The world of Dragon Ball is quite vast, and spans multiple series like Dragon Ball, Dragonball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Super, as well as a lot of movies (including one that we never talk about…you know the one I’m talking about). Unfortunately, a large majority of these movies aren’t canon, which means there’s really no point in watching a lot of them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch them if you want to. One of these movies is Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge. Released in 1991, Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge is the fifth Dragon Ball Z movie ever released, but is it even worth watching now? Before you read any further, it’s important for you to know that there will be spoilers for Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge ahead, so if you want to skip those spoilers, I would go right to the end of the article.
Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge begins with a flashback of Bardock, Goku’s father, facing off with the rest of the Saiyans against Frieza, which ultimately ends in the demise of the entire Saiyan race. The camera then shows an escape pod with a child on its way to Earth; that child was Goku. We then see another ship that has picked up on the Saiyan escape pod, and while the henchmen we see on screen get ready to eliminate it, an unknown entity comes out and tells them to leave it for Frieza to clean up, because it falls into Frieza’s territory. It turns out that this unknown entity was none other than Frieza’s brother, Cooler. We then move forward more than 20 years into the future; Goku has defeated Frieza, and Cooler wants revenge. Hence the title, Cooler’s Revenge. Cooler takes his squadron of goons – Salza, Neiz, and Doore – on a mission to defeat Goku once and for all, and restore his family’s honor. They end up ambushing Goku, Gohan, Krillin, Oolong, and everyone’s favorite dragon Icarus, on a camping trip, and Goku is badly wounded after protecting Gohan by taking Cooler’s Death Beam to the back. Krillin and Oolong end up finding a cave in which to hide Goku while Gohan goes to Korin Tower for some Senzu Beans.
After a while, Gohan obtains the beans and is on his way back when Cooler’s goonies are alerted by Icarus’ new power after Gohan gives him a Senzu Bean. They end up fighting for a while, Piccolo eventually shows up to rescue Gohan (as usual), and Gohan goes flying away to give the beans to Goku. Unfortunately, just as Gohan gets back and is about to give the beans to Goku when Salza destroys the bag of Senzu Beans that Yajirobe gave Gohan. Luckily, Yajirobe tossed Gohan another Senzu Bean that Gohan tucked away in his clothes rather than the bag, so he was still able to give Goku the health-restoring bean. Goku eventually fights Cooler, who can also transform like Frieza, except Cooler claims that he can transform into a level even higher than Frieza. This leads him to pummel the hell out of Goku, but then Goku sees a bird that has died due to the battle, and that combined with everything else happening around them sends Goku into a rage that brings out his Super Saiyan abilities. Cooler throws a massive Death Ball at Goku in a pointless effort to stop the Saiyan, but Goku throws it back at him and sends him hurtling into the sun. Then everything is right as rain…or so we think. It turns out that Salza is still alive, but Piccolo sends a Special Beam Cannon right through his chest, and then looks to the sky and the movie ends.
Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge sees a drastic improvement in animation over the previous movies. While there are still some occasional anomalies here and there, and actually quite a few frames that are drastically lower-quality than others, there is a massive improvement in the overall quality of animation in Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge.
I think the fights in Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge are really solid…for the most part. When Piccolo came to save Gohan and ended up frying Neiz, and said “Eat this,” I almost lost it. While I do enjoy most of the fights in Cooler’s Revenge, there’s still one burning question that I’m left wondering: how on Earth did Goku beat Cooler in 15 minutes, when it took him an entire story arc to beat Frieza? I mean, Cooler is supposed to be insanely stronger than Frieza, right? So, why did Goku use seemingly way less power, but still manage to beat Cooler? I just don’t get it.
Is it Worth Your Time?
Yes. I would definitely recommend watching Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge, especially because it is one of the few movies that is canon to the rest of the Dragon Ball story, it has some fantastic moments, is all-around a pretty fun film. I’m still confused why camping is such an integral part of Dragon Ball Z movie stories, though.