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"From a city of futuristic proportions, a new legend will be made to save it. Human or not."
- Official tagline

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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 revolves around Ray Daichi as he becomes the titular Blitzivan by his sister Ivy Daichi. However, though, things began to tense up when Ray discovers that his sister has a connection with an evil organization that he faces and must save her sister and stop the organization's leader 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.

Plot

Teenager Ray Daichi encounters a monster attack while driving home from school and barely escapes. After being rescued by her sister Misumi Daichi, Ray is left wondering where the monsters came from, to which Ivy also wondered while planning to defeat them.

At midnight, on a secret base below Mirai City, Ornyxia appears on a holographic screen and commands its henchmen to find a power source so that they can use for their own evil schemes. Unaware to them, Misumi managed to sneak in their base and steal some necessary materials for her secret project, including a robotic endoskeleton called the Battlecon Trinity. She then hurries off to the location to where the figure's henchmen where and steal the power source first. Unfortunately, one of the henchmen noticed her, causing a massive chase with Misumi barely escaping the henchmen.

Planning a way to use the materials she stole for good use, she decides to choose Ray to be the first test subject for her secret project, dubbed the Blitzivan System. After undergoing a lengthy process, she managed to fit Ray's body with the endoskeleton, to which she uses the power source she stole from earlier as the latter. Ray is soon awake at his bed and tells his sister that he had strange dreams about him being operated by mysterious figures. At school, he discovers that he has inhuman strength and near invulnerability. While there, he finds an oval three-lined buckle that appeared on the side of his belt. Ray soon discovers that the buckle has a connection between the one he has and the one that saw in his dreams. One of Ornyxia's henchmen, Kabutron and Markenstein, later arrive at the school in order to pursue Ray. Ray intervenes and fights them but fails. With no other choice left, Ray plugs the buckle in the front of his belt, transforming him into an armored superhero. With his new body, Ray battles Kabutron and Markenstein, after which the monsters retreat.

After the battle at school, Ray, in his new form, quickly drew attention in the media, leading him to explore his newfound body's abilities while finding out the person who did it to him. The news quickly caught the attention of Ornyxia, who demands her henchmen to find the person responsible for his creation. During their mission, Soundbuster tracks a radio call which led to the discovery of Misumi's secret laboratory. While creating a motorcycle based on Ray's motorcycle, Ornyxia's henchmen soon intervene in the lab. Ivy attempts to intervene but she was overwhelmed and taken to Ornyxia's base where Ornyxia forces Misumi to create a suit that can stop Blitzivan, which worries Misumi. Ornyxia also demands her henchmen to find Blitzivan at all costs. Ornyxia soon deduces Ray's identity after seeing a picture of him in his profile, to which she develops an attraction to him.

After performing a rescue mission, Ray, as Blitzivan, soon finds Misumi secret lab that had been ransacked all over. He soon finds a control panel where its videos reveal that Misumi was the one responsible for his transformation and the reason behind it. He also discovered that it was Ornyxia's henchmen that he fought earlier, leading Ray into discovering the purpose of his new body. Ray speeds off to Ornyxia's base where he battles her henchmen and her robotic soldiers. Ray is confronted by Ornyxia and her newly-found powers as she orders Ray to surrender to her. Both of them soon fight as their heavy waves of firepower destroy the base in the process. Ornyxia threatens to kill Misumi if Ray doesn't give up the buckle, but not before Ray plugs the buckle in her belt. Ornyxia then transforms into Blitzivan's armor, unaware that the buckle's safety feature is activated, causing Ornyxia to be electrocuted and for her suit to explode due to overheating, but Ray and Misumi escaped the base just in time.

One year later, Megumi's secret lab has undergone its renovation, and Misumi presents Ray with an improved version of his motorcycle. Ray explains to her that he finally discovers the true purpose of his new body and fully accepts his new change. As Ray leaves the lab, Misumi opens a secret hatch at the lab that reveals an armored suit. Misumi decides that, with the success of the Blitzivan project, Misumi can become a hero herself and plans to become Blitzivan's new ally.

Cast

Cameos

Production

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 January 1996.

Filming

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

Effects

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.

Release

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.

Marketing

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.

Home media

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.

Reception

Box office

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.

Critical reception

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, praising its story, characters, special effects, and action sequences. The film holds an approval rating of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 126 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Blitzivan: Born to be Reloaded may need some heavy repairing here and there, but it's entertaining characters and solid direction proves that it can stand up on its own." 77% on Google. Additionally, the film received a positive score of 75% on Metacritic.

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).

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