Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition Review


Written & Directed by Bueno
Featuring: Bueno, Joey Min, Sakurako Fujiwara, Kenji Nishikatsu, Karintou, Megwin, Miho Wakabayashi, Naomin, Takao Nakano, Kobeni Harusaki, PicoPico
Action Choreographer: Joey Min
Action Director/Director: Bueno

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It is finally here folks. Gun Caliber shoots its way in as I got to sit down and watch Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition. And boy, what a film it was. Now, I am gonna start off by saying that if you do not have a sense of humor about ranchy, sexual inuuendos, toku parodies or just small gags, this will not be fore you. 

This movie is full of comedy, action and a strong story that holds it together. We open the movie with action, to give you a taste of two things: the amazing action that the movie and get a feel for our hero. Soma Kusanagi is not your average henshin hero. He drinks, smokes weed and his sexual deviant and damn proud of it. He has no qualms about his vices and seemingly very annoyed for having to protect his city. 

Yet, as the movie goes on, Soma’s reasons for being Gun Caliber are revealed as well as the threat of Skullier, lead by the evil Dr. Death as they go after the mysterious Gen-Drive.


That pretty much sums up the movie. While the plot is simple enough to follow, Bueno and the cast dives into a darker, grittier side of henshin heroes that has never been fully crossed till now. Gun Caliber is a hero of vices and hangs with other heroes who have the same vices. His ‘lack’ of self-responsibility has made him look bad in the eyes of many of the public. Garage Hero constructs this extremely well, as he builds up Soma’s very powerful addictions and his conflict with the duty that he took on. 

The motivations behind being Gun Caliber do get revealed during the course of the movie, adding a bit more dramatic weight to a movie that had been dealing with mostly laughs or displaying Soma’s more raunchy tendencies. 
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And while the movie does have topless nudity, the crew at Garage Hero makes sure that there is a point to it. The movie does a great job of keeping things visually interesting while carrying over the point home about this hero who learns some self-responsibility in a city that may or may not need him. The pacing for the scenes and overall movie were solid. And while the main conflict was not really seen till the second Act of the movie,Garage Hero does a good job of introducing Gun Caliber and his world to us. The world building makes a stronger impact as he ties together Acts 1 and 2 in Act 3.

Bueno stated this about the main protagonist, Soma: 

At the core, Soma is just a guy who happens to do extraordinary things. He feels just like the rest of us but vents in ways that normal people can't. Hence the abuse of his authority.

Comedy wise, it has good timing. While not all the gags are going to win you over, the majority of those gags were enjoyable and quite funny. Bueno does outside the box with some of his gags, making it great. Overall, the story for the movie was solid.


Bueno needs to be called the “next” Robert Rodriguez as there is a lot of work here that was shot using a lot of “cheaper” effects. A lot of smaller computer generated effect but used well. Bueno knows exactly when to use them and apply them in this flick. Garage Hero does some great innovation with action. In an interview I recently did with him over a month ago, Bueno stated Fernado Ramos and his crew used a fisheye lens for many of his shots. And the shot composition in this film goes from average to exceptional.

The crew has no problem giving us some great over head shots, perspective views and just overly interesting angles.Ramos & the crew has a good amount of shots with angles and makes it look well. The fish eye shots during the action make it look AMAZING. You really do feel that the action jumps out at you. Joey Min and Bueno really make sure to make the action be something that you never see in most other action films and succeed. We have hand to hand. We have great kicks. We have gunkata … sweet, sweet gunkata. Oh … and Bueno keeps his promise as Gun Caliber literally shoots evil in the dick … CONTINUOUSLY!!! There are plenty of tips off to Koichi Sakamoto in terms of action yet, Garage Hero does enough different to make it something of their own.

When asked about Ramos' work on the movie, Bueno stated:
Fernando was an amazing cameraman who adapted to my style of action really well. Probably the best action cameraman I'll ever work with.
And to match the action, Garage Hero makes sure the more dramatic scenes or funnier moments had decent effects such as making flashbacks black and white or shooting with slightly tilted angles or perspectives to help the viewer feels what they want you to feel.

Overall, the movie is shot extremely well.

The acting was pretty solid. It felt like all of the actresses and actors really enjoyed the roles they played. Because of the way the story worked and how each character was utilized, we got varying degrees of acting. Yet, all of it was good as everyone from Kenhi Nishikatsu to PicoPico to Megwin all did solid jobs. I particularly like to point out our main villain, Dr. Death.

Dr. Death was a tribute to the tokusatsu villains of the 70s and early 80s as he was full of speeches and had a dark laugh. Yet, Garage Hero turns that on its head with Dr. Death always saying Death at the end of the sentence and giving deadpan responses throughout the movie. His monotone voice and creepily slow laugh was both hilarious and inventive. Really showing that this movie, while fun, still gives itself pride on innovation.

Our lead does a great job as Soma, the vice-riddened hero does what he does out of an old obligation, not necessarily that he wants to ... at first.

This is a testament to Garage Hero for having a good cast that is varied and really help suck you into the world of Gun Caliber.
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Honestly, this movie is just so much fun and great. The story is solid. The action is good. The action is AMAZING, innovative and brutal. Gun Caliber has been compared to Deadpool several times and I see it. And while the effects are not big budget and the monsters don’t look expensive, this honors a lot of tokusatsu traditions while still being funny, raunchy and dramatic. The pacing of the movie is good. 

I am not mentioning the music because the soundtrack used isn’t going to be the main soundtrack when the movie is fully released.

Yet, the opening theme and closing theme are solid. Overall, the movie leaves you wanting more and definitely makes you believe in our vice filled hero. 

This was a solid movie that any toku fan should experience for yourself. It will make you laugh. It will make you feel for our hero. And you will also get hyped up with the action.

I give Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition a solid 4 … out of 5 stars. Experience it yourself.


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