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November 3, 2012

Movie Review: Karate-Robo Zaborgar (2011, Blu-ray)

As a youngster, my earliest exposure to science fiction from Japan came from our local UHF station.  If Chicago horror host Son of Svengoolie wasn’t on I was usually watching some Japanese giant monster film or Kaiju. Along with monsters like Godzilla and Gamera, I also enjoyed robot flicks and other cheesy science-fiction fare. Spectreman was a big favorite, so when I saw the preview of Karate-Robo Zaborgar from director Noboru Iguchi (RoboGeisha, Mutant Girls Squad), I had to check it out.

If you’ve seen any of Iguchi’s previous films you might have a slight idea of what you’re in for, if not, prepare yourself for a wildly entertaining, ridiculous ride. Yutaka Daimon (Itsuji Itao) is on a mission to cripple the evil forces of Sigma, a group of robots, cyborgs and other unexplainable entities. With him, at his side is his robot/ motorcycle named Zaborgar. Zarborgar is way cooler than any of the transformers you may have seen in Michael Bay’s films. He’s got a whole host of weapons and tricks that make him and Daimon an amazing tandem against the forces of Sigma.

Daimon and Zarbogar also have a very special bond – they’re brothers. Born twins to a scientist, the boys grow up very differently. Sigma’s powers to undercut the duos plans come at the expense of Daimon’s children. His son even takes on his father while Daimon’s young daughter is turned into a giant demolishing Tokyo Godzilla style.

The effects consist of a lot of CGI, but it really is forgivable here because it not only looks great but it’s totally on purpose. We get to see some great costumes, impressive martial arts and even some neato practical FX sprinkled in. I didn’t even mention this; Karate-Robo Zarbogar is consistently funny and even hilarious in some spots.  If you love the old school monster and robot stuff from the 70’s and earlier from Japan, you’ll be in heaven.

Well, Go USA has tacked on a few extras with this release. Aside from some fun previews for other Well Go USA titles you get to see some very amusing shorts with our hero, Zarborgar, doing his thing. Overall, this one is a blast and comes strongly recommended from this Asian cult film geek!

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