Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly Review
The final Broly movie! I was nervous about this one, because the premise itself is already… not good. Broly returns for the second time directly after the first sequel, I can only assume the DBZ movie team saw the popularity of Broly’s character and decided to immediately pump out some follow ups. Was it worth it? Once again, kind of.
After a short laboratory sequence, the movie opens to Android 18 trashing Hercule’s place. This is already a great opening. No fucking camping, just one of the best side characters getting some screen time for maybe the first time in the DBZ movies. Krillin, Marron (he and 18’s daughter, still not sure how this is possible), Goten, and Trunks wait outside as Android 18 goes to take her much-deserved cut of the prize money from the 25th World Tournament.
Now, chronologically, this movie does not make any sense. The 25th World Tournament is the same one where Gohan is used by Babidi in order to wake Majin Buu from his sleep. This would mean that either this is happening alongside the battle for Earth — unlikely, because Goten and Trunks are a part of it, or that it occurs at some point after, also unlikely because that would mean Goten and Trunks would be able to fuse and easily beat Bio-Broly. Ultimately, this might be the movie that takes advantage of being non-canon the most, and makes it pretty clear that the success of Broly’s first film meant two more getting pushed out.
The premise is kind of silly. Mr. Satan (Hercule) is interrupted whilst negotiating payment with Android 18, who is smashing all of his shit, by a summons from a mysterious business man. Jaguar, one of Mr. Satan’s old rivals, threatens to expose that he wet the bed at 12 years old if he doesn’t come fight Jaguar’s champion. One can imagine where things might go from here. Instead of fighting Mr. Satan himself, Jaguar has hired a small country of scientists to genetically modify fighters of his own.
Mr. Satan accepts the invitation out of fear, and he and Android 18 are whisked away to a private island. Android 18 orders Krillin to stay with Marron, and he can only watch as the limo flies away with Goten and Trunks stowing away in the trunk.
Here, we find something important. While the bio-humans that Jaguar has engineered are easily dispatched by Android 18, Goten and Trunks discover a familiar face from the previous Broly movie in the facility.
This is not a good sign, and even the two comic relief characters realize it. While Mr. Satan provokes Jaguar, it becomes apparent that the former priest has helped Jaguar with his research. He reveals that he brought dried blood from Broly’s corpse to the laboratory, and from here all Hell breaks loose when Jaguar announces his trump card.
Moments before Jaguar decides to drain Broly’s growth chamber, Trunks and Goten spot it and prepare to open fire. Their energy awakens the Saiyan, who awakens prematurely and breaks containment. The scientists try to return him to unconsciousness, but he shatters the plating and approaches Goten and Trunks. However, because he wasn’t finished cooking, Broly begins liquefying and turning into a huge goopy mess. And he is a huge fucking goopy mess for the rest of this shit, thus Bio-Broly is born.
I cannot imagine pitching Bio-Broly to the writing team. As much as I may disagree with bringing back a fan favorite for a third time (this movie came out less than half a year after the second), it is even more insane to me to make this fan favorite turn into a giant pile of unintelligible shit. When villains return we usually expect them to have changed color, turned metal, gotten taller, pretty much any of the general physical changes which warrant the trademark smirk. Broly does not get that! What we do get, however, is an interesting fight!
While it does follow some of the usual formula of Broly movies — namely the Z-Fighters taking turns having the shit kicked out of them and then passing the baton while a desperate last ditch effort is thought up — Bio-Broly is actually not even as strong as his original form. If Goku or even Vegeta were here, he would be easily dispatched. But the mantle falls onto Goten and Trunks again to defeat what is canonically one of the strongest villains in the series.
When the two half-Saiyans fight together, they are actually stronger than Bio-Broly, but because they are young and inexperienced there is little teamwork between them. Android 18 enters the fray at some points, but is mostly tossed around by Bio-Broly while Goten or Trunks are incapacitated.
Krillin actually has some of his best moments in the movies here, faring much better than he did against the original Broly who basically Perfect Victory’d this man in both of the previous movies. He manages to save his girlfriend from certain death and even connects with a Destructo Disc, which is an insane feat based on how many times he has used it and embarrassed himself over the years. Unfortunately, while this attack would’ve almost decapitated anyone who wasn’t made of goo, it didn’t really phase Bio-Broly. Still, we gotta give him some points here.
One thing I will say about this one is that they manage to do a better job with the dynamics between Goten and Trunks. They don’t annoy the viewer as much as they do in the previous movie, and I actually enjoyed watching them fight Bio-Broly since they stood a fighting chance.
One particular scene I really liked was when Trunks realizes that they will be unlikely to win the fight, so he decides to try to utilize the purple acidic goo that has begun leaking from all the damaged machinery to defeat Broly. In order to get his attention, we get another great taunt from Trunks while Gohan rescues scientists who are fleeing the purple sludge floods.
Trunks lures Broly away by taking advantage of his blind fury. After firing off a Double Buster that seems to miss its intended target, the top of the machine that it hits explodes and purple sludge rains down on Broly. This plan actually manages to work, and Broly gets melted.
While it seems Broly has been defeated, if there is nothing else the Legendary Saiyan is known for, it would be his tenacity. He merges with the acidic slime and rises up as a giant, before losing his form again and turning back into goop. With Broly’s power being concentrated into the bio-liquid, it begins multiplying exponentially and the island is endangered.
With the threat of Broly neutralized, Goten, Trunks, Android 18, and Krillin all begin rescuing survivors, but the purple sludge will not stop coming. As it devours more and more fleeing scientists, the sludge grows in mass until it is raining down the sides of the island. By watching Mr. Satan run screaming off the literal face of the cliffs, it becomes apparent that the sludge turns into rock when it touches water.
With numerous people at the base of the island facing eminent death, Krillin, Trunks, and Goten all fire Kamehameha Waves at the water and create a giant tidal wave, which is really an insane solution. Somehow this doesn’t obliterate everything and the problem with the sludge is solved. I swear to god there has to be some sort of longform essay about Dragon Ball Z’s relationship with nature to be written, but not by me.
What looks like the end of the movie gives us yet another pearl-clutching moment, when a gargantuan purple Bio-Broly arises from the sea. This too turns out to be a bit of a false alarm, because he almost immediately turns into stone. While Krillin looks on in horror, Goten and Trunks fire one last Kamehameha and destroy the remains of Broly, and until the most recent DBZ Super movie, finish the last chapter of the Legendary Saiyan’s story in the series.
One thing that really added a positive note to the whole movie was the last scene, where Goku briefly appears.
We are taken to Other World, where Goku is finishing off an enormous meal. He receives word that Broly is causing trouble in Hell, and that he and Pikkon (previously unmentioned in the movies, but appears in our next one as a character) need to go take care of things. Goku ruminates on it for a minute before deciding to have some more food.
This movie was just okay. I think I really enjoyed seeing characters who don’t get much spotlight take the stage in this one, particularly Android 18. It is exactly what one might expect: a movie meant only to work on name recognition. That being said, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting, and I think it at least learned from the 2nd Broly movie in how to use Goten and Trunks effectively.
It is a satisfactory, if strange ending to the Broly saga, but I truthfully cannot imagine what fans at the time must have thought of the way they used such a beloved character like Broly in his finale. The decision to redo him for Super is at least justified to me now, if only to reclaim ownership of his story from a slight fumbling of it in years past.
I can’t believe there are only two movies left! Next up is Fusion Reborn, one of the ones that I began this series to watch. I’m really excited to watch this one, I still remember watching parts of it as a kid and wondering just what the hell was happening. We will find out soon! Thanks for reading.