"Dragon Ball Z" Super Strength + Insanity = Badass Villian
The Dragon Ball Z movies are fickle. Some of them rock (World’s Strongest, Super Android 13!, the first Broly film), and some of them completely and utterly suck (Tree of Might, Lord Slug, Movie #11). Then there are those films that could have been something great but just weren’t (the Cooler Movies). In Broly Second Coming we have another candidate for the middle-of-the-road category.
Two movies ago, the Dragon Ball gang (Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo, Trunks, Krillin, Roshi, and Oolong) faced off against the Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly. His unbelievable strength completely overshadowed that of our heroes, and he proved to be one of the strongest villains ever. Only Goku, with his enhanced strength, was able to defeat this rampaging monster. But it turns out Broly is not as dead as Goku might have hoped. Instead, he somehow escaped the doomed planet and landed on Earth, becoming frozen in ice. Seven years later, Videl, Trunks and Goten accidentally reawaken Broly while saving a village from a beast. Seven years encased in ice has driven him even more insane than before, and seeing young Goten (who looks exactly like Goku, Broly’s hated enemy) doesn’t help matters any. Trunks, Goten, and even Videl try to hold off the big brute as best they can, but are no match for this legendary warrior. Can Gohan step up and defend the Earth without Goku’s help?
Anyone who watches Dragon Ball Z probably knows the answer to that right about now.
The first Broly movie was special in a lot of ways. It featured a super-strong Saiyan that actually had a plausible backstory, an interesting storyline and a real mystery (or it would have if the front cover hadn’t revealed who the villain was). It also featured some actual character development, no doubt in large part due to its longer-than-average running time. Plus, it kept the tradition of awesome fighting sequences that we’d been accustomed to since Movie #5. However, most of that gets thrown out of the window for this film, and it suffers as a result.
The main problem with the film is its run time. At a measly 45 minutes, there isn’t room for anything substantial. There’s an interesting little subplot for Videl in regards to the local crystals, but that gets axed as soon as Broly enters the picture. The same thing happens to the one-timer villagers, we don’t see them at all after Broly wakes up. I know these one-timers are just there to move the story along, but at least in previous films they don’t just up and disappear. Goten and Trunks are the stars of the film, but aside from some bathroom humor later on and some food jokes near the middle of the film, they don’t really add much of anything. You figure that since Goten looks exactly like Goku that Broly would try to kill the pipsqueak, but the big lug seems to ignore him half-way through, instead focusing on Trunks. And then there’s the fact that Gohan is once again shown up as hero. Even against enemies he was supposed to beat on his own (Cell, Bojack), he needed his father’s prodding to unleash his full power, and here he again needs Goku’s help to stop holding back and giving it all he’s got. For once, I would have liked to have seen Gohan win completely on his own, but that never happens, unfortunately.
Still, there is some stuff to like about this film. When Gohan eventually does show up, he shows off his strength and has a great fight with Broly (until he starts getting his ass kicked, that is). He’s still not up to his Cell Saga-like greatness, but he’s close. Oddly enough, Vegeta is nowhere to be seen in this movie, though Piccolo does show up, kind of. And Krillin easily has the best scene in the entire movie with his entrance (the jokes added to the dub just enhance how funny it all is). Videl is back to being an interesting character (after being really, really boring in GT), though I still would have liked to know exactly what her wish was supposed to be and why she didn’t ask Gohan to help her search. Oh well, at least we got to see her in a really nice dress (even if there wasn’t any real reason for her to put it on) and she actually does fight Broly for a little bit before being beaten up, which was cool to see, since most of the Dragon Ball women sit on the sidelines.
Visually, it’s what you’ve come to expect from the Dragonball movies. The animation is a bit more fluid than the TV series, but it doesn’t feel movie-like. Maybe that’s because Toei got the brilliant idea of releasing two DBZ movies per year (hence the short running time). If Toei would just be a little more patient and release only one movie per year, we’d probably get a much better product. Transfer is crisp and clean, as usual, though I do wish these things were animated in widescreen instead of fullscreen.
The voices are pretty much the what fans are accustomed to. If you enjoyed the TV series dub, then you’ll like the dub of the movie. If you liked the Japanese version of the series more, you’ll like that version of this movie more too. I will say that Vic Mignogna makes a much better Broly than Bin Shimada. Music-wise, the English version suffers from a crappy vocal rock song, but is otherwise pretty decent. The Japanese version isn’t all that special and likely won’t knock your socks off, but at least they have “We Gotta Power” as the opening theme. As per usual, that version comes with its own super-cheesy ending song that is basically the exact same thing the past 6 or 7 movies have had. Pretty standard fare on both sides overall.
Extras? What extras? You’d think that since this is a movie we’d get something other than profiles and trailers, but no such luck. Well, we do get a special promo card for the TCG, but that doesn’t really make the otherwise lack of extras worthwhile. However, I do hear that Toei has been holding back any Japanese extras from being included since they don’t want Japanese DBZ fans to import FUNi’s DVDs, and it wouldn’t really surprise me if it were true. However, it’s not stopping FUNi from making their own extras (like the GBA video game featurette in the last Broly movie and the featurettes included with the upcoming Uncut Saiyan Saga DVDs). Come on FUNi, you can do better than this.
With the lack of extras and a short running time, the movie’s almost not even worth picking up. However, it’s not actually bad, and if you enjoyed past DBZ movies, you’ll likely enjoy this one as well. This will be the last decent movie until next year (assuming Movie #11 comes out in fall), so it would be in your best interest to see this while you can.