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Review: Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie -

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Review: Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie -

Sometimes the various traditions that Toei have set out for the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises can seem so set in stone that it feels like there's little room for innovation, but every so often something exciting and different does manage to slip in and become the new norm. One such example is the recent string of teaser films that have been produced - attached to various movie offerings and airing just ahead of the full show release. Mashin Sentai Kiramager was the first series to get one with its Episode ZERO in 2021, with Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger following with Red Battle! All Sentai Rally! this year. However this year also saw Kamen Rider Revice get in on the action with Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie  - a 25 minute mini-movie attached to giant crossover anniversary film Saber + Zenkaiger: Superhero Senki.

Karizaki admires his latest creationVice welcomes you to the movie

When the demon cult Deadmans attack a FENIX research facility, genius scientist George Karizaki proclaims that it's time to fight fire with fire - revealing his latest invention, the Revice Driver. Sometime later, when the Deadmans attack an amusement park Kamen Riders Revi and Vice leap into action, with Revi's demon partner Vice getting a little too excitable in the ensuing chaos.

Though the Deadmans are defeated they soon return, and this time with a new soldier at their disposal. Will the Kamen Riders save the day? And will Vice get the bath he longs for?

The Deadmans attack!Kamen Riders Revi & Vice

Although Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie was released over a month before the series began, calling it a "prequel" of any sort would be rather generous. While the first scene of the film undoubtedly takes place before the beginning of the series, the rest of the action takes place around episodes three and four. Not that there's a whole lot to gauge from that information though, because the movie is very coy about the finer details of Revice's plot - or any real details at all for that matter. But rather than this be from said details not quite being ironed out yet (as it often felt with the new Rider summer movie cameos), it comes from not wanting to overload the audience with information about a series they won't be starting for a few weeks' time. There are allusions to key points in those early episodes (such as Ikki fighting in his brother Daiji's place), but certainly nothing essential to the plot. The fact Ikki Igarashi isn't even named until around ten minutes in should give you an idea of how much it's concerned with the overall plot.

Naming the lead character isn't the only thing the movie is coy about either, as despite their prominence in the story the film is purposely vague about the Deadmans as well. Olteca appears in his monster form, but that's the only real connection there is to the series here. What it does manage to get across instead though is just how the Deadmans work - corrupting people and exploiting their insecurities to bolster their ranks. Visually the film doesn't do enough to set the Deadmans apart from all the other Kamen Rider villains we've seen over the years, but that tidbit of info does at the very least provide a nice little hook to make them seem engaging. As far as the wider Revice cast is concerns Igarashi siblings Daiji and Sakura also make a fleeting appearance, which in the context of the film doesn't amount to much but perhaps hints to the significance of their relationship in the series itself.

Ikki and ViceRevi takes to the air

Instead Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie is all about showing off exactly who Kamen Rider Revice is, and just what can this 50th anniversary Rider and his quirky demon partner do. Like the Zenkaiger movie before it, it's about the gimmicks and the action. A wafer-thin plot is sandwiched between two big action sequences, which succinctly show off the pair's abilities, form changes and gimmicks. The movie setting certainly serves to make these fights seem much bigger than they necessarily would in the series, particularly in the first's transition from outdoor amusement park to indoor water park. It also serves as a great showcase of Revice's unique hover bike, which makes it even more of a shame that it's appeared as little in the show as normal bikes tend to these days. If you're into Kamen Rider largely for the fight sequences then it's a good watch, as the movie very clearly has something to prove in that it needs to make Revice look as enticing as possible. 

What little story the film has outside of the action sees Ikki and Vice play a prank on two unsuspecting landowners (who do later appear in the series) looking to take control of the Igarashi bathhouse, which is not only a prime bit of child-friendly comedy but helps set out the relationship between the two Riders as well. Vice always takes things a bit too far, but Ikki has a mischievous and somewhat hot-blooded streak in him as well. While it isn't strictly needed because all of this can be gauged from the fight sequences anyway, it does work nicely in parallel to those scenes - highlighting the relationship both in and out of costume. It's also the perfect place to show off Vice's penchant for breaking the fourth wall, since the timing of the movie's release allows it to work to full effect.

However above all else at the very least, the film is worth watching just for the end credits sequence. Here we see Ikki and Vice fooling around in the bathhouse still in full costume, and it's just one of those gloriously silly bits of Kamen Rider shenanigans that are always a pleasure to behold. Them pathetically squabbling and throwing rubber ducks at each other followed by Ikki effectively advertising how great his family's bathhouse is tells you just as much about these characters' personalities and relationship as the rest of the film does, so of course quickly becomes the most memorable part of the entire thing. When Bandai unveiled the Revice Figuarts at this year's Tamashii Nations event in a full bathhouse diorama they knew exactly what they were doing, because god knows that's how I want to display them after seeing this.

The Spider DeadmansA victory bath

All in all Kamen Rider Revice the Movie isn't a whole lot to write home about, but it at least does what it was intended to do. It's a proof of concept mini-movie intended to hype audiences up for the forthcoming series, which it does without incorporating any of the wider anniversary elements that Zenkaiger's Red Battle! All Sentai Rally! had. On the one hand its commendable that Revice was left to stand entirely on its own merits, but on the other it makes it a far more forgettable experience. Effectively an extended action sequence with minimal plot interspersed, it's a piece that'll have far more resonance with anyone who saw it in theatres as opposed to all of us watching weeks after the series began.

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