Not the best GTO, but still worth it
A. Berg | Norway | 07/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Contrary to what the promotional blurb says, the GTO movie is the final instalment in the live-action franchise - not the first. Not that the fact is terribly important - it tells such a self-contained story that one doesn't really need to watch the preceding 12-episode TV series and two-hour special in order to "get it" (as long as one is already familiar with the Onizuka character). If one really wants to view it as such, it may even work as a sequel to the previously released anime series.
However, the lack of continuity with the previous instalments is the film's greatest weakness, from a GTO fan's perspective. Whereas the TV series found a satisfying conclusion, the two-hour special did not. It ended with what could only be described as a cliff-hanger, leaving some very specific questions unanswered, plot points one would assume were left to be resolved in the movie. Unfortunately, the movie appears to almost ignore everything that came before it, only paying lip-service with a couple of vague references (as well as featuring the TV series' title song heavily in the score and a nice remixed version over the end credits).
Onizuka himself is the only character to re-appear, and the new bunch of students just aren't as interesting as the ones in the TV series grew to be (although with the limited running time of a feature film, that is to be expected). These are reasons why, when viewed as the conclusion to Onizuka's live-action adventures, the GTO movie disappoints. When viewed as a stand-alone GTO story, though, it is entertaining enough.
This is my least favorite GTO incarnation. But it's still GTO, it's still good for some laughs, and it's still worth getting on DVD. Here's hoping that Media Blasters will bring over the excellent TV series as well!"
Hot Air Balloon
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 03/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Masayuki Suzuki who would later direct Hero helmed the movie from the GTO series. Takashi Sorimachi plays the irreverent teacher Eikichi Onizuka. Sorimachi mugs mercilessly in a "wink wink nod nod" fashion. Thus, he indicates comedy without being funny. The supporting characters such as the vice principal who seems to have chronically had a bad day and the criminal who wants to get caught are also played with a broad comic stroke. Ayano Katsuragi played by Rena Tanaka lends reality to her role as the misunderstood rich girl that people only like for her family's money. Her father, Mr. Katsuragi, who owns the businesses in the little town Horobonai, is the emotionally distant villain who calls the poor students "trash." The film is surreal & lighthearted, giving it the feel of a musical without the musical numbers. The visuals in the film are captivating such as the hot air balloon that lands at the school in the middle of an assembly. Overall, the DVD is entertaining. Enjoy!"