Yoshiki Takaya was the mastermind behind the manga series Bio-Booster Armor Guyver, aka Guyver, which debuted in 1985. It has been adapted into a one-off OVA titled Guyver: Out of Control (1986) and two different anime series. In 1990, two of the most interesting artists working in special effects at the time, Steve Wang and Screaming Mad George, teamed up to bring the manga to the big screen in a live-action film, and 1991’s The Guyver was born.

To make the film even more special, they brought along producer Brian Yuzna, and the final product was as insane as we all expected it to be, except for its release, which was PG-13. Unearthed Films has pulled out all the stops to deliver the cult classic on 4K in a newly restored R-rated cut, and it’s even more fun than I remembered.

Sean Barker (Jack Armstrong) is a young man who accidentally stumbles upon a device that merges with his own, allowing him to become a biomechanical being covered in armor. The crazed Fulton Balcus (David Gale) wants the device for himself and will go to any lengths to get it. This includes sending out his goons, who have also been genetically enhanced to turn into beasts with super-human strength. His girlfriend Mizky (Vivian Wu) and CIA Agent Max Reed (Mark Hamill) find themselves in the clutches of Balcus. Sean must master his newfound abilities quickly to save them and stop Balcus’ plan for domination.

The Guyver script stays relatively close to the source material, though it does take a few small liberties, which is fine. Tonally, it’s all over the place, feeling a bit like the original live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films but for a slightly more adult crowd. This version supports that statement, and the R-rated version is a bit more violent.

The effects work by Wang and George is stellar. Their creations are original and memorable, a major part of the film’s effectiveness. It’s filled with humor, action, and a top-notch cast. In addition to Hamill and Gale, there are fun appearances by Michael Berryman, Jimmy Walker, Jeffrey Combs, and Linnea Quigley.

RELATED: ‘Ghoulies II’ (1987) 4K Review: A Glorious Release Loaded With Extras

It would be followed in 1994 by Guyver: Dark Hero, with Steve Wang taking full control and delivering a very different yet very effective and exciting follow-up. Hopefully, Unearthed can secure and deliver it as well.

The 4K version looks absolutely flawless, giving the fans the best version of the film to date. The three-disc set is jam-packed with amazing special features, including a new commentary with co-directors Steve Wang and Screaming Mad George, another new commentary with actor/SFX artist Ted Smith and lab tech/miniature supervisor Wyatt Weed, new interviews with George and Brian Yuzna, suit tests with commentary, outtakes with commentary, gag reel, and more.

The 4K disc includes the commentary tracks, and the rest of the features are on the second disc, which is the standard Blu-ray of the film. The third disc is the complete soundtrack CD composed by Matthew Morse.

It’s a wonderful set for a film that is whacky fun from start to finish and a reminder that practical effects will always be superior. The creature creations are fantastic, and George and Wang should be proud of their work. No one else in the industry compares to them.

The Guyver (1991) 4K Review
Unearthed Classics

We’re hardworking geeks who love to geek out, but we can’t do it without you! If you enjoyed this article and want to see more like it, please consider tipping our writers. Also, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.