There seems to be a revival of cheesy 80s-style movies as of late and I absolutely love it. The crazy crew at Astron-6 have bestowed upon us Manborg, the ultimate homage to the era. Sometimes you just want to kick back with your friends, make some popcorn and laugh your ass off at a silly, fun flick. If a cyborg man fighting hordes of vampire Nazis in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk future sounds like a good idea to you—we should be best friends. Now don’t get me wrong, Manborg isn’t a good film by any stretch. However, it is aware of this fact and revels in being as awesomely terrible as possible—tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The plot sounds like it was ripped out of the notebook of a twelve-year-old boy: demon vampire Nazis from Hell overthrow the Earth and a reincarnated cyber-soldier known as Manborg is the only person/borg who can stop them. The main villain’s name is Count Draculon (how kick-ass is that?!). This isn’t Shakespeare but it fits the theme perfectly and with a 60 minute runtime, it never drags. The most impressive part of this film is the look they chose for it. It looks exactly like a FMV from an old Sega CD game, video compression and all, and somehow this looks amazing. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the original Mortal Kombat game, with the heavily digitized characters and muted color pallet. All the special effects and costumes look homemade but in an ingenious way, I was very impressed, especially upon discovering it was made for about one thousand dollars in a garage. The music sounds like it was ripped directly from a Sega Genesis game and it complements the action perfectly. If that’s not cool enough, there is stop-motion claymation too. Sweet. The dialogue is hilarious and well-written--I was taken by surprise by how witty it was.
Astron-6 is quickly becoming one of my favorite B-movie director teams. They seem to know what their audience wants to see and are very happy to provide it. I really like watching good low-budget films because it forces the makers to be more creative with their ideas and the implementation. We should support film makers like these if we want to see more of this type of thing produced. There definitely needs to be more Manborg in our lives.
-Review by Michelle Kisner