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The Film's Theatrical Poster
|Directed by||Masato Harada|
|Produced by||Yoshishige Shimatani
|Written by||James Bannon
|Music by||Toshiyuki Honda
|Editing by||Yoshitami Kuroiwa|
Manga Entertainment (Australia and the UK)
|Running time||100 min.|
In 2038, a gang of scavengers infiltrate an industrial complex on an island within a prohibited zone. They are looking for the element Texmexium, which is rare and very valuable. The scavengers are killed off by the automated defenses, until only Brooklyn, the group's mechanic, is left.
He discovers a stranded Texas Air Ranger and two children living among the complex's rubble. Together, they must destroy the Kyron-5 computer in order to escape and warn humanity. Brooklyn discovers a GUNHED (from "Gun UNit Heavy Elimination Device") combat robot left over from when a battalion of Gunheds were sent to destroy Kyron-5. Brooklyn works to restore it to operation. Meanwhile, Babe, one of the scavengers killed earlier, has been transformed into a bio-droid and is seeking out Sergeant Nim and the Texmexium she stole.
In order to save her and destroy Kyron-5, Brooklyn must overcome his fear of flying and pilot the GUNHED to the top of the complex's tower. The computer's single large defence is the robotic Aerobot.
The concept for the film came from a story contest that Toho held in 1986, which was to decide on the narrative for the next installment in the Heisei Godzilla series. James Bannon was the contestant who was noted for his Godzilla 2 script, which had the King of the Monsters facing off against a giant computer, but was beat out by Shinichiro Kobayashi with his early draft for Godzilla vs. Biollante. However, Toho did not scrap Bannon's second place entry, but instead had Masato Harada heavily rework the idea, removing Godzilla and other elements from the film, until they were left with the final product. Harada had his name removed from the US version; he is credited as Alan Smithee instead. The Gunhed was designed by Shoji Kawamori. The tank prop that portrayed Gunhed is in Japan on public display. The image of Gunhed has been digitized into several early generation space shooting games, but the actual version of the tank was never used and was replaced by a flying spaceship.
A video game based on the film was released for the PC-Engine. In North America, it was localized as Blazing Lazers. The Front Line Assembly music video for their 1992 single "Mindphaser" was created with a mixture of footage from Gunhed, with some original filming of the band members in a cyberpunk style. The William Gibson novel Virtual Light includes an armored patrol vehicle nicknamed "Gunhead". James Cameron, the director of Avatar, is a fan of the film.
- Masahiro Takashima as Brooklyn
- Brenda Bakke as Sergeant Nim, Texas Air Ranger
- Aya Enyoji as Babe
- Yujin Harada as Seven
- Kaori Mizushima as Eleven
- Brewster Thompson as Barabbas James
- Doll Nguyen as Boomerang
- Jay Kabira as Bombbay
- Randy Reyes as Gunhed (Voice)
- Mickey Curtis as Bansho the Captain of Mary Ann
- Yosuke Saito as Boxer
- Michael Yancy as the Narrator
Notes and references