Published Jan 31, 2013If the intention of something is to entertain by virtue of how deliberately horrible it is, then a successful result would be an abysmal farce and complete waste of time. By that measure, Manborg is a massive success for the tasteless slacker set.
Put together by Winnipeg, MB coalition of trash lovers Astron-6, this context-free nostalgia blender is essentially a long checklist of clichés that are groan-worthy even before being employed in the service of a no-budget action blockbuster that looks like a high school A/V club project made by a stoner with way too much time on his hands.
Steven Kostanski directed, edited and co-wrote the film, though to say Manborg was "written" is akin to saying that defrosting a frozen meat by-product patty and slapping it on a bun is "cooking." Manborg is an assembly job of cheap, nutrition-free ingredients.
The plot, as it were, involves a soldier in the war against hell ― called the "Hell Wars", naturally ― who is killed in battle and reconstructed as the ultimate instrument of destruction against the evil rubber suited demons that have overrun the Earth.
As is typical of the brain-dead late '80s and early '90s schlock being referenced, the barely there subtext is a perfunctory celebration of the surrogate family unit that forms out of the shared experience of social misfits. Manborg and his over- and under-acting companions are forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena and eventually face off against the demon lord Draculon.
Kostanski uses intentionally bad dubbing, exceedingly cheap computer effects and cheesy stop-motion, along with videogame and anime visual language to affectionately mock the entertainment of his childhood. Putting this much effort into a concept that would be stretched thin as a two-second channel-flip on Robot Chicken is a sad defence mechanism against criticism.
At least the faux-trailer for Kostanski's Bio-Cop, which plays after the feature, understands the limitations of this brand of farce, hitting a couple of decent notes of gory spoof and making its exit before audience members begin to question their personal system of time allocation. (Astron-6)