on May 6, 2013
So, after seeing the awesomely crazy trailer for Manborg, I decided to blind-buy it for a "Bad Movie Night" with my friends. We typically watch these kinds of movies for an unintentional laugh, a la Mystery Science Theater 3000, and the low-budget look and goofy nature of the trailer seemed like it would fit in that category.
We were wrong. It was actually a genuinely awesome movie.
The thing is, despite the cheesy effects, it's truly amazing what Astron-6 pulled off with such a bare-bones budget, and it provides a loving tribute to 80's VHS B-Movie Sci-Fi and to 90's live action videogame cutscenes (yes, really). There is also some crazy scope provided, with detailed cityscapes and creative stop motion animation used to make such a tiny movie feel much bigger.
It also helps that the cast plays their parts with a mix of overt seriousness and silliness that keeps everything funny throughout. Once again, I mean GENUINELY funny, not unintentionally. The writing plays on the silliness of the story and gives us a character with intentionally goofy/melodramatic dubbing (A martial artist named "#1 Man", who is very much inspired by Liu Kang from the original Mortal Kombat arcade game) and an Australian gunman who is an all-out 80's pop star complete with random bouts of dancing (and who hilariously is shown giving the same thumbs-up multiple times during a training montage).
It's all rounded out with a fake movie trailer after the credits: Bio-Cop. This had everyone on the floor laughing, as it was a brief but genius idea about a cop who is forever locked in agonizing biological transformation after an accident involving chemicals. It would never work as a feature film, but as a 5 minute sketch it's one of the funniest and most disgusting ideas I've ever seen put on film. Trust me, it's THAT good, and I don't want to spoil any more.
Manborg certainly won't be for everybody, as it still has the elements of so-bad-it's-good cinema in its veins. The difference between this and, say, The Room or Birdemic is that the film knows how stupid it is and it wants you to laugh along with it. It's not a bad movie, but rather a great comedic love-letter to the B-Movies of yesteryear, albeit one with the same (if not even lower) budget than those movies.
It's never too late... to be a hero!
Proving that they can be both funny and entertaining when they put their minds to it, the Canadians of Astron-6 made "Manborg" for about $1,000. Don't let the bare-bones budget scare you off: despite cheesy special effects and obvious corner-cutting, the film is quite well done and is certainly entertaining, especially if you happen to enjoy gentle mockery of and homage to numerous 1980s films such as "Robocop". Here we discover that the evil Count Draculon and his minions conquering Earth. There is lots of fighting and insane action and at one point we see a soldier die at the hand of Draculon, which presages some restoration with power tools (think "Robocop").
Number One Man and Justice are strange prisoner buddies and Manborg joins them in the joint (I was especially fond of the astonishing voices and dubbing) where we're also introduced to Mina, the local hottie. Prisoners here have to fight gladiator style, but fortunately Manborg has both a giant afro and a machine gun hand, which is hard to control. Dr. Scorpius controls these fights and also created Manborg. In short order we see an exciting scene of water boiling, the worst Australian accent ever filmed (from Justice, and which always made me laugh), and Mina going off to the Genesis Tower to fight Draculon. ("It's never too late to be a hero!") The training montage is hilarious, and eventually the fight ends up being Manborg versus Draculon, which was a foregone conclusion, while the other three good guys duke it out with the evil henchmen (I particularly enjoyed Justice's "dancing shootout" scene). It's no surprise that in a team effort Draculon is defeated, but at a high price: Mina is dead. Fortunately Manborg has the ability to revive her, but at the cost of his own life, dying a hero. This is a lot of movie for $1,000!
For such a low budget property, this DVD has a lot of extras: there are deleted and alternate scenes, bloopers, a behind the scenes feature (which is fairly boring, honestly), a visual effects montage (which is modest but interesting), and a short film "Fantasy Beyond" featuring a stop motion monster man versus rock and roll cops in an art gallery (I particularly liked this). There are also some interviews, a question and answer session, and a trailer. All in all a very nice package.
on July 20, 2015
Everything about this movie is stupid and cheesy and over-the-top…but for some people that works. You know who you are. ;)
Kung Fury (2015) meets Mutant Hunt (1986) with a dash of cracked out Robot Chicken (2005-present) and Flash Gordon (1980) in this trashy collage of schlock, super cheap effects and stop-motion creatures.
So here's the short synopsis by IMDB: "A soldier, brought back to life as a cyborg, fights alongside a band of adventurers against demon hordes in a dystopian future." If that doesn't make you want to see this movie entirely on its own, then you probably shouldn't watch this.
"Earth, the legacy of the Hell Wars when mankind fought the armies of Hell and Hell won… With every passing hour, another nation crumbles to the technological might of this unholy menace, and their monstrous leader Count Draculon."
The film is choppy and it appears as if actors are being greenscreened over a 1990s videogame backdrop as soldiers battle Doom zombie pseudo-Nazis with laser guns and stop-motion monster zombie shock troopers. In fact, this feels a lot like watching a videogame…while on drugs. One brave man in the battle field goes toe-to-toe with the evil warlord Count Draculon (a Nazi vampire demon from Hell?) and is left for dead.
This man becomes Manborg (Matthew Kennedy; Father's Day) in a cybernetics montage. Laser hoverboards, combat droids, cheap computer graphics, even cheaper costumes, and a Liu Kang-ish martial arts-y sidekick named “#1 Man” mix nicely into this persistent assault on good taste—or a delightful bubble bath of bad taste, depending on your preferences.
Manborg is captured and forced to battle in the evil Nazi zombie fighting pits. Their champion is a giant claymation monster with laser rocket launchers. I loved the claymation, however bad it was. Speaking of "bad" this film was both bad and delightful (to lovers of bad films). It had a budget of $1000. 1000 DOLLARS!!!!! That in mind, this is actually quite impressive.
Massively cheap and grossly overacted, Manborg is an homage to 80s schlock trash cinema directed by Steven Kostanski (Father's Day, ABC's of Death 2 "W is for Wish"). At times the ultra-low budget and ultra-badness of it all was a bit exhausting. Other times it was weirdly refreshing. I especially enjoyed The Baron's lines, attempts at romantic courtship and awkward demeanor. Attempts at gore, however cheap they may appear, were abundant and suitably messy and gross to match the trashy scale of the rest of the film.
This film even made an attempt at a plot. You see, Manborg was actually created by the same mad scientist who accidently opened the gate to Hell in the first place. So, he made Manborg to combat this infernal evil from Hell. While doing so, Manborg delivers loads of tropes from 80s trashy action badness along with digital future-scapes and weird special effects galore.
This is CLEARLY not for everyone. But for some of you (the schlock lovers), this may be just what you need.
on July 27, 2016
What is the meaning of invention in cinema?
There is no such thing in creativity anymore since there are so many mass media and no one makes true creative work anymore.
But, this movie, there is still hope.
This guy Steven Kostanski a multi player cinema made some piece of work here.
It's a combination of ROBOCOP+ TERMINATOR+ PLAYSTATION+ANIMATION+LIVE ACTION and some serious action cool SCI-FI movie, an Ultra Low budget cinema here.
And the result was there seems to be a lot, I mean a lot of followers out there that made him possible to make another movie like this.
The movie is nothing that you've seen before.
At the beginning, you need some time to adjust to the look.
Then you will be crazy about it.
The computer graphic of the city neon lights and the fighing shots are all great considering they kind of look a little like computer game as well as live action.
Yes the movie is very light hearted nothing serious like TERMINATOR.
The charactors are funny and not that serious.
Only the Manborg seems serious but from time to time he is also joking too.
But above all, this is not a joke.
The future, the enviornment is not a joke.
They need to save the world.
Just like any other SCI-Fi movies.
Yes, there are blood scattering.
There is a bit of love.
There is street fight sequence and they are super cool.
Yes, the Manborg has a lot of weappon, cool ones that you will fall in love.
What elso you can ask for?
Will you see his other movie or not?
Hell you will.
Is this movie 71.DTS HD MASTER?
What the hell are you talking about?
These guys had no money and even the movie is mono.
The hell what do we care?
It's a damn good movie though.
Watch it and you will tumble your feel at all times for joy.
on July 20, 2013
There are generally two types of modern throwbacks to the grindhouse films of yore. I tend to favor the more fervent such as Jason Eisener's masterpiece, Hobo With A Shotgun. Hobo shows so much love, sincerity, and aspiration for its inspiration that it easily surpasses the foundation laid 40 years ago. The other type of shoutout, the silly, over-the-top, ironic comedy, usually misses the mark painfully. The folks that make up Astron-6 may walk the path of the absurdly goofy wink and nod, but they are proving themselves to be the best at it.
Manborg is the story of a soldier who has been killed in battle against an invading army of demons from Hell lead by Count Draculon. He awakens years later rebuilt and ready for revenge. Changed to be both Man and Borg, his name is Manborg. Count Draculon now reigns supreme over one of the last major cities on earth, and forces humans rounded up on the streets to battle in an arena for entertainment. Whether or not he was also the one to make them dress up as awful Street Fighter cosplayers is never brought up.
Manborg is captured and forced to battle demons alongside his newfound friends as they struggle against an increasingly unentertained Count.
Manborg will require some patience. The first thing that you notice is how much of a blurry mess the whole thing is. It looks like a flip phone camera recorded this off of another flip phone screen that was smeared in vaseline. The opening scenes are so chaotically edited and stitched together that it will hurt your brain. The film is almost completely green-screened behind real actors, and the amount of different layers projected on the screen and how they interact will make your eyes bleed. Foreground and background images move independently of each other. Each layer disregards camera movement in its own spastic way. All of this seems unbearable, but only until your brain adjusts to the schizophrenia.
Once you are introduced to the characters, all of that obnoxious visual noise fades away. The comedic timing applied to genuinely hilarious dialogue replaces tears of pain with tears of pleasure. The character comedy is the highlight. None of the characters exist to just be joke delivery systems. Each one has clearly defined personas and the comedy falls in line accordingly. None of the gags are throwaway, either. Manborg's every move is a beautiful labor of pain with mechanical whirls and gears grinding all the way to the very end. #1 Man, the Liu Kang wannabe, is voiced by another person whose vocals have been laid over the original audio. This all shows an attention to detail that comes along very rarely to comedies.
For such a visually ugly film, it does have its highlights. The stop motion bits are fantastic. They certainly aren't the most polished, and the frame counts look quite low, but they have an awesome style to them that adds a lot of character to an already character-packed film.
Overall, this is a very silly film filled with intelligent writing and clever gags. While it won't be everyone's cup of tea, Manborg deserves its place on the mantle of every offbeat comedy lover.
on July 13, 2016
This movie is INCREDIBLE! A bargain at 10 times the cost. I bought it years ago with they girlfriend after seeing it at ActionFest. I never reviewed the movie when it arrived, but years later, now we are married and we still show Manborg to guests and it never fails to start quote trading and inside jokes with people. They wrote a cool story that hasn't really been done before, and watching it really shows that a cool group of people came together to make it. If you liked Kung Fury, you will love Manborg. If the makers of this happen to look back at the reviews, I just wanna say thanks for many happy viewings.
on May 5, 2013
I'll start by saying this movie is not for everyone. If you're looking for great special effects, academy award winning acting, character development, or any type of seriousness in a film this is not the film for you.
If you were a teenager in the early nineties and remember everything that was fun from the 80's then you may enjoy what this movie is offering; a chance to relive the silliness and straight up ridiculousness of all that was action and sci-fi in the 80's and 90's. You'll know what i'm talking about if you've watched movies like Total Recall, Terminator, Tron, Robocop, any Bruce Lee movie (yea I know from the 70's) or any kung-fu movie for that matter. It also helps if you played action video games like Mortal Kombat, Duke Nukem 3D, and Street Fighter. Remember Buckaroo Banzai? Yea, think of it as something along those lines. With that said here's what I think overall.
The film does a great job at setting us up with a simple brainless plot, the special effects while very cheesy I believe are pretty darn good. When watching the film you have to think a lot of time and effort went into the making of this film. I had a great time watching this film and while it was around 70 something minutes long it felt extremely short, and in my book any movie that I enjoyed that didn't feel long is a good movie. The acting was on par with the budget of the film but again, overall I think all of the actors did a fantastic job and I sure hope they keep making good cheesy "throwback" films like this. I recommend this to anyone looking to fill in a Friday night empty slot with some fun brainless humor!
on May 30, 2014
Do you remember "Photon" or "Captain Power and the soldiers of the future"? Honestly this is the best Canadian movie that a 1000 dollars could make (according to Wikipedia the budget was 1000 dollars). I thought they stretched the 1000 dollar budget better than anyone. This movie reminds me if you put Captain Power, Photon, and Arena into the blender. Out comes this perfect milkshake of pure B movie awesomeness with a hint of 80s cartoon after taste to it. I was going in with no expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. The dialog is super cheesy and super funny. The fake trailer of Bio-Cop was a nice touch. Kind of reminds me of the Toxic Avenger combined with Maniac Cop.
on May 6, 2013
I have always been a fan of the straight-to-video movie. The 80's and early 90's were a particularly strong time for them as home video became a reality and studios popped up everywhere delivering cut price product that would be snapped up by customers who had already watched all of the big new Hollywood releases. It was an exciting time as companies like Empire Pictures and Cannon Films let filmmakers with big ideas take a shot at letting them make them a reality even if they did not have the money of their big studio counterparts. What resulted was a ton of ambitious if not always successful sci-fi, fantasy and horror that even sometimes managed to push the envelope further than the big boys in Hollywood but with a fraction of the budget and manpower. It is these movies that inspired Steven Kostanski and the rest of the Astron-6 crew to make Manborg.
A grueling three years of shooting on weekends and between other projects, then editing together and putting together the special effects, Manborg is a true labor of love. The resulting movie is not for everyone, obviously this movie was made for very, very little money and one shouldn't expect the best looking special effects or costumes. What you do get however is a movie that really feels like an homage to the films that inspired it without making fun of them. Kostanski and crew were not looking to get cheap laughs off deliberate kitsch value and cheesiness, this movie is full of jokes and is genuinely very funny. There's still plenty of action thanks to Konstanki's skill with cheap CGI and stop motion animation, this is without a doubt a movie that looks like totally unlike anything else that's coming out in 2013.
Not only do you get that snappy sci-fi action extravaganza but you also get a short film after the end credits, a mock trailer for BIO-COP. If you've ever enjoyed that particularly nasty kind of gore where people melt into ooze and it's all ridiculously over the top gruesomeness you will get a big kick out of BIO-COP. Also on the DVD is another short film, bloopers, deleted scenes and so on. My favorite extra by far is the interview segment which highlights the seriously bizarre and off-kilter sense of humor you can expect from Astron-6.
Support independent genre cinema! Even if you're not a fan of low-budget fare like this, you really have to admire the work that went into it getting made. I can't recommend it highly enough.
on January 9, 2014
I have a problem with some of these sci-fi genre far future movies: they usually start to drag near the end. I suspect this is because in near future sci-fi films like Robocop there's still plenty of character development while in far future sci-fi films the special fx usually take center stage leaving little room for character development. This was not the case at all with Manborg, though admittedly it is only a little over an hour long. But what an hour it was!!!!! For this price you really should give this movie a chance.
This film captured perfectly the feel of an 80's Roger Corman-esque low budget sci-fi movie. The humor was actually laugh out loud funny, and the cast was perfect.
Pick this up!!!!!!