MEGAFORCE (1982) Review

Directed by: Hal Needham
Starring: Barry Bostwick, Michael Beck, Edward Mulhare, Henry Silva

"There has never been a super hero like Ace Hunter!" So reads the tagline for this futuristic action turkey, and in all honesty it's probably true. Let's just hope it's also true that there will never be a super hero like Ace Hunter ever again. Ever.

I imagine that as a teen in the 80s when this movie was released I probably would have loved it. At that age I wasn't so concerned with things like good acting and writing as much as I was about action, explosions and big stunts, and this movie has plenty of those. Unfortunately I wasn't a teen when this movie first came out, hell I wasn't even born when this movie was first released and so I'm reviewing this film for the first time at age 25.

The MEGAFORCE of the movie’s title is some sort of underground organization led by Commander Ace Hunter (a seemingly very miscast Barry Bostwick), fighting for peace and justice and all that jazz. When freedom is threatened MEGAFORCE are the ones to call, and that’s exactly what happens when Duke Guerera (Silva) and his rebels begin an invasion. General Edward Byrne-White (Mulhare) and his associate Zara (Persis Khambatta) meet with Hunter and his MEGAFORCE team to come up with a plan to stop Guerera and his army of rebels.

Perhaps the best way to describe this movie would be to say that it is essentially a live-action cartoon, something like G.I. JOE maybe. Everything is done in a very cartoonish, almost comic book style from the vehicles to the tight spandex jumpsuits, the rockets, lasers and explosions and even Ace Hunter’s rock solid hairdo. It’s easy to see that the target audience for this movie was children and teens rather than adults, and you know what? I'll bet kids back in the day loved the shit out of this movie, I know I would have. And I'll bet even nowadays people who grew up with MEGAFORCE can still watch it and enjoy it because it reminds them of the childhood. I however won’t be looking at this movie with rose-colored glasses.

Director Hal Needham is well known for his stunt work and it really shows here, there are so many scenes showing off the MEGAFORCE crew doing wheelies on their motorcycles while simultaneously firing missiles and speeding around in the dirt. But as cool as that may sound (motorbike missile wheelies? AWESOME!) the majority of the action scenes in this flick are pretty damn underwhelming.
But then again a child in the 80s would probably think that they were the motherfucking bomb.
One thing however that even a kid in the 80s couldn't fail to notice is just how horribly bad the bluescreen work towards the end of the film is. I would go out on a limb and say it is the single worst use of bluescreen I have ever seen in my life. Some may argue that it’s so bad it’s good, but I really can’t swallow that. It’s just plain bad.

And speaking of bad let’s talk about every other aspect of the movie. Even with a $20m budget (which in 1982 would have been pretty damn sizeable) the movie manages to look cheap mostly due to the horribly dated vehicles. The motorcycles with their oversized guards and orange and white and black paint jobs are futuristic in a way that only the 80s could produce. And who the hell decided that motorcycles were so damn good in the first place? Surely such a well funded and organized group such as  MEGAFORCE would have something a little more substantial and heavy duty than dirt bikes and dune buggies. Even Guerera’s rebel army have themselves a nice bunch of tanks.
And while we’re on the subject of Guerera we might as well talk about Henry Silva who is really the only character I enjoyed seeing on screen. Although I must admit I like him in pretty much everything I've seen him in. The rest of the cast do a great job of laying on the campy overacting nice and thick. And Ace Hunter’s little thumbs up freeze-frame (below) to finish off the movie? Fucking puke.

In all honestly I would have loved to see this as a kid because I know I would have enjoyed the absolute shit out of it. It’s nothing but a flashy, cheesy, brainless action fest filled with stunts and lasers and explosions and if you watch it as such you should at least find some entertainment value in it. But as far as being a good movie goes, it just simply isn't  The campy overacting, the painfully bad dialogue, the amazingly tight spandex jumpsuits and the ‘futuristic’ vehicles all make for a pretty terrible film. MEGAFORCE is pure MST3K fodder and is probably best seen with a few drinks and a few friends so that you can all share in its hilarious badness. I'm giving this three stars only for the film’s cheesily ridiculous entertainment value.

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