- "From a city of futuristic proportions, a new legend will be made to save it. Human or not."
- - Official tagline
Blitzivan: Born to be Reloaded (also known in Europe and Asia as Blitzivan: Generation 1) is a 1997 El Kadsrean tokusatsu superhero film directed by Frederick Lloyd, written by Max Axis and Akira Hisashi. The film stars Patrick Cruz, Paulina Tan, Hiromi Yuzawa, David Bay, Garry Shimoda, Sean De Guzman, Eric Santiago, and Akoi Hibiki. The film centers on a mute teenager named Ray Daichi who, after being implanted with an advanced robotic body by her sister Ivy Daichi, is driven to use his newfound abilities against a high-tech sorceress named Ornyxia.
The film was released on September 26, 1997, and was a critical and financial success, receiving positive reviews from critics and grossing $265 million worldwide against its $90 million budget.
Ray Daichi, a mute high-school student encounters a monster while driving home from school. The monster, in an attempt to prevent Ray from revealing its existence, attempts to kill him but Ray managed to flee using his motorcycle. The monster eventually catches up and destroys Ray's motorcycle, causing it to explode and leaving him in a critical condition. The monster soon prepares for the final blow but was unsuccessful when the SWAT team appeared.
Ray soon finds himself in a hospital room, where Misumi Daichi, Ray's older sister, relieves at his awakening. Misumi soon hatches a plan to find a way to defeat the monster without Ray's knowledge. Soon after Ray was discharged from the hospital, Misumi, with the aid of several homemade robots that she reprogrammed, secretly builds a weaponized endoskeleton with an indestructible shell but is conflicted when she needed a power source to run it. Misumi heads to the Mirai City's local museum to retrieve a powerful crystal, after reading it through a news article, unaware that two monsters, known as Lacynite and Oragor, were inside as well. Misumi manages to successfully steal the crystal and escaped when Lacynite senses her presence.
After powering up the new body using the crystal, Misumi takes an asleep Ray into their home's underground laboratory and performs an operation on him that implanted his brain into the endoskeleton and augmented with various microchips. Soon after the operation, Ray wakes up in his bed with no recollection of earlier events. During a walk around Mirai City's local park, he soon spots Lacynite, the same monster who attacked him. Instead of fleeing, Ray attempts to fight Lacynite, and as soon Ray was about to be killed, a white light soon engulfs Ray, revealing a body in white armor. Ray fights Lacynite again, this time with success, causing Lacynite to flee.
- Patrick Cruz as Ray Daichi/Blitzivan
- Seiji Takaiwa as Blitzivan (suit)
- Paulina Tan as Misumi Daichi
- Hiromi Yuzawa as Ornyxia
- Nozomi Emiyo as Ornyxia's Double
In June of 1994, writer and director Max Axis, who was at high school at the time, submitted an incomplete script to El TV Kadsre Films for a science-fiction action film. Once the executives read the script, they liked it but advised Max to rewrite and revise a few points to make it more original. So Max rewrote the script and brought alongside fellow co-writer Akira Hisashi to give her own ideas into the script. Once they completed the revised script, they submitted it to El TV Kadsre Film's executives again, this time with much more confidence. The executives actually enjoyed the revised script and settled on a budget of $90 million.
However, the project was on hold for 2 years until Max got graduated in high school. And soon, right after he graduated high school and finished writing his first film The Roboroach, production of the film began in March 1995.
Principal photography had begun on February 16, 1996, to August 29, 1996. However, though, the date was extended to September 12, due to the stunt doubles often injuring themselves and the number of technical issues that occurred during filming. It was filmed in El Kadsre City, Teenjo, Tokyo, Sydney, and Hong Kong
To keep the film's budget intact, the director insisted on using practical effects more than CGI. The suits made for the film were designed by El TV Kadsre Film's Special Effects Department. Some of the designs that were intended to use CGI with them were either scrapped or used in other films with much larger budgets. Some of El TV Kadsre Films' sound stages in the El TV Kadsre Television Centre were used for Ivy's Secret Lab and the Makriox's base, Suzuki, one of the film's sponsors, provided the Hypercycle as well as the bikes that the Makriox troopers ride on during the film while Mazda designed and provided the Mazda RX-7 for Ivy's car, the NX-39 Sparrow.
The visual effects were made by CiGiWOW and Zecter Media. Due to the director's request, they opted to minimize the use of CGI and digital compositing as much as possible. The film uses CGI for the film's background plates (with some scenes, the CG backgrounds were replaced with miniatures), the laser rays that the weapons made, and some scenes when Blitzivan needed to transform a part of his body into a weapon. This was the last film CiGiWOW made before they were filed for bankruptcy.
Blitzivan: Born to be Reloaded held its world premiere at the Hendring Cinemas in El Kadsre on October 28, 1997. It then held its U.S. premiere at the El Captian Theatre in Hollywood on September 4, 1997. The film was officially released in El Kadsre on September 26, 1997, and received an international release in the United States on October 5, 1997, where the film's distribution rights were handled by R.A. Releasing.
The film's teaser trailer premiered on the screenings of Nova Orbis 4: Death Race, Blueworld, Boys of Uprising and Codename: Lightning. In addition, Hasbro produced a line of action figures based on the characters of the film. El TV Kadsre Films spent $20 million to promote the film. In addition, a novelization of the film was produced, written by co-writer Akira Hisashi.
The film was released on VHS, TVD, Laserdisc, and DVD four months later, on January 20, 1998, in the El Kadsreian Islands by El TV Kadsre Home Entertainment, Australia by Roadshow Entertainment and the US and Canada by Buena Vista Home Video.
In early August of 2007, the film was re-released on Blu-Ray that contained additional unused scenes, a new commentary with writers Max Axis and Akira Hisashi, special features not included in the original DVD release, and a sneak preview of the then-upcoming Blitzivan: 10 Years Later.
In 2017, to commemorate the Blitzivan franchise's 20th anniversary and to celebrate the then-upcoming release of Blitzivan: 20 Years Later, all of the main theatrical and television films were included in the Blitzivan: The Ultimate Collection two-disc set.
The film has also been released on Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.
Canceled video game
A video game based on the movie was planned to be developed by Seymour Games, and was originally set to be released for the Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn, Theorysonic SphereBox, TS-UGOS, and Microsoft Windows but was later canceled due to unspecified reasons. The official trailer for the game can still be seen in the film's VHS release.
The film initially received $67 million in the first run, in which the director described at first was "a bit disappointing". But by its second week, the film quickly received $175 million worldwide and after that, received $265 million, breaking its expected $223 million revenue.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes holds the film an 82% rating based on 113 reviews, with an audience score of 7.64/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Blitzivan: Born to be Reloaded may have some malfunctions here and there, but its enjoyable characters and the film's overall sci-fi twist ensures that it can still function on its own." Metacritic gave the film a score of 74 out of 100, based on 72 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
El Kadsrean critic David Sududikino gave the film three stars out of four, calling it "a well-made and original tokusatsu that may not be part of Technic Heroes itself, but proves it doesn't have to be."
Sequels and franchise
The film's success spawned an entire franchise starting with Blitzivan 2: Type Overload, Blitzivan 3: Dark Eclipse, Blitzivan 4: The Last Act, and Blitzivan: 10 Years Later. The following films after 10 Years Later were released as television films (though they were released theatrically in some countries).