Release Date: April 6th, 1968 (Japan)
Directed by: Kazuho Mitsuta
Written by: Shin’ichi Sekizawa, Eizaburo Shiba
Music by: Isao Tomita, Kunio Miyauchi
Cast: Hideaki Nitani, Naoko Kubo, Hiroshi Minami
Fuji Television Network, Tsuburaya Productions, King Features Entertainment, 95 Minutes
Mighty Jack is a pretty unwatchable flick. It was featured in the original season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 when it was on local TV in Minnesota. It was then reused in the third season of the show, after it went national on cable.
The main reason that this thing is unwatchable, is because it isn’t really a movie. It is two episodes of the Japanese tokusatsu show Mighty Jack edited together into a feature length presentation by American distributor Sandy Frank.
An even bigger issue, is that it is comprised of episodes one and six, with none of the footage from the four episodes in-between them. It is a total mess and frankly, a slap in the face to the great work of legendary special effects producer and studio head Eiji Tsuburaya.
In fact, the show that this was based on was one of Tsuburaya’s most cherished creations. It focused on the characters and the human elements of the show and didn’t rely on evil aliens, the supernatural or giant kaiju creatures like his Ultra franchise and his work in Godzilla pictures.
This film version, does not, in any way, reflect the greatness and uniqueness of the television show.
Additionally, it probably doesn’t resonate for those who aren’t familiar with Japanese tokusatsu. Even then, it doesn’t feature a lot of the things that are sort of implied just by being in the tokusatsu genre: kaiju and other creatures.
It does feature a lot of cool vehicles and the characters are part of a defense force, similar to those in most of the Ultraman shows. It’s just a different type of tokusatsu. In Japan, it wasn’t a huge success but the show that followed, Fight! Mighty Jack did much better, as it did feature creatures.
I can’t speak for the show, as I haven’t seen it in its entirety, but it is obvious that this feature length version isn’t a good representation of it.