It’s no surprise that the latest feature from Canadian film collective Astron-6 is a laser blast of fun. A sort of fun that’s been long absent from genre cinema since the days of magnetic tapes & buzzing video stores. With their recent feature FATHER’S DAY and the collection of shorts, it’s clear Astron-6 strive to homage that bygone era by simply keeping the spirit alive. That modus operandi faithfully extends to the groups’ sophomore feature MANBORG, an insanely lo-fi, do-it-yourself epic that feels like a lost Empire Pictures’ cyborg classic.
And that’s the most radical endorsement I can think of.
During a war between humans & demons, our soon to be titular hero & a platoon of soldiers meet their demise by the hand of the evil Count Draculon (Adam Brooks) and his minion horde. Cue up a head banging title sequence mixed in with a montage showing the creation of Manborg, and cut to a dystopic future where the demons have taken over & enslaved the human race. Eventually captured himself, Manborg teams up with a ragtag group of heroes: Mina (Meredith Sweeney), Justice (Conor Sweeney), #1 Man (Ludwig Lee and hilariously dubbed by veteran voice actor Kyle Herbert), and Doctor Scorpius (Adam Brooks, pulling double duty) to end the reign of Draculon & his flirtatious right-hand man The Baron (Jeremy Gillespie) for good.
I cannot gush about the aesthetic and ethic of Astron-6 enough. MANBORG was shot in a basement in front of green screen fabric, with post production lasting two years due to director Steven Kostanski literally creating the effects himself. These dudes are true video warriors with a die hard passion that exudes from every grainy frame. MANBORG is no exception. They know those with proper taste have a constant thirst for cyborgs, lasers, kung-fu, and stop motion, which is delivered in spades here. Mixed in with the nostalgic mayhem is a constant barrage of humor that pokes fun at it’s budget, as well as the era of filmmaking they’re referencing.
MANBORG is the quintessential pizza party film. A junk food tribute to midnight cinema that begs to be watched while under the influence of caffeine amongst your best buds. Based on its merits & ingenuity alone, it’s singly one of the most entertaining films’ I’ve seen this year. Make it a double feature with ROBOCOP, CYBORG, ELIMINATORS, or any other macho machine classic you can get your hands on, and prepare for “awwww yeahhh” & “it’s not about the killing, it’s about family” to become a regular staple in your vernacular. MANBORG is a retro-rager that should be seen and celebrated by all.
MANBORG is now available on DVD via DARK SKY FILMS