Friday, April 15, 2016

Dragonball Z Movie 5: Cooler's Revenge

It's Cooler Vs. Gokou in the battle of the century!

We begin with the notorious Sauza, a fabulous Frenchman (...?) from the depths of space. I think he hails from the same species as Jeice. He's a fairly strong character and could probably be the villain of this movie, but that honor goes to...


Nope, it's even worse: Cooler, Freeza's big brother.

This is a flashback, it seems, as Cooler And The Gang are watching Freeza destroy Planet Vegeta some 20 years before the events of DBZ. For whatever reason, they're getting all kinds of cinematic close-ups on their viewscreen. That's one hard-working cameraman.

Regardless, they spot one pod fleeing the destroyed planet. That is, of course, baby Superman baby Gokou, and they consider taking him out. However, this part of the galaxy is Freeza's problem, and they're just observers. If Freeza misses a spot, whatever. So Gokou gets to live, and Cooler continues on his way. He has "seven planets to destroy by the end of the day". I thought they just traded planets! What profit is there in a destroyed planet? Did they not pay their rent?

Fast forward twenty years.

Roshi is watching Gokou part the sea, like Moses.

Having parted a few seas (hee hee) himself in his day, Roshi is super-into this.

Meanwhile, Icarus.

Let's just move on quickly. Look at Chi Chi's butt!

In an effort to get Gokou's attention, Chi Chi puts herself through a table! ECDub! ECDub!

...yes, this really happens. Gokou is busy preparing for a camping trip and despite having super-powers he doesn't notice Chi Chi crash through a table nearby.

Meanwhile, on some unnamed planet that looks like Namek from a distance but can't be...but I think maybe is supposed to be...Cooler has parked his ship on a wasteland.

It's been twenty years and he hasn't aged a day! He just found out about Freeza's death, and while he doesn't seem bothered at all ("I'd have done it myself sooner or later" he says), he DOES want revenge. It's more of a "they've dishonored our family" thing than anything else and makes perfect sense.

Back at the camping trip, Gohan is choppin' wood in the most stylish way possible.

Gokou, however, senses a disturbance in the force. Good thing he wore his fighting outfit on this camping trip.

The bad guys interrupt Gohan's wood-chopping and knock him out quickly. Wait a minute...why does Gohan have a tail here? Didn't he lose his tail like really early in the DBZ series? ...and then grow it back in Tree of Might? ..........but didn't he lose it again there? Ah hell, I don't know. I need a wiki timeline for Gohan's tail.

Sauza shows up and assumes a DBZ Power Stance.

They are... Sauza Tokusentai! They're like the Ginyu Force, only...more powerful? I think. Not sure. Sauza seems more powerful than Captain Ginyu, and it'd fit with the overall theme here since Cooler is more powerful than Freeza. The fact that there are a mere three of these guys instead of five makes them seem a little more important individually, and I like the single shoulderguard look. While Sauza is the most powerful overall, the guy on the left is basically Burter 2.0 and has this ability to retract his head. The guy on the right is...Recoome 2.0 I guess. Nothing particularly interesting about him, but he's a big brute.

Regardless of their power, Gokou is able to battle all three of them by himself for a moment, until...

...Cooler appears. So far, the backdrops in this movie are excellent.

Gokou thinks it's Freeza at first...but that's impossible! Freeza is dead!

Indeed, it's impossible...for now. Just wait until the Buu Saga completely trivializes character deaths, and then all things shall seem possible.

Gohan flutters on by, yelling stuff about Gokou being his dad. Well, THAT won't cause any problems for Gokou. Of course, Kooler fires at him with his Death Beam, and Gokou leaps in front of his son to take the hit. Kooler's strongest attack, full-on to the back, un-mitigated, un-blocked, no Protect or Shell up. This takes Gokou out of the fight in one shot.

The other heroes sneak away with Gokou's body and stash him in a cave. Gohan has to find a senzu bean for his dad while they hope that the bad guys don't just obliterate the planet in the meantime. They're already tearing the forest apart, which Gohan must bear witness to helplessly in this potent shot.

...well, it should be a potent shot, but the actual movie didn't really emphasize the dire situation or the helpless feeling that the heroes are no doubt experiencing.

The Goon Squad comb the landscape and find no sign of our heroes...or anything else. They decide that the good guys must all be dust. Cooler chimes in with "WEAK MINDS are easily deceived" and tells them to keep looking. Does he really have to throw insults around like that?

Gokou asks about all the animals that are in danger from the bad guys nuking the forest. Kuririn says "Don't worry, I've got a search and rescue team on it! They'll be fine!"

It's "I can see their parachutes" all over again!

Well I'll be. Icarus and Oolong actually ARE rescuing animals nearby. This has to be the most useful Oolong has ever been.

Gohan tiptoes away from the battleground and makes his way to Korin's Tower. The good thing about Icarus is that, like the Kintoun (flying cloud epic mount), he's a way to fly without giving off any power reading. This keeps the bad guys from detecting Gohan's presence as he sneaks off.

The objective for Gohan here is to get some senzu beans, since they're the energy tanks of this universe. One bite and you're fully healed. If he can get one of those to Gokou...

Of course, Korin is a jerk about senzu beans. They're the one thing that makes him useful in this world, and By God he won't give them up without a sizable bribe. Luckily, Yajirobe isn't a complete tool, and gives Gohan what he needs to PREVENT THE WORLD'S DESTRUCTION. Hooray for Yajirobe!

Before he leaves, Yajirobe throws Gohan another senzu bean for the road. This is significant; it's like that one grenade-shot that Arnold dropped near the end of Terminator 2 and found later when he was out of ammo.

An entire night went by and Gokou is STILL out of commission from the Death Beam. Luckily, Gohan is almost back with those senzu beans, and should be here any time now!

Oh shit, the bad guys caught him. He was flying low (tm The Force Awakens) and everything! They keep calling him "monkey boy". Interestingly enough they kept calling Gokou a monkey earlier too. What's with all this casual anti-Saiyan racism?

The good news is that our heroes have one untapped playing card: Piccolo. ...and Tien and Yamcha

The Burter goon gets his moment to shine, as his retractable head ducks an energy blast from Piccolo...

...which then goes right for the other guy. Piccolo, with his power level of Freeza Form 2, is able to one-shot these guys, and that's exactly what happens here. Hell yeah! Go Piccolo!

Unfortunately, Burter 2.0 has that most-unwelcome of DBZ villain powers, an incapacitating move. Maybe he's Guldo 2.0.

It seems to be an electric-based power like a taser. Piccolo is smart enough to turn that back on him, grabbing ahold of his head and channeling the electricity back to him. This fries Burter 2.0, and that's two goons down.

Sauza is waiting, and springs into action with an energy slash type move.

I really like this energy slash. It's visually appealing and it seems extremely dangerous. It's also something you almost never see in DBZ: A melee-range energy attack.

Sauza also has a really cool five-beam attack that launches from his fingertips. Now I want to play as this guy in one of the newer games that have him.

That's right... a mere goon is making me want to play as him in a game. This movie has a really good villain set, at least in terms of Sauza and Cooler.

Piccolo still holds off Sauza without much trouble (that could have been a great fight) until Cooler Death Beams him from somewhere. Man, Cooler is as annoying as a sniper in Halo.

Sauza also makes himself useful by catching up to Gohan and frying the bag of senzu beans right before Gokou can have one.

 Wait, is Gokou resting on a moose?

Kuririn flips out and attacks Sauza, but the villainous goon easily fends him off.

Gokou grasps at the ashes of the senzu beans. Well, he could try snorting them and see if he gets healed.

But wait! Gohan starts rummaging around in his pants!

"Do his underpants have healing powers?"

Nope, he was keeping a spare senzu bean in there, as it turns out. Gokou chows down!
It's that extra one from earlier.

We get the iconic scouter-break as Gokou returns to health and powers up.

Cooler (with the unconscious body of Piccolo) is unfazed by Gokou's return. This time Gokou isn't wiped out by a cheap shot special attack, so the fight can be fair.

A hilarious moment follows, as Gokou completely no-sells a punch from Sauza while he talks to Cooler. Maybe Sauza isn't stronger than Ginyu after all, because I'm pretty sure Ginyu could have at least made Gokou flinch at this point.

Then again, in the DBZ world where having a slightly-higher power level than your opponent means you no-sell everything, rather than a real power curve where things affect you to different degrees, who knows.

Sauza: "Soon you will be at Lord Cooler's mercy!"

Cooler: "What mercy?"

Cooler proceeds to blast Piccolo's corpse one more time for good measure, which of course sets Gokou off.

After Gokou defeats Sauza by merely powering up (...I guess, Sauza sorta crashes into a nearby rock) the main event begins, and it's definitely the most compelling main event out of the first five movies. More on that in a bit.

They fight underwater temporarily, which is both interesting to see and slows things down a little bit. Cooler has the advantage under here because he doesn't need oxygen like Gokou does, but luckily for our hero Cooler doesn't take advantage of it.

They seem pretty even so far. They make sure to each let the other know that this isn't even their final form. Apparently Cooler is in "form 4", which is the highest form Freeza reached, but he has discovered a form 5. ...does this mean Golden Freeza from Movie 15 is in his sixth+ form?

Cooler says that Gokou should feel privileged to be the first one to see this new transformation that no one in the "Freeza race" has been able to get to before now.

::Mother Brain's theme plays as Cooler begins to grow::

My God! Form awesome!

He's gone Super Shredder! Hell, the only thing missing is a face-guard.

...oh, there we go.

 Gokou (w/ gross neck muscles) is in shock at the new power level of his foe. Good thing he can just go Super Saiyan and match it, right? Right? ...Righ-


Gokou tries the Kaio-Ken, but it isn't too effective against Cooler. This form of Cooler is insanely powerful at this point. Given how badass and stylish he is, I'd have liked to see this guy be a recurring villain.

Similarly to how Broly was wasted in his appearances and could have been made into a much more interesting character given the amount of fan interest he generated, Cooler simply wasn't around long enough to make as big of an impact as he could have.

Gokou stops messing around and blasts Cooler with the Kamehameha wave, but Cooler is unimpressed.

He flies THROUGH THE BEAM to get to Gokou. Cooler gives ZERO fucks about your signature move!

Man, Gokou is getting demolished. We're dangerously close to Movie 7 territory here with wondering why he doesn't go Super Saiyan and even things up. He's taking an awful lot of damage and just sorta...not retaliating. Maybe this is all a grand rope-a-dope plan. Perhaps Super Saiyan also heals you to full or something, like Hulking Up.

That's two Hogan references in one post. Hmm...

Gokou may be battered and beaten, but he still manages to heal a wounded bird. At least I think it was wounded. It might have been dead, which would make this an even more miraculous event.

After taking a moment to feed a poor family and comfort a leper, Gokou goes Super Saiyan. Now the real battle for Earth begins.

 They repeated the same beats from the Freeza fight, with Gokou looking up sharply after his transformation. Reminds me of how some of the earlier movies (especially World's Strongest) repeated beats from the show almost shot-for-shot.

 Cooler immediately gives Gokou his best punch to the sternum, and it has NO EFFECT.

I expected them to be even again at this point, but Gokou definitely has a clear advantage, and dispatches Cooler with a few moves. So...Super Saiyan is not only far-superior to Freeza Race Form's also far-superior to Form 5. That sucks for Freeza Race. No wonder they're terrified of Saiyans.

Cooler unleashes a massive planet-killing Death Ball very similar to the one his brother used to destroy the Saiyan homeworld.

Gokou succeeds where his father, Bardock, failed by catching the Death Ball and managing to repel it. ...whoa, that's kinda deep.

It isn't easy, though, and Gokou nearly gets pushed into the Earth by the massive attack before he regains his momentum.

After pushing the ball back towards Cooler, our hero unleashes a kamehameha wave to knock them clear out of Earth's atmosphere.

Cooler is now riding the Death Ball into the depths of space! He starts mulling over whether or not to destroy the sun and let Gokou freeze to death (talk about fighting dirty)...then realizes the sun is COMIN' RIGHT FOR HIM.

As he gets blasted into the sun and disintegrates, Cooler takes a moment to realize that the Saiyan baby he let live all those years the one who just defeated him.

Gokou may have handily defeated Cooler, but he took a ton of punishment regardless. I guess before the transformation. Maybe Super Saiyan isn't a heal.

The good news is, everyone lives happily ever after. At least until the next movie...the next threat.

And that threat...may be someone completely unexpected.

Oh shit! Sauza isn't dead! Come to think of it, yeah, we never really saw what happened to him.

He gets immediately one-shotted by a Makankosappo (or Special Beam Cannon) outta nowhere, and so ends the tale of DBZ's greatest single-movie goon.

Seriously, I can't think of a better goon in any of the DBZ movies.

Piccolo lives on, as well, but as usual he's too cool to make an appearance with the other good guys.

Having done his good deed for the day, he turns and looks at the sun as awesome end credits music begins to play. That music is different depending on which version you're watching, but it's always good:

The American dub ends with "Phoenix" by Breaking Point.

The Japanese version ends with the aptly-named "Extraordinary Mightiest Vs. Mightiest".

So yeah. This movie is quite good. The main event, as I mentioned before, was the most compelling out of the first five movies - easily. Maybe the most compelling in the entirety of the original 13 movies. It's Freeza's big brother versus Super Saiyan Gokou at a time when Super Saiyan was still very fresh, and it's a fairly short fight with a lot packed into it. Compare that with the incredibly long Freeza fight on the show, which is borderline unwatchable at times due to the amount of stalling to kill time. Kinda like a Hollywood Hogan main event.

In any case, Cooler was a much better villain/fight/threat overall, and this movie stands up to any of the others in a competition. Out of the original 13, the only one that I would put above this one in quality is Movie 9. There isn't even a whole lot to joke about with this movie overall because it's simply too good to make fun of.

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  1. Blowing up planets is such a waste, too.

    To the surprise of no one on the planet, Roshi is reading a puff-puff book.

    Generally Gohan's tail grows back at random whenever they need him to ape-ify. I recall the explanation being something like it can grow back when they're kids but not when they're grown. Either way, he doesn't go oozaru in this movie... so I guess they did it to easily identify the saiyans?

    This is the Piccolo who fought fairly evenly with Freeza form 2, so there's no question that Cooler's goons are much, much stronger than the Ginyu Force.

    Gokou inexplicably suddenly caring about animals is one of the only marks against this movie.

    Ginyu was 120,000 and this is Gokou able to go SSJ. Ginyu wouldn't be able to do squat.

    Great soundtrack, too. Man, what a kickass DBZ movie.

  2. First Garlic Jr, now Cooler? At least Cooler is a pun with Frieza and how they're both related to cold temperatures.

  3. Cooler wanting revenge for dishonoring of the family does make perfect sense.

    The Sauza Force is good at posing! And I agree with you Sauza is a cool character.

    Gokou taking the hit for his son is pretty noble. And this is a good device for giving the B Team time to shine!

    I enjoyed this post so much I read it twice, once back on Christmas and again now. Solid entertainment.