Film Review: Megaforce (1982)

Also known as: Supertroepen (Netherlands)
Release Date: June 25th, 1982
Directed by: Hal Needham
Written by: James Whittaker, Albert S. Ruddy, Hal Needham, Andre Morgan, Robert S. Kachler
Music by: Jerrold Immel
Cast: Barry Bostwick, Michael Beck, Persis Khambatta, Edward Mulhare, George Furth, Henry Silva

Golden Harvest Company, Northshore Investments, 99 Minutes


“It’s all on the wheel, it all comes around.” – Ace Hunter

Megaforce is a really bad movie but it’s a really bad movie that I enjoy because the over-the-top performances are wonderful and the film doesn’t appear to be taking itself too seriously.

This was an international co-production with the US and Hong Kong super studio Golden Harvest, who were known primarily for their martial arts films and especially those starring Jackie Chan.

The premise is pretty simple. It’s just a mix of being a Mad Max clone with Japanese tokusatsu influences, as it features a super task force with cool vehicles and uniforms that very much look like a product of their very dated time.

The film stars an interesting trio of leads between Barry Bostwick, Michael Beck and Indian actress and goddess, Persis Khambatta.

At the time Bostwick was an up and coming leading man mostly known for his roles in television and the cult classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Beck was mostly known for his leading role in The Warriors. Khambatta was mostly known by American audiences for being the bald alien woman in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and her appearances in many high profile pageants like Miss Universe.

This film is really a mixed bag of coolness and hokiness. Additionally, it’s special effects are also a mixed bag. In their case, they’re a mix of solid miniature work, solid action shots and then really awful greenscreen sequences like the flying motorcycle scene. I think the positives actually outweigh the negatives but man, that motorcycle scene really diminishes the great effects work that the film showcases in most effects heavy sequences.

Megaforce is goofy but also endearing in spite of its faults. If you feel like you want to check it out, there is a RiffTrax version, which you may find more enjoyable.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: other ’80s dystopian future/post-apocalyptic movies.

Film Review: Warlords of the 21st Century (1982)

Also known as: Battletruck (US), Destructors (Italy)
Release Date: January 1982 (New Zealand)
Directed by: Harley Cokliss
Written by: Irving Austin, John Beech, Harley Cokliss
Based on: a novel by Margaret Abrams
Music by: Kevin Peek
Cast: Michael Beck, Annie McEnroe, James Wainwright, Bruno Lawrence, John Bach, Randolph Powell, John Ratzenberger

Battletruck Films Ltd., New World Pictures, 91 Minutes


I never knew about this movie but while reading Joe Bob Briggs’ book Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In he discussed a few films that were Mad Max ripoffs. This was one of those films, so I thought I’d check it out. Also, it stars Michael Beck from The Warriors and John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff on Cheers. So what’s not to love?

Warlords of the 21st Century was one of those movies that played the drive-in and grindhouse circuits when it came to the states and was re-titled Battletruck. I think in some markets, it kept its original name though.

The film is a post-apocalyptic drama with a lot of action. In a nutshell, Michael Beck has a futuristic dirt bike and while out in the wasteland, discovers a girl being chased by some thugs in a jeep. He rescues her and takes her to a settlement to live with other people. He doesn’t stay because he’s your stereotypical cool loner type. The settlement is attacked and the girl escapes back to Michael Beck’s house. You soon discover that the attackers and their big armored semi truck are looking for the girl as the madman behind the gang thinks she is his property. Mayhem and destruction ensues and it all ends with a final showdown of Michael Beck against the “battletruck” and the gang’s leader.

The film has pretty good cinematography as it showcases great New Zealand landscapes but for anyone who has seen the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, New Zealand really sells itself and all you have to do is point the camera.

The acting isn’t as bad as you’d think for a film of this caliber. While Michael Beck isn’t an Oscar level performer, he is still believable as the tough and cool hero, just as he was in The Warriors. Annie McEnroe was a good and believable heroine that held her own with the men of the cast. John Ratzenberger had a small role but he stood out amongst the crowd of supporting characters whenever he was on screen.

The truck looked cool but it’s danger factor was a bit overblown. I feel like it would have been pretty easy to defeat had the people in the settlement been prepared and anticipated it crashing through their gates. First and foremost, build a damn moat with a drawbridge or at the very least, have a big pit and a drawbridge behind the gate, so when the truck bursts through, it is immobilized and easy to destroy. Make that thing a sitting duck and pick off the gang as they try to escape. It doesn’t take a genius to strategize these things, so I have to take some points away from the film for sheer stupidity. But I guess the whole point was to make a movie about a semi truck of death and taking it out in the first act would have ended the movie pretty quickly.

Stupidity aside, it was an entertaining movie to watch. Besides, it isn’t like I haven’t suspended disbelief over worse things.

Rating: 5/10

Film Review: The Warriors (1979)

Release Date: February 9th, 1979
Directed by: Walter Hill
Written by: David Shaber, Walter Hill
Based on: The Warriors by Sol Yurick
Music by: Barry De Vorzon
Cast: Michael Beck, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Marcelino Sanchez, Terry Michos, Roger Hill, David Patrick Kelly, Lynne Thigpen, Mercedes Ruehl, Paul Greco, Thomas G. Waites, Sonny Landham, Irwin Keyes

Paramount Pictures, 92 Minutes


The Warriors is a classic. Albeit, maybe not in the same sense as 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Good, The Bad and The Ugly but it is a classic nonetheless.

Few films have as much style and grit as The Warriors. Even fewer are able to generate the nostalgic kinship this film has with its long-time fans. It is a gem at the end of a great era of film – closing out the 1970s and making way for the 1980s.

I wasn’t even two months old when this film came out but I have had a strong bond with it since my preteen years. Maybe that leads me to showing a lot of favoritism to this film but considering the amount of movies I have seen over the course of my life, being that I’ve been an avid film buff since I was five or six, the fact that I still watch this twice a year says something about how great it is.

The Warriors follows a street gang in New York City as they have to fight through several gangs and several territories in an effort to get back home after being framed for murdering the biggest gang leader in the city. It almost plays like a 1980s arcade fighting game and I can bet that many of the game developers of the 80s borrowed a lot from this film. Each borough is a new stage, each stage comes with a new gang or a new challenge and eventually, they win by getting to the end – some safe and sound but with many casualties and fatalities along the way.

Instead of just being a somewhat accurate portrayal of 1970s New York City gangs, the film is more of a fantasy portrayal. All the gangs have unique looks and gimmicks which may seem cheesy at first but ultimately creates an environment that is just as scary as it is bizarre. Also, even with the 1970s fashion and hair, it is a timeless feeling film because it creates its own world and isn’t necessarily a representation of 1970s reality.

This is my favorite film by director Walter Hill and he’s done a lot of films I like, such as Hard Times, The Driver, Streets of Fire, The Long Riders, 48 Hrs., Brewster’s Millions, Red Heat and Trespass. This is also my favorite film featuring the talents of David Patrick Kelly, who plays the villainous Luther – a character which gave us one of the best ad-libs in cinema history with “Warriors, come out to play-ay!” He went on to star in a lot of roles that were all almost equally as awesome – Twin Peaks and The Crow being my other favorites. James Remar, most famous now for being Dexter Morgan’s ghost dad on Dexter, is just fantastic in this. I also enjoyed Deborah Van Valkenburgh who went on to be in the Ted Knight sitcom Too Close For Comfort.

The acting isn’t superb by any stretch of the imagination, other than Kelly, but it doesn’t matter. Besides, the acting is much better than the run of the mill B-movies of the era. While this can seemingly fall into that category, it stands on its own as a unique film and an interesting experience. The film never tires, even after all these years.

If I were ever to open a film school, The Warriors would be required viewing. It has style, it is a really cool concept that is perfectly executed and it is a fun movie. Although, if you are a male in America, I’m assuming you’ve seen it already.

Rating: 10/10