You’ve spent the last fifty years in a never-aging cyborg body. Now, your most recent potential villain offers to return your humanity. All you have to do is walk away. This is the central dilemma of Cyborg009: Call of Justice: Chapter 2.
[This article contains spoilers for Cyborg009: Call of Justice: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. For a spoiler-free look at the movies, check out our look at the first film.]
When we left our heroes at the end of the first film, they were framed as terrorists and on the run from both the law and the immortal mutant Illuminati that has been controlling the planet from the shadows for centuries. Chapter 2 begins as our heroes realize that their dreams of a peaceful life in seclusion are further away now than ever before.
The world governments and the UN mecha taskforce, the Guardians, believe the group has turned to murder to get back into the spotlight of a world that no longer needs them. Hunted and with no one to turn to, the 00 Cyborgs have no choice but to gather proof on the existence of the mutant Illuminati and try to figure out their sinister plan.
This in turn introduces the two new evil mutants that the team is up against. One is a technokenetic, able to control machinery through the power of thought alone. With robotic tech far surpassing even that of the cyborgs, this Iron Man-esque villain can hack both the Guardian’s mecha and the cyborg’s bodies.
The other villain for this chapter is far more pragmatic than evil. He has no interest in fighting the cyborgs. Yes, they are in the way, but better to appease them than fight them. And with his powers, he can take the cyborgs out of the game and grant their greatest wish in one simple stroke: he can turn them human again.
With no powers or augmentations, they are not a threat and can be completely ignored. This leaves our heroes, Joe and Francoise specifically, with an enormous moral quandary. If they just agree to walk away, they get the normal life together they’ve longed for. And while the mutants did attack the cyborgs to try and recover their stolen property, it’s not even certain that the mutants have any kind of evil plan despite their shadowy control of the world.
The Guardians are the third force in this secret war between the cyborgs and mutants. Supposedly created to replace the cyborgs after the fall of the cold war, the Guardians make an excellent counter to the cyborgs. While they could be treated as nothing but cannon fodder for the heroes, the Guardians live up to the in-universe hype. With numbers and firepower, they prove to be a match for the Cyborgs time and time again–winning as much as losing. But this isn’t just because of their firepower. Their leader and his second-in-command win because they can out-think the Cyborgs tactically when the chips are down.
The additional layer to the cyborgs fighting the Guardians is that the cyborgs refuse to kill the guardians, leaving a trail of police corpses is hardly the way to prove you’re being framed. At the same time, the Guardians, honorable good guys noticing that something is off, would rather capture the cyborgs than kill them. Of course, the mutant’s own agent within the Guardians is more than happy to escalate the conflict in such a way as to leave the cyborgs good and dead with their secrets untold.
It is this traitor in the ranks, Katarina, that proves the most interesting character of the film. Your typical no-nonsense officer, there were more than a few hints in the first film that she wasn’t really following the orders of her commander but it’s obvious from the start in the second film where her true loyalties lie. As we learn more about the mutants’ plan, her involvement with the cyborgs becomes more and more interesting.
While it’s obvious she is committed to the mutant plan, she sees in Joe a possibility that shakes her very faith in the necessity of what she’s doing. Like with the idea of Ivan being a mutant as well as a cyborg in the last film, Chapter 2 throws out the potential that Joe’s power isn’t exactly what we always thought it was.
And as for Ivan, well, let’s just say that he’s more than willing to hear his mutant brothers out–especially when they reveal the actual purpose of their plan.
All in all, Cyborg009: Call of Justice: Chapter 2, is exactly what you’d expect from the series: a fun, action-filled tale of superpowered teamwork. It builds new layers onto the decades-old characters and weaves a mystery that continues to be entertaining even as it heads into its final chapter.
Cyborg009: Call of Justice: Chapter 2 was released in Japanese theaters on December 2, 2016. There is currently no word on a Western release.