Kamen Rider J (Japan 1994)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/23/00
Director: Keita Amemiya

A simplistic and enjoyable superhero film from genre director Keita Amemiya of "Zeiram" (1991) fame. A nasty group of space aliens led by the nefarious Fog Mother have come to subjugate Earth. They kidnap an adorable little girl and kill her older brother, but the Earth spirits resurrect his kind soul and give him the power of Kamen Rider J - a green beetle-like superhero who rides a cool motorcycle. He and his grasshopper companion (I'm not kidding) battle their way through Fog Mother's henchmen, rescue the girl, and go all out against Fog Mother's hideous doomsday machine.

Pure sugar-coated eye candy for the Saturday morning "action for action's sake" crowd. The effects are good - and sometimes incredible - although some of the martial arts action seems a bit weak (especially after watching so much Hong Kong stuff recently). Additionally, the film really drives home the environmental issues, which seems really out of place. Pollution wasn't the cause of the aliens' arrival and conservation won't help to defeat them, and yet they keep touching on those themes throughout the film in a blatant and juvenile manner. (outrageous violence and destruction is alright for younger viewers as long as there's a moral at the end of the story) Like Amemiya's "Mechanical Violator Hakaider" (1995), the film is very short - only forty-five minutes. That leaves no time for character or plot development, just non-stop monster bashing.