I’m continuing to work through my most cherished Gamera DVD box set with the second in the series ‘Gamera 2: Assault of the Legion’. As we expressed in depth in speaking of ‘Gamera: Defender of the Universe’ I love me some monsters, I love me some kaiju monsters and above all I love me some Gamera. So hot off the heals of Defender of the Universe released in 1995 Toho grabbed director Shusuke Kaneko and quickly came back the following year with Assault of Legion, A movie that is bigger and badder than the first film. But is it better? Probably, but in the same way that ‘Godfather II’ is better than ‘The Godfather’, when anyone is asked which movie they would rather watch if forced to choose one, most would choose ‘The Godfather’. I’m thinking the same could be said for ‘Assault of the Legion’. And yes, I am comparing a movie about a 200ft flying turtle to The Godfather.
There are strange meteors falling all over the earth but as per usual the worst ones only hit Japan. There’s some odd things about one of these particularly large meteors that hit Japan in that the meteor seemed to be slowing down before it made contact, which just don’t seem right, and odder still is this meteor, which judging by the crater is the size of Yankee Stadium, has gotten up and walked away. Generally speaking, meteors shouldn’t do that. Other odd things are happening such as an uncomfortable rise in the oxygen levels in our atmosphere, and someone or something is stealing fiber optic cables. Crackheads where I live steal copper tubing. Apparently the technology advanced crackheads in Japan steal fiber optic cables.
Alas if only the problem were drug addicts as a swarm of bug monsters had appeared in the subways killing certain people and building weird structures. Since this is a Gamera movie we need a far too young super cute scientist to help us decipher this madness and for this we have Miss Midori Honami (Miki Mizuno), who I think is
more school teacher than scientist, but still plenty cute, which more than qualifies her to make critical world changing decisions. Running the Defense Force Ops is tough Colonel Watarasi (Toshiyuki Nagashima) who thinks we should just blow up these monsters and their pure oxygen nest which could very well be the worst idea in the history of the planet earth, but fortunately out of the blue comes a 200ft, fire belching, tusk possessing turtle to totally save the day. Gamera destroys this weird structure before it can do whatever it is was going to do, but those little monster didn’t like that and mess Gamera up real bad for his heroic act.
We all love Gamera and we know he has plenty of heart, but he’s not the stoutest monster out there. If to save the world Gamera needed to swallow a handful of peanuts, he would surely choke on one of those peanuts and be down for the count, desperately needing to fly off and call on our little Eurasian teenager (Ayako Fujitani) to help him heal up for the next round.
The next round for Gamera is a son of a gun because now the Legion Queen is here, and she is nasty. She messes up Gamera even worse than he was messed up before, to death it would seem with her lethal combo of electric blasts and scythe arms. Then she basically nukes a city when one of those weird structures matures, then she unleashes thousands of flying beasts from her chests and guess what, she’s on her way to Tokyo. You would think by now that the Japanese Defense Force would have some kind of monster solution, but they don’t, and it’s up to Gamera to somehow recover from choking on that peanut, rising like a phoenix from the ashes and save our lousy asses yet again.
Like I said about Guardian of the Universe I’m practically a gushing Gamera fanboy so there’s really not a lot these movies can do to disappoint me and this one is no different. The special effects in this one are better than in Guardian of the Universe, though still a little rough around the edges in some aspects, particularly some of the CGI stuff, but the miniature work is fantastic as per usual. In the grand scheme of things, Legion as a monster is all in all a much more dangerous monster than Gyaos was in ‘Guardian’, but it’s not nearly as oppressive or as fear inducing as Gyaos. I think part of this is because Legion doesn’t eat people and it also doesn’t have those goofy teeth that Gyaos possessed. Yes, Legion will end life on earth as we know it, but it’s doing this by making our atmosphere unlivable. Whereas Gyaos method of destroying humanity was eating every single one of us until there’s nothing left to eat. Given a choice I think I’d rather suffocate to death.
The acting in these things are negligible but the actors do what is required of them, and Miki Muzino plays your typical cute 22 year old scientist who doesn’t really do a heckuva a lot in this movie except be cute, young and demure, but she does it well. The monster story in this one was probably more in line with the monster stories that we are used to as opposed to ancient civilizations creating man eating bird monsters, and Kaneko did take his sweet time in getting Gamera on the screen to do his thing.
Regardless its still a Gamera movie and I love me some Gamera movies, including ‘Attack of Legion’, which provides pretty much what I expect out of a Japanese monster movie and more. Next up, Revenge of Iris.