Megaforce (1982)

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Megaforce (1982)

Post  BoG on Sat May 02, 2015 7:45 pm

This one film may have marked the beginning of the dumbing down of cinema for the masses that the eighties are known for (it could be argued that most of the films in the earliest eighties were developed in the seventies so that actual eighties cinema didn't begin until 1982). It's directed by former stuntman Hal Needham, most famous for directing Burt Reynolds pics such as Smokey and the Bandit. The heroes of this pic are like a conglomeration of James Bonds, Matt Helms or future heroic characters played by Chuck Norris, being a special mercenary army that uses high tech weapons and equipment, sort of a very early version of the later, more sophisticated G.I. Joe films.
Some of the action, especially at the climax, is exciting. But Megaforce is so chipper and smiley that we scarcely feel a moment of suspense. Every multicultural member of the heroic team is an energetic thumbs-up can-do jokester. The hero (Barry Bostwick who played Brad in Rocky Horror) is buddies with the villain (Henry Silva who played the hunter in Alligator). The villain's army (what you see of it) seems old and weak. Yes, the whole thing is meant to be campy. But the humor is cheap. Ten-year-olds are the presumed audience, but the buildup is so slow, and the middle section so confusing, that you can just imagine the kids squirming in their seats waiting for things to happen.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 48757-48770). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.

The set-up here is actually pretty good, especially for young moviegoers who are fans of all that secret super hideout stuff, like in the middle of a mountain somewhere. Back in the early eighties, this must have seemed like the pinnacle of what was possible for high tech installations and super computers, as well as fancy moving vehicles (motorcycles, etc.).  It all looks bargain basement now, but that can't be helped. In the plot, Edward Mulhare and Persis Khambatta play the pair who seek out this fancy organization to help against the evil military of a hostile fictional country. Henry Silva plays the head of this evil military and he's well cast. But, the lead hero played by Barry Bostwick isn't; there's something off about him - he looks like this very thin male model who, even with a beard, seems a bit too effeminate. Michael Beck plays his 2nd-in-command as if he's mocking cowboys everywhere, way overdoing the Texas twang accent. The good guys sort of overplay everything, aiming this strictly at 10-year-olds. But it is in one sense a comic book come to life (use of primary colors) and maybe fits better with other super-hero films, with high tech instead of super powers. BoG's Score: 5 out of 10
Mega Trivia: also with Evan Kim as one of the Megaforce guys; he's still most famous for "A Fistful of Yen" in Kentucky Fried Movie (77)
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