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DVD Review: MANBORG



Studio: Dark Sky Films
Year: 2011
Cast: Mathew Kennedy, Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney, Jeremy Gillespie, Meredith Sweeney, Ludwig Lee, Andrea Karr, Mike Kostanski
Director: Steve Kostanski
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Rating: Not Rated for (sci-fi violence)
Run Time: 01h:11m:45s
Genre(s): sci-fi

"It's never too late to be a hero." - Manborg (Matthew Kennedy)

MANBORG
 

Half-man, half machine and all cheese. If you like your science fiction with a big slice of tongue-in-cheek on occasion, then fire up for Manborg. Go back to those days when you were young and would believe just about anything. Not a bad place to be.

Movie Grade: B-

DVD Grade: A-

Manborg reminds of those live action puppet action shows for kids like Ultraman or the countless post-apocalyptic sci-fi thrillers that have Mad Max-ed across the landscape. The production seems low budget and the action is over the top and absurd. Without much explanation, the film start as human battle in a war against the armies of Hell, who have taken over the world. Count Draculon fights the last of the human soldiers. One of the human soldiers wakes up in a prison right out of Star Trek's Gamesters of Triskelion remade into a cyborg, yet still a man, a man-borg.

Cheesy? yeah. Offensive? not really. For kids? Not the younger youngsters, but ok for older kds. The humor and self-referential camp keep the film a notch above the expectedly awful. The make-up is often great but the monster animation is often effective, but occasionally a bit B-grade Harryhausen. In this era of YouTube, Video Games and endless hours of wasteland television on cable and satellit e, a film like Manborg is a notch above because the effort in its creation supercedes the manufactured products so commonly foisted on the moneyed public.

Directed by Steven Kostanski, normally a make-up in his day job, with a crew of people who have formed a troupe as part of Astron-6 Film Collection. Founded by Adam Brooks and Manborg writer Jeremy Gillespie, Astron-6 is a collective of canadian filmmakers who made a splash at the 2011 Toronto After Dark Film Festival. The cast includes Astron-6 members Matthew Kennedy as Manborg, Brooks as Dr. Scorpius and Count Draculon. Meredith Sweeney plans the wise-cracking Mina and Conor Sweeney is Justice, the Billy Idolesque punk fighter. Ludwig Lee plays #1 Man, a kung fu master, and his lines are dubbed by anime voice actor Kyle Hebert in a style that harkens back to the best, or worst, of Japanese sci-fi.

Ultimately, Manborg is imminently watchable and, once the eye adjusts to the look and style of the film, it is quite enjoyable. Manborg took several years to make with borrowed equipment and costumes pulled from dumpster by the director. The claim is that the film cost about $1000 to make. Kostanski has said he grew in the shlocky sci-fi section of the video store and this film stands as a culty tribute to the awfulness of the VHS era.

Manborg premiered at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas September 22, 2011 and also was screened at the 2011 Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Kostanski declared in the interview on Movieweb that he had made the labor of love for himself and never expected the film to receive wider release. But, Manborg is now out on DVD and not a moment too late.

The DVD contains an intriguing glimpse into the making of the movie with Deleted & Alternate Scenes, a pretty amusing blooper reel called Manborg shenanigans reel, a video effects montage and some behind-the-scenes footage. Also present among the extras is an animated short film by Stephen Kostanski called “Fantasy Beyond” that contains some interesting effects. Additionally the extras contain interviews with all the principals, the trailer, and footage from the premiere of Manborg.

Posted by: Joseph Burke - May 25, 2013, 10:52 am - DVD Review
Keywords: sci-fi, borg




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