After the madcap mastery of the first Gantz, I was looking forward to the sequel. Alas, Gantz: Perfect Answer doesn’t deliver.
Set five months after the first film, Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya) and friends are still fighting aliens, working their way towards 100 points. Kurono, of course, plans to resurrect Kato (Ken’ichi Matsuyama) when this happens, but just when he’s approaching his objective, the goal posts shift. Gantz isn’t playing by the rules anymore, it seems, and the group find themselves in increasingly difficult and unpredictable situations.
For the first hour or so, Perfect Answer is a joy. Even though we don’t get to a fight scene until 45 minutes in, the time flies by. There’s a sense of pace that builds to a fever pitch when a train-based action set piece begins. I won’t spoil it for you here, but suffice to say that the scene kicks all sorts of arse.
After this, the film goes off the rails somewhat (pun intended). I’ve since discovered that end of the film deviates wildly from the original manga, and whilst I haven’t read that or seen the anime version, it’s hard to believe the changes could be an improvement. It apparently has no wish to answer any of the questions raised in the first film, almost as if the writers involved couldn’t come up with a way to back up the crazy brilliance of the original premise. As with the first film, all the good stuff is at the front end of the movie.
At 145 minutes, Perfect Answer is horrendously long. The disc release is apparently the ‘extended edition’, though I’d query the intelligence in making the film even longer than it had been in cinemas. To make matters worse, the last half hour simply doesn’t make sense. Ambiguity is one thing, but not explaining the motivations of the protagonists or antagonists adequately is a shortfall that’s hard to overlook. Technically, the film is a success. The visual effects are mostly impressive (though one particular chase scene looks rather silly and reminiscent of the super-fast running scenes from Twilight), and the music is suitably epic. Of course, the editor needed to be told to hurry the hell up, but I suppose blame can’t really be laid on them when the film treats EVERY SINGLE MOMENT as a kind of epic, drawn out emotional crescendo.
With remakes, there’s sometimes a tendency to make big changes to the plot to avoid simply repeating the previous incarnation (ironic, I know), and whilst I can’t speak as to whether the original was better, I find it hard to believe that the end to Gantz: Perfect Answer could possibly be an improvement. There is one half of a great film here, to be sure, and it delivers on the action front in spades, but the dull and confusing conclusion is a major disappointment.
Gantz: Perfect Answer is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from Madman.Rating: