Saturday, August 02, 2014

Manborg – review

Director: Steven Kostanski

Release date: 2011

Contains spoilers

I received a text from my friend Leila suggesting Manborg as a ‘Vamp or Not?’ – I disagree as, from the beginning, there is no doubt that this is a vampire flick (albeit of the blood demon variety).

What is more difficult is how to review and score it. You see it is rubbish, absolutely low budget, cheap green-screen bonk. Yet it knows it, revels in it even.

Draculon has fangs
We begin on Earth during the Hell Wars, when the forces of Hell invaded our realm. We see a group of soldiers fighting armies of demons; two of the soldiers are brothers. The soldiers are killed one after the other until one brother is left with the corpse of the other. His mourning is cut short as he is grabbed by the leader of the demon army – Count Draculon (Adam Brooks). He bites the soldier’s neck and sucks his blood – declaring that it tastes better with hope.

converted to manborg
The body is dragged away by a person unseen and “worked on” through the credits turning the soldier into a cyborg, who will later name himself Manborg (Matthew Kennedy)). At the end of the credits Manborg awakens and bursts out of a crate. He finds himself in a future world where the Demons are in control. He comes across a group of demons attacking a man, known only as #1 Man (Ludwig Lee and voiced by Kyle Hebert). They fight together but end up captured – dragged off to the gladiator arena (which is said to have been set up to provide the demons with blood).

Meredith Sweeney as Mina
There are four key characters in the arena pits; #1 Man, Manborg and brother and sister Justice (Conor Sweeney) and Mina (Meredith Sweeney). It is these characters who will rise up against Draculon. We also meet the human Dr Scorpius (also Adam Brooks) who works with the demons but also was the scientist who accidentally opened the gateway to Hell and then secretly made Manborg to free mankind. There is a demon character called The Baron (Jeremy Gillespie) who is a comedy character as he is in love with Mina but can’t express himself to her.

#1 Man poses
In the main that mentioned comedy element didn’t work well, however the comedy born out of how bad the film is does work and is deliberate. It doesn’t make the film good but it makes it enjoyable in a B-movie way. Think such retro feel films as Hobo With a Shotgun or even Planet Terror. The film looks like an old video game, in many respects, with #1 Man (primarily) looking like he just walked out of a Mortal Kombat type game (the dubbing is deliberately bad).

Adam Brooks as Draculon
Character development is nil, with the characters being friendly or antagonistic as a scene demands rather than as the character would be. The acting is poor in some respects with a definitively pantomime air – but, again, I think this was purposeful. This, all in all, really is a film to watch with friends and beverages – it isn’t high art or even summer blockbuster. It walks a line developed in 80s cheap end film-making and engages us with a nod, a wink and a tongue wedged so far into its cheek the flesh has split. That said, as a film it only really deserves 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Alex. G said...

Looks like my kinda film. Thank you for the recommendation old chum.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

No worries