Dragonball Z Movie Collection Five: The Broly Trilogy (Cert PG)
2 Discs DVD/Blu-ray Combo (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 72 minutes approx. / 52 minutes approx. / 47 minutes approx.
DBZ fans are in for a treat with this release as it offers three films for the price one instead the usual two. But there is a reason for this generosity – all three films feature the same adversary for the Z Fighters, a Super Saiyan named Broly.
Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan was first released in 1993 and was actually the eighth film in the DBZ catalogue, but it was leapfrogged in the last release so all three films of this trilogy could be included in this one set. In relation to the chronology of the TV series, we are quite far down the line with Vegeta and Bulma having got together and sired Trunks whilst Future Trunks is also present in his adult form in the same timeline.
A space ship lands on Earth and a Saiyan named Paragus seeks out Vegeta, telling him that a New Planet Vegeta has been created and he is to rule them as his king. Paragus adds that the planet is under threat from the Legendary Super Saiyan which sways Vegeta’s decision to agree to the request, taking the Z-Fighters with him to the new planet.
When they arrive on New Planet Vegeta, Paragus introduces everyone to his son Broly, who vows to fight alongside Vegeta to protect the planet. Meanwhile King Kai warns Goku something isn’t right, bringing him into the fray but Goku is confused by the Ki he is sensing. When Broly attacks Goku one night in a tough battle, Broly is subdued by Paragus, revealing the identity of the Super Saiyan and the truth about the new planet.
Clocking in at 72 minutes this is the longest DBZ film so far and uses this extra time accordingly, telling a complete story without having to rush anything. This might result in a slight reduction in action for some tastes but the upside is the reason for our heroes to kick butt feels more substantial than usual, whilst the character building also benefits from having the room to grow.
The rationale behind Paragus’ actions is a morally ambiguous case of a wronged person with a legitimate beef being presented as the villain because of his nefarious and bitter vendetta. In essence, this is a tale of the sins of the fathers, but with one of the fathers being around to pull the strings of his offspring in extracting his revenge.
Second Coming released in 1994 is set seven years after the first film, with Goku now dead, Gohan is a young man in a relationship with Mr. Satan’s daughter Videl and has a younger brother in Goten. The fact it exists, along with the third film, is a significant spoiler as to the fate of Broly in the first film, opening with a capsule of the beaten Saiyan Super crash landing on Earth and Broly freezing himself into hibernation.
Along with trunks – now a young lad himself – Goten and Videl go off in search of the Dragonballs to make a wish for Goku to return home, but stumble across a hidden cursed village named Natade which is supposedly being attacked by a giant monster. The trio easily draw out and defeat the dinosaur but Goten’s crying during the mission awakens Broly from his stasis and now fully recharged, he thinks Goten is Goku and wants revenge.
Played more for comedy than its predecessor, this film has that cash-in sequel feel about it as opposed to being a fully realised adventure to further the saga of Broly. He remains a formidable and unhinged force to be reckoned with, even fending off the likes of Piccolo and Gohan with ease, yet his character is without purpose beyond simplistic revenge.
Whilst the hero cast have all grown and developed, Broly hasn’t due to his hibernation which leaves him one a par with the one dimensional, convenient “enemy of the week” type foe in a TV series. Since all he has a bit of history and immense power, Broly’s agency and lustre feels less significant, despite the fun it provides.
The final instalment in this trilogy is Bio-Broly, also from 1994, which like Second Coming pushes the younger generation of the Z-Fighters to the fore, Goten and trunks, this time with an assist from Android 18, Krillin and Mr. Satan. We’ve skipped ahead quite a bit in the timeline, with Krillin (now with hair) and Android 18 being a couple with a young daughter Marron.
It begins with Mr. Satan being challenged by an old school rival Mr. Jaguar for his World Title or he will reveal an embarrassing secret about Satan to the world. The Z Fighters tag along to the ride to Jaguar’s laboratory where he has an army of bio-engineered fighters ready to be tested against Satan, which Goten and Trunks dispel with rather easily.
However Jaguar has a trump up his sleeve, a reanimated Broly, having reconstructed him from a dried blood sample following the climactic battle in Second Coming, but this Bio-Broly is more dangerous and out of control than before. With no way of contacting the other for help, can the youngsters defeat this new monstrous version of Broly?
This is a distinct case of diminishing returns regarding Broly as a villain, appearing in only the last ten minutes of this film (ironically the shortest in the set) having been absent for half of the previous one. At least this mutated version is different in that he is driving by a primal instinct as directed by Jaguar but again, this could have made for an interesting lot device had it been given all due attention.
After the impressive first film it is best take the follow-ups as adjuncts rather equals; viewed as a whole, The Broly Trilogy works well enough as an afternoon’s entertainment if you can resist lamenting how much of an impact player Broly could have been if he was a canon creation in the manga/TV series instead.
English Language 5.1 with Japanese Music
English Language 5.1 with US Music
Original Japanese Mono
Rating – *** ½
Man In Black