Oct 25 2011– Tonight we attended screening of Manborg at the Toronto After Dark (TAD) Film Festival. If you have not yet read our preview of the films showing there, we highly recommend spending a few minutes looking at the overview of the lineup.
The tradition for screenings at the TAD festival is to start a screening with a short film. Tonight's short film was Syl Disjonk's totally amazing Ethereal Chrysalis. This is the first time I am mentioning a short in a review of a TAD film and I do so because I really enjoyed it. Click the link above and see the trailer!
On to the main attraction, Steven Kostanski's Manborg. To put it simply this movie was a total blast. Imagine a 60 minute episode of Robot Chicken complete with human actors that was made in the 80's and there you have it. The plot is somewhat irrelevant but the lowdown is as follows: The armies of Hell led by Count Draculon have taken over the Earth. A human soldier in the war gets killed and gets the Bionic Man treatment returning as a half man, half cyborg known as Manborg. He joins forces with a Kung-Fu dude called #1 Man (badly dubbed deep voice guy reminiscent of Bruce Lee movies), and a gun toting/knife bearing bro and sis duo with the names of Justice and Shadow Mega. Together this band of heroes take on the armies of hell and even Count Draculon and his sidekick The Baron. The movie itself is a throwback to the old video game and comic book culture of the 80's. Kostanski actually states "The biggest influence of the whole thing was that it was supposed to feel like a movie based off a video game based off a line of toys possibly based on comic books or trading cards". You get the idea. You really need to see the trailer to get a feel for this movie.
The director and four of the cast were in attendance after the screening to take Q&A (video of the Q&A is below). During the Q&A we find out that the budget for the movie is $1000!!!! That fact alone just made the movie alot more impressive. Kostanski also lets us know that the movie was based on CD-ROM video game cutscenes, and "crappy old VHS movies from the 80's". I strongly recommend this movie if you get a chance to see it. Note – the TAD film festival runs for a couple more days so get out there and support good independent movies and follow their Twitter for updates.
VERDICT: Fun with a capital F. Robot Chicken but longer, funnier and better. 4 out of 5
|Some of the cast of Manborg including director Steven Kostanski|