I used to think that Marvel and DC held the monopoly on reviving deceased fictional characters, but the release of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F reminded me that this isn’t the case. This latest movie from the hugely popular DBZ franchise once again sees the Dragon Balls (mystical wish granting orbs, not to be confused with lizard testicles) being used to reanimate a fallen character. The Dragon Balls are usually employed in the resurrection of dead heroes, but on this occasion the bad guys have decided to make use of their power instead. The recipient of the Dragon Balls’ necromancy properties is none other than Frieza – an extra terrestrial overlord who has a thing for detonating planets. After securing a second lease on life the effeminate villain sets his sights on Earth and getting revenge on the spikey haired chap responsible for his demise.
Technology is a marvellous thing. Back in my day hunting down the Dragon Balls took a season’s worth of episodes and completing homework required hours of research at the library. These days, thanks to modern scanners, the Dragon Balls can be unearthed in a quick movie prologue and school assignments can be finished promptly via the wonders of Wikipedia. Resurrection F wastes no time in concisely explaining how Frieza’s minions attained the Dragon Balls and revived their leader, which makes a welcome change given that DBZ is infamous for stringing things along with bloated filler. The script doesn’t even pause to explain how Frieza could pose a challenge to Goku (who in the last film attained god like strength thanks to the power of holding hands.) We are simply told that the antagonist beefed up by training for a few months.
Resurrection F’s main event is without a doubt the rematch between Frieza and Goku. After languishing in hell for many years, where he was forced to listen to a constant stream of obnoxious Telly Tubby ditties, Frieza is thirsting for blood. The alien destroyer of worlds is no push over, as he has unlocked a new Golden form that rivals the might of blue haired Super Saiyan Gods. Does anyone know why hairdo colour is used to denote the potency of Saiyan warriors? I think I preferred the traditional blonde Super Saiyan locks over the new azure style – although both are preferable to the goofy looking Super Saiyan 3 hair extensions Goku once sported.
Before the main bout commences viewers are treated to an undercard featuring Frieza’s weedy army and Earth’s second-string of superhuman protectors. The likes of Piccolo, Gohan, Tien and Krillin get to strut their stuff, although the mighty Majin Buu is mysteriously absent from the encounter. Oh well, who needs Buu? The battle is only determining the fate of the world after all. Let’s give his spot on the roster to a decrepit bald pervert (aka Master Roshi) instead. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, who has previously appeared in a spin-off manga, also makes a cameo appearance in the film. He’s there mostly for comic relief and to prove that Akira Toriyama’s artistic career isn’t limited only to DBZ/Dragon Quest sketches.
Given that my fondness for Dragon Ball has waned over the years I wasn’t looking forward to Resurrection F. The last DBZ film I watched (Battle of Gods) wasn’t to my liking due to the heavy emphasis on comedy. That’s a bad idea as I find DBZ’s humour to be only one power level higher than the gags found in an Adam Sandler feature. Thankfully Resurrection F’s script focuses on what the series does best, namely action, resulting in an entertaining popcorn flick. Is the movie perfect? No, the crude looking CG effects for example need work, but overall what I watched was good enough to earn four stars. I do however wish that badass Vegeta would get more to do in this second coming of Dragon Ball. Once again the prince of Saiyans is reduced to a bit part player and worst of all his sole moment of glory is usurped at the eleventh hour by a deus ex machina.
Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F is an essential purchase for DBZ fans everywhere. Those looking to add the DVD to their collection are in for a bit of a wait however, as the UK home video release has been postponed to prevent it from clashing with current cinematic screenings. Manga Entertainment’s decision to delay DVD sales will annoy some anime collectors, but the company will feel vindicated by the movie’s good performance at the box office. If it’s any consolation, watching Resurrection F on a big screen is probably an awesome experience. It’s something I wouldn’t mind partaking in, were it not for the fact that I loathe stepping outdoors. Besides, knowing my luck I would end up in a theatre packed with screeching kids. The only thing worse than that is being stuck in the underworld listening to Telly Tubby tunes ad nauseam.