Humanity has been forced into submission by a maniacal super-computer dubbed Dorothy that suffers from delusions of one day attaining godhood. The only thing standing between Dorothy and her dream is a viral program developed by her creator and implanted into the head of a girl named Lilia. The story, however, starts with a young man, Rion as he awakens in Michelangero Memorial Hospital devoid of any memories and lashes out against the hospital drones with his newfound psychokinetic and pyrotechnic powers. He lays waste to everything in his way and makes his way home where reality soon comes crashing in with devastating results.
Galerians: Rion is based upon a long out-of-print survival horror game for Playstation named Galerians. Many a gamer has likened Galerians to Resident Evil, only coked out on drugs, and this movie makes that analogy pretty apparent. It isn't scary in the least by today's standards, but the Akira-esque psychic sequences do make for some interesting fight sequences.
The actual plot is directly lifted from the first Galerians game and, for better or worse, mirrors it almost exactly. The four main areas and multiple boss battles are recreated in glorious CG animation for one seamless viewing experience. The animation in no way even touches that of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but it does match that of any given video game cut scene. There are some great textures here for the buildings and some down right awesome lighting effects, but the character models could have used some extra work. In fact, some of the lesser lip flap is down right laughable, not to mention confusing, at times.
Unfortunately, while the movie is entertaining in its own right, it lacks any form of suspense. Without even having played the game, it's relatively easy to deduce what is about to happen at any point in this movie. By the thirty-minute mark, it becomes downright apparent that the action is centered on moving to a new location, having some form of minor interlude attack, and then a major fight sequence (i.e. boss fight). While not jarring, it doesn't help the viewer to actually feel for the baddies when the actually bite the big one.
Where Galerians: Rion does shine is in the audio department. This release sports a whopping set of five audio tracks, including: Japanese 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo, English 2.0 stereo with the original music and sound effect cues, as well as a totally new English 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo mixes featuring music from some of today's hottest artists. Image Entertainment even released a soundtrack with all the great music that Slipknot, Sevendust, Adema, and so many others contributed to this film, but none of that really matters because the new audio mix is virtually unwatchable unless for the shear rave aspect of it.
I'm not saying the new music is bad. No, it is actually quite good and has very hard edge to it that is very befitting of this movie. It's just the tracks mute out far too much of the movie's actual sound effects making it hard to follow what is actually going on and even feel the scenes. One particular scene worth noting is at the very beginning when the soldiers are clomping towards the lab where Rion has just started his rampage. In the three audio streams that sport the original sound effects, the loud clanking of the soldier's boots can be heard giving the scene the feeling weight. The revised audio mixes have a technoish track playing over this scene and the clanks are all but gone leaving the scene without any sense of impending doom. That's an extreme example, but it was enough for this reviewer to switch audio tracks.
Audio issues aside, Galerians is a relatively engaging film and is on par with most of the other video game movies from years past. And hey, it does stay true to its video game source and even sparks a desire in give the video game it is based on or even its Playstation 2 sequel, Galerians: Ash a try. Where movies like this are concerned, that's really all this release could have hoped for: bring the original game's story to the largest possible group and making them want to try out the game.