The armies of Hell have taken over the Earth, and all that stands in the way of the villainous Count Draculon and humanity's total extinction is a motley crew of misfits led by the mighty MANBORG: a warrior that's half-man, half machine, but all hero.
Once a young soldier killed during first war against Hell, Manborg reawakens in the future, rebuilt as a walking weapon and mankind's last hope. Struggling to learn the secret of his origins, Manborg unwittingly befriends a post-apocalyptic Australian punker, a knife wielding vixen, and a kung-fu master, before finally squaring off against Count Draculon in a desperate and bloody bid to take back the Earth!
Special Features: 2 Commentaries, Deleted & Alternate Scenes, Bloopers, Behind the Scenes, Stop Motion, Montage, VFX Montage, Short Film, Interviews, Premiere Q&A
A deliberately junky tribute to the low-budget, genre-mashing exploitation hybrids that seemed to proliferate on video store shelves during the 1980s and early 1990s, Manborg
captures the essence of its psychotronic forebears through a barrage of stop-motion animation, knowing references to trash cinema, and comic book ultraviolence. Produced, directed, and starring members of the Canadian film collective known as Astron-6 (Father's Day
starts on a delirious high note, with the armies of the world locked in combat with the forces of Hell, led by the monstrous Count Draculon (Adam Brooks). A soldier (Matthew Kennedy) left for dead in the wake of Draculon's assault is rescued by a scientist (Brooks again) and rebuilt into the titular hero, a half-man, half-machine who's understandably confused by his new body and its array of weaponry. Manborg, as he comes to name himself, is soon whisked away by Draculon's henchman, the Cenobite-like Baron (Jeremy Gillespie), and thrown into a gladiatorial arena to fight an array of monsters alongside punkish Aussie Justice (Conor Sweeney) and his decidedly American sister Mina (Meredith Sweeney), as well as the ponderously overdubbed martial arts expert #1 Man (Ludwig Lee). Though dystopian action/science fiction films like RoboCop
and (more accurately) dismal knockoffs like The Vindicator
are clearly the foundations on which Astron-6 have built Manborg
, their ultimate goal seems to be the full range of '80s-era genre films, from rubber-mask monsters and foreign postapocalyptic freakouts to video game-inspired kung fu (and vice versa). They're mostly successful in hitting their marks, which is even more impressive given that the whole affair was largely constructed through greenscreen work and frame-by-frame animation.
Occasionally, one wishes that the producers had devoted as much time to the script or casting than to production design: Kennedy makes for a wan hero, and Conor Sweeney quickly wears out his welcome as the twitchy Justice. Keeping the impressive Count Draculon off-screen for most of the picture is also an unfortunate choice, given that his second, the Baron, is robbed of any sense of menace by a silly one-sided romance with Mina that's never as amusing as the filmmakers believe it to be. But at 70 minutes in length, it's hard to find real fault with Manborg, which ultimately remains a loopy but effective tribute to the filmmakers' vision and the films that inspired it. The disc is surprisingly thick with supplemental features, many of which are devoted to the creation of the film's visual and special effects. Two commentaries are also featured, which will probably appeal to diehard Astron-6 fans, though the cast and crew track has its humorous moments. The best extra is unquestionably the faux trailer for Bio-Cop, a long but frequently funny blend of police-movie tropes and gross-out horror like Street Trash about a lawman who's less than enthused about his newfound ability to dissolve into a puddle of slime while in pursuit of bad guys. It hits all the right tonal notes as Manborg while striking a better balance between humor and action. --Paul Gaita