Bullet Points: Manborg
When you settle in at night to watch a movie by the name of “Manborg”, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. I reluctantly started the film, not exactly expecting it to be even watchable but after really enjoying movies like Turbo Kid and the short Kung Fury recently, it only seemed fair to give it a try. Manborg not only kept my attention for its very short runtime of roughly 1 hour, it far exceeded any expectations that I carried into my viewing. Hell yeah!
Synopsis: A soldier, killed during the Demon invasion of Earth, is brought back as a cyborg and teams up with a handful of survivors in a desperate bid to destroy the threat from HELL once and for all.
- Recipe for Success: Manborg has that certain something that I’ve seen much of over the years and I just continue to call it the “low budget Canadian awesome sauce”. For some unknown reason, Canadian filmmakers put out low budget movies each year that are just so damned entertaining that you get totally immersed in the movie despite it’s almost laughable scenes. Movies like Manborg are great because they’re in on the joke. It’s the same reason why Sharknado and Wolfcop can be so beloved while other movies that take themselves far too seriously are hated. Manborg never stops being a hybrid; yeah he’s a man and a machine, but the movie is both an homage to the shit-tastic movies of the 80’s and also a meta-comedy that only exists in recent times.
- Dammit to HELL: The opening text tells us that the armies of HELL have taken over the Earth. The very next scene we get to see a group of soldiers, including future Manborg played by Matthew Kennedy, attempting to hold the line against the invading demons. They run into the uber evil Count Draculon and Kennedy and his brother soon meet their doom. We aren’t bombarded with the logistics of the invasion, where it came from or who did all the fighting, and we don’t even know what year we’re in. But what we do know is that we lost.
- Enter Manborg: Kennedy wakes up in a box a couple of minutes later and is already Manborg. A quick montage showed us his creation but he’s soon thrust into an environment that is new to him and us. It only takes a few moments for him to be captured by the armies of HELL and put into a prison with a few of the other renegades. It’s here that we meet the few humans that have survived long enough to be of assistance to Manborg in his bid to take out Count Draculon.
- The Terror Octagon: Like any great conquering force, the armies of HELL set up a gladiatorial area to watch their prisoners do battle against a bunch of demon dudes. It isn’t until Manborg finally discovers that he’s no normal cyborg (he’s got weapons and shit) that he finally takes down the champion and opens the eyes of all involved.
- Friends and Family: Manborg’s new buds are quite funny. There is the Mortal Kombat ripoff named “#1 Man”, the Aussie Mel Gibson ripoff “Justice”, and his sister named Mina. There is no way that her name is influenced by Count Draculon, is it? Either way, the crew is amazing in all their own ways.
- HELL Sucks: Manborg finally meets his creator in a mostly Obi Wan Force ghost kind of way and he and his crew attack the city that has no name. They quickly infiltrate the main compound and split up to take down the demons and save Mina who was kidnapped earlier. We’re given a decent cat fight between a couple ladies, and a sword duel between Manborg and Count Draculon. None of the action is can’t miss but I would have been more surprised if it had been considering the kind of movie this was.
I see billboards telling me that Hell is real all the time but I had no idea they would be invading us! Better take the next minute or two to read these Bonus Bullet Points while you can:
- Count Draculon’s voice is annoyingly quiet. I would have been asking him to repeat himself the entire time he was torturing me.
- “The power of the human spirit will never be obsolete.” That quote should have been on the poster.
- There are two incredible sub-plots in the movie. Yes, it’s about the battle between Humans and Demons but the relationship problems of the head jailor named The Baron and the inability to read by Justice are easily two of my favorite things about Manborg.
- You have to respect the filmmakers for knowing that not all movies need to be 85-90 minutes long. Manborg never loses sight of what it is and is perfectly watchable at its short runtime of approximately 1 hour.
The Verdict: I’ve gushed over it quite a bit but I really did enjoy the hell out of Manborg. It’s short, it’s very funny at times, and it’s the perfect kind of homage to the action/sci-fi films of yesteryear. Fans of the already mentioned Kung Fury and anything tongue in cheek done in the 80’s will enjoy Manborg. I highly recommend it for a short night with a few cold beverages.