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While on a business trip last week, I had the pleasure of catching an exclusive market screening of BRAVE STORM, a 2017 Tokusatsu film produced by Japan-based BLAST Inc.
A familiar-looking robot on the film’s poster caught my eye, and I soon found out that it was a loose remake of the 1973 Senkosha-produced series Super Robot Red Baron. I was soon whisked away, by an excited employee of BLAST, to watch a screening of the film. The second-ever, in fact.
The film features contemporary versions of the characters from the Red Baron series, and probably due to the Senkosha connection, adds another forgotten hero from their library, Silver Kamen, into the film, as the futuristic hero Silver. BRAVE STORM is the first feature effort from writer/director Junya Okabe, whose Tokusatsu credentials include visual effects supervision on the 2009 Ultraman epic Ultra Galaxy Legends.
With no narrative connection to any of the shows that inspired it, BRAVE STORM opens in the Year 2050, a dystopian future where the Kyrgyz race of aliens have brought humanity to near extinction with an army of Black Baron robots, each fitted with an atmosphere transformation device that emits smog that is poisonous to humans.
The last remaining survivors are five siblings who have stolen the design plans for Black Baron and plan to use a time machine to return to 2015 before the first Kyrgyz invasion, in order to build a weapon that can stop the Black Barons. In the past, they meet robotics professor Kenichiro Kurenai, and convince him to build a robot to defeat the Kyrgyz, on one condition, that they allow his wayward brother, Ken, to pilot it.
Running at 83min, BRAVE STORM doesn’t pretend to feature a complex storyline with unexpected twist and turns throughout. In fact, if you watch a lot of Tokusatsu, you would probably be able to see what’s coming next, but you would still enjoy it. For what it’s worth, the film stayed true to the genre, evoking memories of a simplistic era where the stories were straightforward and the characters were one-dimensional, yet still somehow managed to band together into a piece so entertaining that you could ignore its obvious flaws. A fair bit of the movie’s heart comes from the relationship between the Kurenai brothers. Add the talk about justice and about fulfilling dreams & promises and you have a perfect recipe for a Tokusatsu movie.
At time of writing I have no idea what the filmmakers’ plans for the movie in this region are. Will they bring it here? Still remains to be seen.