Dragonball Evolution (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/04/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 83 mins

Enjoyable action-adventure enlivened by likeable performances, fast-paced direction and a script that's smart enough to cover a few teen movie bases along the way.

What's it all about?
Based on the popular manga series by Akira Toriyama, Dragonball: Evolution stars Justin Chatwin as Goku, a high school nerd who lives with his grandfather, martial arts teacher Gohan (Randall Duk Kim), and spends his days lusting after high school hottie Chi Chi (Jamie Chung). On his 18th birthday, Gohan gives Goku a mysterious Dragonball, telling him that there are only six others like it in all the world and recounting the legend that whoever unites all seven Dragonballs will be granted a perfect wish.

However, when tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that the evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters, aka Spike from Buffy) is attempting to collect all seven Dragonballs, with the intention of destroying the Earth. With time running out, Goku joins forces with three unlikely companions to help defeat Lord Piccolo: beautiful, super-smart inventor Bulma (Emmy Rossum), wacky martial arts master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat) and bad boy turned hero Yamcha (Joon Park).

The Good
Director James Wong perfectly captures the cheesy, fast-paced style of the source material and the script is smart enough to cover a few crowd-pleasing teen movie bases before the action really gets going, most notably a superb sequence where Goku trounces a gang of bullies without actually touching any of them.

In addition, Chatwin makes an extremely likeable lead and there's strong support from Chung (feistier than the usual love interest), Rossum and a scene-stealing Chow Yun-Fat.

The Bad
That said, Marsters gets lost under a heavy make-up job that prevents him from doing anything memorable with the part, while Park's character is about as under-developed as it's possible to be. Similarly, the whole throwing balls of light at each other thing quickly gets old, though the climax has an intriguing twist that makes up for that.

Worth seeing?
Dragonball Evolution is an enjoyable, fast-paced action adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously. Silly, but fun.

Film Trailer

Dragonball Evolution (PG)
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Content updated: 24/09/2018 08:08

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