During the final days of World War II, the Japanese military is secretly developing a superweapon that will turn the tides of war and save the Japanese Empire. After twenty-seven failed attempts, the project gives fruit: a three-stories high, remote-controlled robot. The metal man is christened Tetsujin 28-go.
Directed by: Shin Togashi
. Starring: Hiroshi Abe
, Yû Aoi
, Akira Emoto
, Maryke Hendrikse
, Masatô Ibu
, Sôsuke Ikematsu
, Teruyuki Kagawa
, Ayako Kawahara
, Naoyuki Morita
, Katsuo Nakamura
, Yûko Nakazawa
, Sôsuke Takaoka
, Hiroko Yakushimaru
I had been anticipating this movie since I saw the original ad campaign--a young boy encompassed by the shadow of an old-school robot. I was even more excited when I saw pictures of the actual robots. Throwback designs to a simpler time, when big, clumsy top-heavy machines ruled the earth. I guess in the back of my mind what I was hoping for was a modern-day version of Johnny Socko and his Giant Robot, a series I adored growing up.
Boy, was I let down.
What I got in Testujin instead was a spotty, marginal film with far too much emotion expressed with not enough attachment to the story. If there's one thing I hate in a movie it's the emotional young boy, screaming, banzai-ing, crying when he doesn't need to be--especially when there's not enough on the screen for you to share that with him. It can work, as it did in Miike Takashi's "Yôkai Daisensô," but unfortunately we don't have a winning formula here. Even Johnny Socko had a King Kong-ish connection with the Giant Robot as he flew through the sky in his hand, which unfortunately is missing from this movie. Giant Robot hinted at something human. You never get the feeling that Tetsujin is anything more than a big dumb empty metal shell that, save for a lucky punch, pretty much sucks at fighting.
Perhaps I'd have to really know the original manga to appreciate this, but far too many characters were crammed into this thing. On top of that, the robot battles were weak displays of slow-mo Rocky-like all-punch, no-defense boxing matches. Difference being, in Rocky the slow-motion was used for dramatic effect and here the robots are just oafish and lethargic. There's a scene where the enemy has apparently destroyed the good-guy Tetsujin and what does he do? Put the final nail in the coffin and completely destroy his adversary? Fly off to carry on his mission to destroy the world? No... he just stands there frozen in the same position waiting a good five, ten minutes for his opponent to regain his strength and continue the battle.
It all begs the question, for a robot (or robot mastermind) that has his sights set on world domination, why create a weapon with so many defensive liabilities? How do you expect to be master of the universe when you can't even get past Tokyo?
The movie starts out promising enough, as the evil Black Ox robot twists Tokyo tower into a Twizzler, but it's soon all downhill from there. Too much shoehorned back story, too many story lines with not enough story to cover them, too many illogical plot holes and highly lacking in characters with actual character.
Watch the first 15 minutes, then shut it off. You'll save yourself some wasted time.
Review by whofartedrecs from the Internet Movie Database.