Trying to beat my self-imposed deadline of end of year for this series, so today we are on movie #10. Not gonna lie, the last two Broly movies are ones I’ve been dreading. I knew vaguely that they weren’t good, but Cooler’s second movie being better than the original gave me hope. Was I right? Kind of.
The first thing I noticed about this movie is it takes place in the final era of Dragon Ball Z, the Majin Buu Saga. The movie opens with Goten, Trunks, and for the first time in the movies, Videl, one of my favorite characters. Goku is still dead, Gohan is an adult at this point, and Krillin even has hair.
Instead of a camping trip or picnic with the gang, things open to the misadventures of Goten, Trunks, and Videl hunting for the Dragon Balls. The unlikely heroes find themselves trying to stop a small village’s sacrifice to placate the beast of the mountain.
This is very Toriyama, and is utilized nicely as the actual beast is mostly for jokes while the crying of Goten actually awakens Broly, who has been encased in ice after inexplicably crash landing on the planet.
Videl is the first to take a swing at Broly, which is kind of an insane matchup that I never knew occurred. Naturally she gets knocked out instantly, but she fares better than half of the Z-Fighters in the first movie, so she gets her props. Goten and Trunks are the next to try their hands, and while it is clear that they are no match for the Legendary Saiyan, they launch a half-hearted plan to activate the newly-gathered Dragon Balls and utilize Shenron to defeat Broly.
As always, Goten and Trunks being onscreen is the catalyst for things to become silly, but I kind of forgot how Toriyama’s humor manifests sometimes. Because Trunks literally pisses on Broly. Not joking.
While it is commendable that Trunks manages the ultimate disrespect to arguably the strongest DBZ villain, the hijinks are somewhere between amusing and annoying. The laughs are not quite as effective as they are when Goten and Trunks have to fight Buu, it feels like the movie spends a lot more time with them than was necessary for a quick gag. And unfortunately for Trunks, this would’ve actually been the funniest moment in the movie, but Krillin manages to steal the show in one of the best gags of all time towards the end.
The humor doesn’t really work as well with Broly as the villain. The gravity of the first movie was largely absent from this one, and it suffered as a result. The jokes ate up a lot of the runtime of the movie, and the pair overstayed their welcome to some degree in my opinion. Since neither has ever displayed the timidness that Gohan did, it kind of felt like we missed out what could’ve been a better fight between the two young half-Saiyans and the legend himself.
After several mishaps with the Dragon Balls, it is clear that the two will not be able to defeat Broly. Thankfully, Gohan has sensed the power of Broly and arrives to protect them.
Gohan and Broly mix it up a bit, but it is clear that Gohan will not win the fight. I kind of like this, because with Goku’s absence, one would naturally assume that Gohan will take his place and come out on top. Some of the periods where Goku is out of the picture are my favorite moments in DBZ, because it really defies the convention of the one destined hero saving the day that DBZ itself instilled into the next generation as a predecessor.
As the fight destroys the environment around them, lava bubbles up from the shattered Earth. Gohan sees this as his only shot and manages to get Broly to chase him into it. This was an interesting departure from the usual kind of fight, because trickery and environment hazards are almost never utilized by the very straightforward heroes of DBZ. Broly falls for it, of course, and finds himself engulfed in the lava.
Gohan, exhausted from his bout, passes out on a rock in the middle of the rising lava. As always, we see a white cloak and know that Gohan is about to be saved by his real father. And then…
The funniest moment in maybe all of DBZ. The fake out of all fake outs. Made only to fool someone like me who has been counting the number of times that Piccolo has saved Gohan. When I saw him pick Gohan up, I smirked, knowing that once again I had foreseen the deployment of the familiar trope. When it turns out it was actually Krillin, my jaw dropped. I have NO IDEA why Toriyama would do this, but I could not stop laughing at this absolutely bewildering gag. This earned the movie some serious points.
Broly, of course, could not be defeated with 12 minutes of runtime left. And lo and behold, he emerges from the lava in an energy shield. As one would expect, Broly beats the brakes off of Gohan. Even when Videl approaches, Gohan is unable to get angry enough to activate his crybaby bitch powers and he gets molliwhopped in front of his girl. Kind of disappointing, but this is par for the course for the much maligned Adult Gohan.
However, the finale of the movie earns it some points, because it is an iconic DBZ moment. Broly is set to use his finisher and likely destroy the planet, with only a battered Gohan to stop him. Gohan meets his attack with a Kamehameha, but it is clear that Broly will overpower him.
The other characters rally and Goten jumps in to help his older brother, using the last of his own energy to fire off his own Kamehameha. This still isn’t enough, and things look over for the heroes. The Dragon Balls, left by the wayside, slip out of the tear in Goten’s discarded bag and collect. Shenron appears, and without anyone even wishing for it, it seems it is granted.
Goku is not revived, but he briefly appears from the Afterlife to help his sons. He tells Gohan to concentrate and Goten to cast aside his fear, and the three are able to pull off the Father Son Kamehameha and turn Broly’s attack back on him (with slight help from Trunks as a distraction). The blast literally carries Broly from Earth into the Sun, where he will likely inhabit the same place that Cooler previously found himself. However, it seems since they both got sequels after hitting the Sun directly, it might not be the best method of disposal. Oh well, a problem for a different day.
This movie meanders too much, I see the apprehension people have for the Broly sequels is not entirely misplaced. However, it wasn’t that bad, and was certainly worth watching. One thing I forgot to mention was that the version I watched was the dub with the nu-metal soundtrack, which apparently is how some of the movies were aired in America to try to cater to the high brow tastes of the fans. I actually enjoyed it, the Disturbed song felt fitting in a weird way.
While parts of this were hit and miss, and the first half had entirely too much Goten and Trunks (small doses, Toriyama), I thought the ending was really satisfying. Ending with a Kamehameha is a classic, but to see the Father Son Kamehameha from the Cell saga taken a step further with the inclusion of Goten was really cool and unique since we never see the trio do this in the canon of the show. Overall, pretty good, but not better than the original. Bonus points for the Krillin scene though, holy fuck. Still one of the funniest moments in the movies so far.
Next up is… Bio-Broly. So, likely everything I didn’t like about this one but amplified. I will approach it objectively like the expert reviewer that I am. And I will definitely not be swayed by the boding aura of darkness that is radiating from the poster I am looking at on Wikipedia.