Weekend Review: GUN CALIBER (2014)

In 2014, get ready to shoot evil in the dick. 
Soma Kusanagi may be your average miserable Smartball Parlor employee in Tokyo's Old Town, but when evil rears its ugly ass on the Japanese Metropolis, he transforms into the Gunslinging Superhero, Gun Caliber and fights against the evil organization known as "Skulldier". A group hell-bent on taking over Japan right after they finish their lunch break.

Normally when watching anything Tokusatsu-related, I usually expect it to be a family-oriented type of genre as anyone would. You see popular TV shows like Kamen Rider and Power Rangers and you already know that you are not going to see anything more than kid-friendly, fun and spectacular costume entertainment. However, this is not television, and actor and independent filmmaker Bueno is here to remind you of exactly that, so by all means, feel free to remove the kids from the room.

Bueno's latest labor of love, Gun Caliber, sets you in the not too distant future where superheroes have succub to their own egos, putting them at the center of public scrutiny. As a result, some succeed in the limelight while others are either stripped of rank or treated like outcasts of society. And that is where we meet down-on-his-luck smartball parlour worker Soma Kusanagi. He hates his job, and in the comfort of his outdoor mancave, he drinks, does drugs, chainsmokes and masturbates to porn, among other things. Like a majority of people, he's far from perfect and doesn't care much about anyone's opinion of him, as long as he gets to transform into Gun Caliber and kick ass whenever he's summoned to do so.

On the other hand, the story also has its share of villains - a handfull of monsters and a small army of henchmen led by Dr. Death, leader of the Dark Army of Skullider who pretty much wants to turn the world into his own empire, starting with Japan. The monsters principally include a flower monster, a lizard monster with an snake arm, and a perverted Tengu monster, all of whom also have their own qualms about being monsters, but enjoy themselves nonetheless.

Aside from being a purely mature Tokusatsu film for adults, in a way, Gun Caliber is kind of a love letter to action fans who enjoy classic R-rated blood splatter movies. The film explores a number of extremes, especially when it comes to the action, choreographed by veteran indie action director New Jersey's own Joey Min, who incorporates stiff acting and gun stance techniques very adequately, delivering just the right amount of flair Gun Caliber needed to showcase the amount of explosive overkill there is in this movie. And there's more than plenty.

The film has its tongue-in-cheek moments and it makes no apologies for its share of cringeworthy moments and could careless about who it offends. Hell, it may even leave you wondering just what the hell you are looking at, which is fine. But there are a few moments where we learn just a little more about Kusangi and what drives him to keep his abilities, which helps add to the layers of his character if you can get past the pervasive language, boobs and debauchery and other NSFW footage in this little gem.

All in all, Gun Caliber may very well be a superhero unlike anything you have ever seen, whether you love him or hate him. Sure, it may come off as a cheesy, zero-budget schlock fest with a lot of reasons for purists to deride this movie as nothing more than undeserving of an audience. But then again, that's not important at all, and far from the point. This is the beauty of independent filmmaking. Your ideas are your own, and your vision is what matters, no matter how tough it is long it takes to achieve it.

For Bueno, it took nearly two years to finish after going solo in 2011 with his own production platform, Garage Hero. And since then, he has honed in on his growing skills as a filmmaker, taking his own aspirations for the Tokusatsu genre and giving the world a Japanese superhero movie cultivated in blissful imperfection, armed to the teeth and ready to shoot evil in the dick. A lot. Like, literally.

And come on, how often do you see a superhero shoot evil in the dick? You won't see Superman do that with his laser vision. Nope, no chance.

Anyway, the film will only be available on the official Garage Pro YouTube channel for another 24 hours or more. So, now that you know what you are getting into, grow a sack, CLICK HERE and enjoy the mayhem at your own risk. And if you miss out on this window, head over to the official Garage Hero facebook page to stay in touch with the film's happenings, in addition to his next co-directorial project, Gaion Sigma.

Gun Caliber stars Bueno and Min, along with Sakurako Fujiwara, Kenji Nishikatsu, Karintou, Megwin, Miho Wakabayashi, Naomin, Takao Nakano, Kobeni Harusaki and PicoPico.


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