing and unforgiving. Not to mention, there is gore galore that’s not solely reserved to men in rubber suits. As he often did in the series, Guyver even uses his elbow blade and at one point completely dices up a monsters guts from behind as it spew blood all over him.

Even the occasional human gets diced up. “Dark Hero” features a better follow-up to the first film where Guyver now spends his nights fighting crime and thwarting big criminal plots. Unfortunately the Bio Armor has begun to control him and he is beginning to give in to his lust for violence. After breaking up with his girlfriend from the first film, Sean Barker (now played by the infinitely superior actor David Hayter) goes on the road to explore where his nightmarish visions are coming from when he sleeps, while hoping to resist his urge for violence. He travels to Utah to join an archaeological dig, trying to figure out why he’s connected to the mysterious signs located within the site.

A group of archaeologists, including beautiful Cori, learn that their underground discovery is of alien origin, and Sean tries to uncover its secrets. The problem is monsters soon begin raiding the camps and murdering diggers, leaving it up to Sean to suit up as the Guyver and keep them from taking any more lives. This allows some really excellent fight sequences, with Guyver much more agile. The first film shows Guyver throwing people around and swiping at bad guys, but this time around he’s allowed more room to battle the monsters, and director Steve Wang allows fans to savor in the martial arts action. Guyver has to ensure he doesn’t give in to his blood lust, which is difficult when there’s a victim caught in the cross fire.

“Dark Hero” is thankfully a simple and entertaining B grade action film with a much darker and stern tone, as well as better villains this time around. As well, we’re also able to glimpse at another model of the Guyver Bio Armor, culminating in a one on one battle in the finale that’s absolutely mesmerizing. I hope we get a great American live action version of “Guyver” someday, as the property has epic potential. There’s no replacing the anime, but if you’re in the market for a live action Guyver fix, this live action version will do the trick.