Dragonball Evolution, based on the wildly popular manga, and later anime, series by Akira Toriyama, stars Justin Chatwin as a high school outcast named Goku, who lives with his grandfather, martial arts instructor Gohan (Randall Duk Kim), who spends his days fantasizing about fellow high schooler Chi Chi (Jamie Chung). The film’s story-line is soon established when, on his 18th birthday, his grandfather gives him a mysterious “Dragonball”, along with the knowledge that there are only seven that exist in the entire world, while he recounts the legend that whoever unites all seven Dragonballs will be granted a perfect wish.
However, when tragedy strikes, it’s soon learned that the evil Lord Piccolo (James Marsters) seeks to possess all seven Dragonballs, with the intention of destroying Earth with their power. With time running out, Goku joins forces with three gung-ho companions in order to defeat Lord Piccolo: the beautiful, super-smart inventor Bulma (Emmy Rossum), eccentric martial arts master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat) and bad boy turned hero Yamcha (Joon Park).
Director James Wong successfully captures the spirit of the fast-paced, cornball style of the source material, with a script that contains enough action and set pieces to mollify its intended audience. However, with a confusing timeline, poor character development and a lack of solid martial arts action, the film stumbles along with little to offer for all but that base of fans.
Overall, Dragonball Evolution is a mildly enjoyable, fast-paced action adventure that doesn’t take itself too seriously… which it shouldn’t.
The Dragonball Evolution Blu-ray includes some fun bonus features. Goku’s Quest, a Blu-ray exclusive scavenger hunt game, has viewers interact by pressing the remote control whenever a Dragonball icon appears on-screen. Built strictly for kids, the game should be a somewhat fun pastime the first few times around. Next up are eight deleted and extended scenes, all presented in HD. Goku’s Workout, also presented in HD, demonstrates some of the moves from the film. This was probably one of the more interesting featurettes to me, with a good, clean skills presentation. Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making a Scene looks at the process of preparing for and shooting one of the key fight scenes in the movie. The featurette includes many cast and crew interviews, along with behind-the-scenes clips. Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School With Justin Chatwin includes an extended interview segment with the film’s star, Justin Chatwin. There is also a Brian Anthony music video for the song Worked Up, along with a pretty funny gag reel, both presented in HD. Disc two of the set contains a digital copy of Dragonball Evolution, which can be downloaded onto a computer, iPhone, or PDA.
The Dragonball Evolution: Z Edition Blu-ray Disc is presented in widescreen format with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (Lossless), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 Dolby Digital sound with Spanish, Portuguese, French, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean subtitles.
Director: James Wong
Writers: Ben Ramsey (screenplay, Akira Toriyama (original graphic novel series)
Cast: Joon Park, Justin Chatwin, Chow Yun-Fat, James Marsters, Jamie Chung, Emmy Rossum, Randall Duk Kim