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Dragon Ball Z: Broly Triple Feature

FUNimation // Unrated // March 31, 2009
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted May 28, 2009 | E-mail the Author
The Movies:
Funimation continues their release of the Dragon Ball Z theatrical movies on Blu-ray with a triple feature featuring all three of the Broly movies:  Broly:  The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly:  Second Coming, and Bio Broly.   I've never been a big fan of the Dragon Ball movies, and while these are fun, sort of, they lack the charm and excitement of the TV series.  This disc starts off with an okay feature, but it goes downhill from there.

Broly:  The Legendary Super Saiyan:
While Son Goku and Chi-chi are going through the interview process to get Gohan admitted to an elite private school, Goku is contacted by King Kai.  The Kai has discovered that most of the Southern Galaxy has been destroyed, and it was done by one person:  a Saiyan.  Goku immediately teleports to the King's castle and sets out to locate the energy source of this new threat.
Meanwhile the rest of the Z-Fighters and their spouses are having a picnic in the forest.  With games and Karaoke, everyone is having fun until a spaceship lands.  Paragus, one of the few Saiyans still alive, emerges with an army and pleads with Prince Vegetta to rule a new planet Paragus has settled.  They need him to rule since the Legendary Super Saiyan is on his way, and the only one who could possibly defeat him is the hereditary prince.
Vegetta and the gang go off to this new planet in Paragus' ship, and when Goku senses a strong Siayan presence on the same planet he teleports himself there.  Everyone is together, but there's no sign of the legendary fighter, and Vegetta's getting impatient.  However not everything is as it seems.  Paragus has something up his sleeve, something that may spell doom for not only Goku and his friends but for the Earth as well.
This film started out in a very entertaining manner.  Son Goku's interview with the prep school board was funny, as was Chi-chi's prepping.  Things started to drag a little when they got to the new planet Vegetta, but they picked up when Broly finally revealed himself.  The main gripe I have with this film is that they totally changed Vegetta's character.  They have him cringing and wanting to run from a battle since he doesn't think he can win.  When has that ever stopped him?  This was the guy who laughed at Frieza while he was literally dying.  His abject cowardice was strange and off-putting.
Aside from that the movie was fun.  Yeah, there were some amazing coincidences, like having Piccolo miraculously turn up, but the main battle was fun to watch even if the end was a little bit of a let down.
Broly:  Second Coming: 
This takes place in the later part of the series, after the Cell Games and when Gohan is in high school.   Trunks (not the one from the future, the young kid from the current time line), Goten (Goku's other son), and Videl, (the daughter of Dr. Satan (also known as Hercule) and Gohan's girl friend) are out looking for Dragon Balls. They only need one more, and they track the ball to an island in the sea.

Just as they retrieve the ball though, Broly returns. Broly, last seen in the 8th film, The Legendary Saiyan , is a very powerful Super Saiyan who is seeking to get revenge on Goku for a previous defeat. Almost crazed with rage, he takes on anyone he sees, and his first opponent is Videl. He makes short work of her, but finds it harder to defeat Goten and Trunks.  The two youngsters put up a valiant (and sometimes humorous) fight, but they are just no match for such a dangerous and powerful foe. Will anyone be able to stand against this Saiyan villain?

This movie, and the one following it, is really short, like most of the Dragon Ball movies. Clocking in at a tad over 45 minutes, there's not much time for developing characters or anything more than an extended fight.   The movie did contain a good amount of humor, over the top fights, and a seemingly unbeatable villain, which is Dragon Ball Z's stock in trade, but it wasn't able to reach the heights of the TV series.  Making Broly come back wasn't very creative, and the way he returned was pretty stupid.  The way he was defeated was also pulling a rabbit out of a hat, though it did bring a smile to my face. 
Bio Broly:
This final Broly movie is the weakest of the bunch, but still worth watching as long as you're not expecting too much.  Mister Satan's main adversary when he was much younger, Jaguar, has spent years planning a way to get even with the famous fighter.  After much expense he's managed to create bio-warriors, artificial men who have tremendous fighting ability.  He sends a challenge to Mister Satan, who after hearing that none of his opponents has gold spiky hair, agrees to the challenge.  18, who is trying to collect on a debt Satan owes her goes along to make sure he doesn't try to run away, and Trunks and Goten hide away in the trunk so they won't miss any of the action.
When they arrive at Jaguar's lair, Mister Satan sees a demonstration of what the bio-warriors can do and realizes that there is no way he can beat them.  For a fee however, 18 agrees to be Satan's 'disciple' and agrees the fight all of the bio-warriors at once.  When Jaguar protests that it would be unfair, Trunks and Goten join in too.  The trio makes quick work of the artificial fighters.  Unfortunately Jaguar still has an ace up his sleeve:  he bought some of Broly's genetic material that was left over after the earlier movie and has managed to clone the Saiyan.  Once he's been let loose, with improvements genetically added to his makeup, it seems like there's no chance for 18, Goten or Trucks, and if they fall, so does the Earth.
This is another really short film, running only about 45 minutes.   It's pretty much a quick set up and then an extended fight.  If I had to pick one word to describe the film, it would be "bland."  Yeah, Broly's back (again!) and this time with goo all over him, but there just wasn't that much excitement after the humorous opening.
The Blu-ray Disc:

Like the earlier Dragon Ball Z movies released on Blu-ray, both of these films were presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and come with about the same picture quality.  Which means that the AVC encoded image looks about average.  The lines are soft though the colors look nice, but the prints to both films are in less than pristine shape.   There are a myriad of spots, dirt and micro-scratches (including a reel change mark) that harm the presentation.  Large patches of color also seem to shimmer slightly, and there was a lot of mosquito noise in the picture.  While it wasn't a horrible transfer, this isn't an exciting Blu-ray release.
This disc has three sound options: the original stereo Japanese track, and two English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 dubs; one with the Japanese music and the other with the more familiar (to region one viewers) US music.  I switched between the Japanese and True HD 5.1 tracks as I watched, and though I preferred the original track the dub was more exciting to listen to.  The English 5.1 track was very enveloping, with music and sound effects coming from the rear channels that made the movies just more fun.  It was nice to hear the original music, which works much better than the US music.  All three of the tracks were clean and clear though they did sound a bit flat with both the high and low end clipped a little.  There was no hiss, distortion or other audio defects.

Nothing, just a series of trailers.
Final Thoughts:
The DBZ films aren't as exciting as fun as the series itself, though they make nice diversions.  This disc started off fine, but went down hill as the series continued.  Luckily they aren't too long, so you're not really investing a lot of time in any of these.  (Yeah, that's damning with weak praise.)  On the down side if you're not familiar with the characters, stories, and background of the show you'll be totally lost.  For fans of the show however, these are worth watching.  With little replay value however, this would make a good rental. 
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