Once upon a time, there was this crazy Japanese cartoon series called Dragonball that rocked the socks off every weekday morning. It featured weird alien characters, fight scenes that stretched over many episodes and an odd white supremacist streak that saw black-haired, black-eyed fighters turn into blonde-haired, blue-eyed fighters as they got better. This Hollywood adaptation – Dragonball Evolution – has mostly ignored these first two elements but has hyped up the third, making the main star, Goku (Justin Chatwin), white.
Goku’s not the sharpest katana in the dojo as he seems not to have noticed his own ethnicity is at odds with his clearly Asian grandfather. Luckily there’s a wave of inconsistencies, plot holes and good old fashioned deus ex machina (read: where-the-fuck-did-that-come-from-???) moments to distract us into a similar level of cluelessness.
This film is terrible. There’s about five minutes worth of plot and even this manages to contain massive gaps in logic. An evil alien named Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) has escaped his inescapable prison deep within the earth, where he’s been kept for two thousand years by very powerful magic. This incredible getaway sounds like something you’d show or explain to the audience, doesn’t it? Nope, he just got out – we don’t know how.
Anyway, he wanted to destroy the earth before… just, ‘cause he did. But now he has a reason, and it’s a good one… ‘cause of the inescapable prison, which wasn’t so inescapable in the end. Goku has to fight him. And get his dragonballs. And there’s this girl he likes. Who’s with a real dickhead jock. But it’s okay ‘cause Goku beats him in a fight. And she realises she doesn’t like jocks. She likes weedy, kinda-biracial karate kids. Oh yeah and Chow Yun Fat’s here. He’s a dirty old man. But he can fight too. But Goku’s got more potential. Unlike this story. Did I mention the white kid hasn’t noticed he’s got an Asian grandfather?
Dragonball Evolution is only eighty minutes long but makes you earn every second. Watch it if you’re a ridiculously hardcore fan of the series, or if have sworn to sobriety and want to find a new way to punish your brain.