Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Megaforce (1982)

The secret international military force MEGAFORCE (whose name just might be a tiny bit of overcompensation) fights the good fight against evil. Yep, that’s their mandate, so when the military leader (Edward Mulhare already in Knight Rider mode of pretending he’s not surrounded by utter bullshit) and the president’s daughter (Persis Khambatta) of one beleaguered state somewhere ask for help against some sort of revolutionaries that went and hired themselves the mercenaries of one Duke Guerera (Henry Silva), their answer is of course hell yes.

After a romance subplot between Khambatta and MEGAFORCE commander Ace Hunter (Barry Bostwick), there’s a tiny little night raid followed by some sort of betrayal by POLITICIANS(!) (ewww), and MEGAFORCE has to fight their way out, because, umm, seriously, the film’s ideas of politics and military tactics don’t make a lick of sense, so you’re on your own here.

If this hadn’t been made in 1982 just when the toy line was re-configured, I’d have sworn this was Golden Harvest’s and some unlucky US investors’ attempt at jumping on the G.I. Joe bandwagon without the help of minor geniuses like Larry Hama, so I suppose something like this was just in the air. Of course, where some of the G.I. Joe stuff (at the very least Hama’s comics) was actually a whole lot of fun, Hal “Smokey and the Bandit”’ Needham’s Megaforce just looks like a turkey to my eyes.

I know, the film does by now have some minor cult film reputation in the camp-loving part of the community but I don’t really see it. At least, I’ve seen many a film a lot better at being bad and without Megaforce’s long stretches of boredom. The film’s first half in particular is just a terrible drag, with little of interest happening beyond the film repeatedly telling the audience how awesome MEGAFORCE is supposed to be without ever laying down anything that makes you believe their awesomeness or doing it so badly you’ll find yourself laughing or even a tiny bit interested in their hilarious misadventures (of nothing happening). Sure, everything about and around MEGAFORCE is patently ridiculous, from their stupid motorcycles to their stealth mode dune buggies, but the film isn’t very good at actually making use of that in any interesting way, instead letting actors deliver horrible dialogue, play absurdly “rousing” music, and show nothing that’s actually worse seeing apart from Persis Khambatta’s legs, and those aren’t reason enough to drag yourself through awesome plot developments like Ace Hunter (tee-hee) testing her for her ability to work with MEGAFORCE, she making the grade, he don’t taking her anyway, and so they both deciding to go to a London hotel once the film is through, which is a) stupid, b) time-hogging and c) not a very good distraction from the fact that there’s little of interest happening.

And really, that’s mostly how the rest of this thing plays out too: the scenes of military action mostly consist of music, smoke, and if you’re really lucky some explosions, but excitement really dwells somewhere else; the plot is about as exciting (let’s not even start on the logic) as watching dough rise; and the “humour” is courtesy of the director of films like Smokey and the Bandit. To my eyes, it’s the sort of cult film you enthuse about when you haven’t encountered the actual good stuff, and pretty much a waste of anyone’s time.

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