I first learned about Crusher Joe while asking people about 80s anime back when I was on my 80s kick and then rediscovered it when I was going through all the Buried Treasures on ANN. Like most things, after I downloaded it I forgot about it for a while. I decided to finally watch it because I needed HD space. Ordinarily if I have something rare that I like I’ll keep it just to not loose it, but this movie I was glad to delete.
Crusher Joe had some of the makings of a great, fun-filled action romp but fell totally fucking short. It could never decide if it wanted to be a fun action movie or a sci-fi epic and got way too confused in the mid-ground. This problem is kind of similar to how the end of Project A-Ko suddenly got into an awkward pace when A-ko and friends were taken off-screen for a needless aerial battle. Only through the whole fucking movie. Crusher Joe has a cast of very shallow but like able characters but does very little to develop any of them and in fact is weekend harshly by it’s lack of focus on the characters’ personalities. You get the sense that anyone could have been the stars of this movie and it would have gone the same way – the characters were bricks thrown along with the plot.
Since so much of the focus goes to the plot, you’d then think they’d get this right, but it’s very ham-handed. Lost somewhere between a pulp, a military sci-fi, and an adventure, the plot isn’t light enough to put focus on action and isn’t heavy enough to draw you into it. The dialog just feels like meandering in shallow water between fight scenes, and way more often than ought to be acceptable. As a result, the plot twists and major events aren’t surprising in the slightest and elicit no reaction.
The film isn’t totally without it’s merits, though. For starters, there was some very excellent use of old-school special effects at parts that brought a smile to my face. In addition, the fight scenes were all pretty good. The aerial battles were pretty standard fare and I kind of zoned out through them (I’ve never like aerial battles) but the gunfights and other ground combat was excellent while it lasted. There were also plenty of good ‘ol explosions. In this aspect, though, it still has nothing on fellow classics like A-ko and therefor comes out as unmemorable.
As a result of the bad pacing, the movie had way too many scenes that felt like they should have been the ending. Had the movie been something like 45 minutes shorter it could have been marked as a flawed but fun shoot-em-up at a clean 7, but the added length shot those chances to a clean 6 and something I’ll never likely watch again.