ANIME & MANGA - Review
15:00 - 3rd January 2016, by David West

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’

It’s the rematch the universe has been dreading – Goku versus Frieza: Round Two in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. Tadayoshi Yamamura, who was Chief Animation Director on Battle Of Gods, claims the director’s chair, with a script by Akira Toriyama himself.

Surprises are thin on the ground, and the plot is by-the-numbers. One of Frieza’s former lackeys called Sorbet gathers the Dragon Balls and uses them to bring his old boss back to life. The restored Frieza heads to Earth spoiling for a fight, but of course Goku is not there. He’s off with Vegeta training with Whis and Beerus, so the Z-Fighters – Krillin, Piccolo, Tien, Master Roshi and Gohan, plus special guest Jaco The Galactic Patrolman – have to keep Frieza’s army at bay until the Saiyans return to Earth to face their nemesis. Inevitably, a really big fight follows with the villain unveiling his newer, mightier form – Golden Frieza! Punchy punchy, smashy smashy, ‘You haven’t seen my true power yet…’ etcetera.

Resurrection ‘F’ offers the same mix of intense action and comic antics that defines DBZ’s style, with all the characters displaying childlike personalities that mirror the series’ target fan-base. They are ruled by their impulses, and governed by simple desires. This is particularly evident in Beerus, who might be the God Of Destruction, but who can’t get enough of Earth’s food, munching away at a huge strawberry ice cream sundae even as the battle rages. True to form, Goku seems to regard everything as a great lark, despite the threat Frieza that poses to all life on Earth.

There’s a little casual sexism at work. When news of Frieza’s impending invasion reaches Krillin, he heads off to battle, telling his wife – the far stronger Android 18 – to stay home and look after their kid. Why can’t Krillin watch the little one while Android 18 kicks butt? The only female character with any screen time of note is Bulma, who unleashes her sharp tongue in a series of angry outbursts at Frieza, while everyone else trembles in trepidation. But the funniest of the gags involves Frieza’s experience of the afterlife. His own personal incarnation of hell sees the former interplanetary despot surrounded by happy fairies and pixies who all want to be his friend, while a teddy bear band plays a joyful tune and everyone dances. He hates it with every fibre of his spiteful being. Serves him right.

Toriyama’s script struggles a little with pacing. The original Frieza plotline unfolded over 32 episodes, so the feature length of Resurrection ‘F’ allows far less time for building suspense, rushing from fight scene to fight scene. It’s interesting to see Toriyama’s newest creation, Jaco, given a prominent role. He certainly provides a contrast to the DBZ characters – where they are all muscle-bound, Jaco is small and lithe. This makes his action scenes fun, as Jaco’s fighting style is about agility, smarts and speed, not raw power and energy blasts. The wily cop makes a welcome addition to the team.

Resurrection ‘F’ is light on new ideas, but heavy on people hitting each other. The dialogue is a full of characters blustering away at one another. Goku remains happy-go-lucky, Vegeta is still a grouch, and Frieza the same raving megalomaniac everyone remembers. It’s nothing if not familiar, but Toriyama and Yamamura keep the action coming almost non-stop.
SCORE: 3.5/5
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