Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Superhero Media: Manborg

In a dystopian future where the Earth has been conquered by the armies of Hell, only one thing can free the human race, Manborg! A deliberately "B-movie" release, Manborg is shot, edited and even filtered to look like a cheap 1980s' "Video Nasty", but unlike several other productions along these lines, I really enjoyed Manborg. The trick that Manborg pulls off is that it is impossible to take seriously, but all of the characters within the film take everything perfectly seriously; Nazi, Demon Vampires, Justice's illiteracy, stop-motion monsters and all. The Baron's problematic love-life and crush on Mina are simultaneously endearing and hilarious, but no character in the film points that out, like one may see in a lesser piece of schlok or later Troma films. 

The lord of Hell and the new ruler of Earth is Lord Draculon, a combination of Hitler, Dracula and Lucifer whose armies are shown in the opening to have practically walked over the combined armed forces of the entire world. A superhuman hero is needed to defeat Draculon, so Doctor Scorpius risks his own life to revive the one soldier who ever fought the monster hand-to-hand, creating Manborg. Lost on the street, Manborg is captured by Nazi/Demon/Vampires and forced into arena combat for his life, where he meets a rag-tag team of human survivors; Justice, Mina and #1 Man. After a couple of arena bouts, the team escapes and prepares to go straight back to defeat Draculon and free the world. There's a side-plot with Mina trying to save/rescue/kill her former friend/sister/lover Shadow Mega (played by, the very sexy, Andrea Karr), which results in a pretty cool fight

Manborg is pretty damn watchable if you're into that sort of thing. It's fun, goofy, not too long and also makes a bit more sense than Kung Fury because it sticks to one concept rather than trying to mesh everything mimetic together into an extended mash-up trailer. The Nazi/Vampire/Demon army has a really cool look and would make a great "insurmountable" antagonist for a Superhero RPG campaign, even if they're rather generic when you get right down to it. As always, I like the idea of a world dying because of the acts of an antagonistic force, rather than natural disaster (see: "Villain Apocalypse") and Manborg delivers. Is this a great film? No. Is this a good film? No. Is it a fun ride that I'll probably watch again? Hell yeah. 

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