Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where lower budgets make better movies. Today, we’re examining one of the rare 1-out-of-5s where the laughs are intentional: 2011’s Manborg!
What’s The Plot?
A young soldier is killed during Hell’s invasion of Earth and is resurrected in the distant dystopian future as Manborg! This inept living weapon joins up with a prickly band of unwilling gladiators/resistance fighters to overthrow Count Draculon and the armies of Hell. Can they succeed where the armies or the world failed?
Who Made This Thing?
Astron-6, a small Canadian production company devoted to satirizing the horror and sci-fi of the 1980’s. They write, produce, star, and do the special effects for their flicks and do so on the cheap – this movie allegedly cost $1000, although that can only be true if a lot of people donated their time. Their most notable work other than Manborg would probably be Father’s Day, distributed by the legendary Troma Entertainment.
Five Reasons to See It
- THE SPECIAL EFFECTS. The legions of Hell are created using a combination of practical make-up effects and stop-motion animation, with most of the movie being shot on a digital backlot like the Sin City movies or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It looks amazing. That’s probably where they spent all $1000 of the budget, as they blow away the special effects seen in higher budget b-movies (*cough* Birdemic *cough cough*.)
- The heroes: Number One Man, the amusingly dubbed over kung-fu master! Justice, the inexplicably Australian illiterate gunslinger! Mina, Justice’s sister who’s not at all Australian!
Manborg, who has no idea how future technology works – which includes his new body!
- After escaping from prison, Number One Man and Justice attempt to make ramen. Justice causes it to explode.
- Stay after the credits for an equally over-the-top trailer for the fake movie Biocop. Oh, and stay after that for a copyright notice that becomes a scrolling stream of consciousness that goes on for a solid minute.
- “All right Justice, all right buddy, c’mon, sound it out…gee…ahr…a backwards three? …grenades, grenades, GRENADES! OH MY GAAAWWWD!”
This movie is a mix of backyard movie-making that you’d expect from YouTube and special effects on par with a good live action Sega CD game. The script feels like somebody dusted off the totally badass screenplay they started in middle school and polished it up to add intentional humor. This movie does on purpose what movies like Birdemic and the Miami Connection do accidentally and does it without coming off as too self-aware or “ironic”. It is absolutely worth a watch, so go check it however you can.
NEXT WEEK: Former Captain America Reb Brown fights dinosaurs with his butt hanging out in 1983’s Yor, The Hunter from the Future!