Review: Hologram Man

VHS cover courtesy of VHSCollector.com

Directed by: Richard Pepin
Category: Action

One day while trolling on Instagram, a fellow collector I follow posted a picture of this VHS. The cover looked lame and cheesy to say the least, and everything about it screamed low-budget trash. I mean, even the name is silly. I was hooked. I asked the guy what he thought about it and he said that I would pretty much love it because it's nonstop action. I was sold.

Hologram Man is the reason I love this shit. I honestly can't remember the last time I was this entertained by a low-budget action flick. Literally from it's opening frame to the very last, Hologram Man is filled with so much insane over-the-top nonstop action that for the casual moviegoer, it might very well be nauseating. But not for lovers of this kind of shit like us. No sir. Hologram Man maintains a momentum that in all honesty, is really hard to beat. It's a full-throttle action ride from beginning to end, and it kinda blew me away for a number of reasons.

I had just finished watching another low-budget DTV actioner called Back in Action (review coming soon) starring Roddy Piper and Billy Blanks. While that one was a well made and a fun little action film that did not disappoint, the only thing that it did not have was any "wow" factor. It was full of action; fist fights, shootouts and the like, but nothing really that makes it stand out from the crowd, other than the fact that it was never dull. Quite the contrary. Back in Action was thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. But Hologram Man takes that to an entirely new level because it's so absurd, insanely cheesy, and kinda schlocky from time to time. In other words, it's fucking awesome. Not only that, it's shot really well. If I were to compare this to anything, my first thought would be Albert Pyun's Nemesis. And that's quite a comparison to live up to my friends, because as we all know. the first Nemesis is just all kinds of awesome. I would have to say that it's arguably the highlight of Pyun's action film career. The sequels.........let's just forget about them for a moment.

Without getting deep into a synopsis, Hologram Man is essentially Virtuosity, Nemesis and Demolition Man all mixed together. Sound cool right? And it is. I had a constant smile on my face the entire time because it was ridiculous, fun, insane, and altogether a nonstop thrill-ride. Seriously, what more could you ask for in a low-budget action flick?

Of course, Hologram Man probably took a lot of it's style and substance from Nemesis since this came out 3 years after. The same can be said about a lot of the plot details from Demolition Man, as that film came out 2 years before this one did. But while this shares a lot of similarities to Virtuosity, that film came out the same year as this one did, so maybe we can just chalk that up to coincidence?

I'll be honest, the gimmicky effects work is pretty awful, but that's part of it's charm. It's pre-CGI quality stuff going on in here, so it's about as ancient as it could possibly get. But while the effects work is amateurish to say the least, it somehow all works in a B Movie kind of way. But what sells everything is the badass stuntwork, of which there are plenty. Explosions galore which almost outrival the insane amount of explosions in I Come in Peace AKA Dark Angel, killer stuntwork, and a seemingly endless barrage of gun battles and car chases easily make this a standout among the flock. Just try to ignore the silly and hilarious VHS cover art and font.

One of the first things I did was look up director Richard Pepin, who I am unfamiliar with. The guy shot the hell out of this thing and I was excited to see what else he may have been involved in. It appears while he's primarily a producer with over 100 films to his credit, he dabbles in directing from time to time and always in the low-budget action genre. It's a safe bet that I will probably track down a good number of his films to see if they're any bit as entertaining as this one.

I should also mention that one of the many things that constantly surprised me about this one was the insane cast. It seems "everyone" is in this. And when I say everyone, I mean pretty much every character actor you can think of from the 80's and 90's. It's nuts!

How to watch it:
Currently, you can see it on YouTube, but I don't know how good the quality is on that download. I rented it on Amazon for $3, and it gave me a whole week to stream it. That digital streaming version was in excellent quality; no blurriness, pixelation issues or anything like that. My only gripe would be that it was in full frame, and I'd love to see it in widescreen. You can pick up the VHS for anywhere from $10 - $20, depending on the seller of course. There's also a bare bones full frame DVD out there for next to nothing, but if you're going to go that route, I'd just recommend streaming it from Amazon or grabbing the VHS. It's worth a purchase if you love this kind of stuff.


  1. Cool, this sounds like its almost as cool as I Come in Peace, or The Hidden...in other words, cheesy, none stop explosions and action! Will be checking this one out soon, but I agree, that crappy poster didn't help the film much. I've always wanted to see Nemesis...I've always enjoyed Cyborg...but haven't seen anything of his afterwards that is worth a damn. I mean, everything else I've seen is just....ultra low budget crap-o-rama..ever seen Omega Doom? Wow...what a snorefest....

    1. Francisco, first thing you need to do is watch Nemesis ASAP!! It's easily one of the best low-budget action films out there! And one of Pyun's best. Killer cast, crazy insane action and oozing with style. It's awesome!

      And this was so much better and entertaining than it has any right being. Definitely check this out and ignore the lame cover. :) I was in action heaven with this!

  2. This sounds pretty cool. I like a good PM flick every now and then.

    1. Dude, Jack. This was freaking awesome! Definitely check it out if you can get the chance. Much better than you would expect it to be.

  3. but how can you not have heard of richard pepin/PM , PM entertainment took the CANNON role kinda for the 90s, therefore PM is the king of directtovideo action flicks, and from what i gathering this site is pretty much about that

    also isnt pre cgi effects BETTER than cgi effects? i always see people complain about cgi , but then when it comes to pre cgi effect those same people complain that those are outdated etc etc, so make up your minds which you like ? i prefer the pre cgi all theway

    1. Hey Baracus. Yes, it's true. I knew who PM Entertainment was, but only casually. I never made the time or effort to actually dig into their films until recently. My life in the 90's was different than it is "now" or even in the 80's. I didn't have time to watch movies unfortunately. It wasn't until the 2000's that I was able to get back into them. And while they are similar to Cannon, you can't compare the two completely. Cannon films oftentimes made their way to the theaters, and PM did not. Ever. So saying "how can you not have heard of PM, they're practically the same thing" is really not fair. A lot of Cannon films I saw in the theater as a kid, whereas PM films were strictly home video, and even then, I can guarantee you most video stores didn't carry a lot of their titles. At least the video stores in my town. That changed of course when the internet took over.

      I have to ask you, have you actually seen Hologram Man? Or did you read my review thoroughly? I said pre-CGI and them being outdated and tacky, but I also said that I love them. That for this film, they work and add to it's charm. It's what makes this film so special to me. It's one of my all-time favorite movies. If it had top-quality CGI, it would not have been as entertaining. And I'm with you, I prefer pre-CGI myself too, but this film really benefits from the very low-grade, low-budget cheap-looking computer graphics. It's like a time capsule for the 90's and only makes this film much better.

      As far as comparing Cannon to PM, that's like apples and oranges. Cannon did do a lot of action, but they also did a ton of films in many other different genre's, but also they had a list of big name actors to headline their films like Chuck Norris, Stallone and Charles Bronson. PM is strictly action, and usually have little known actors or martial arts fighters like Jeff Wincott (who I love!) or actors who have passed their prime and haven't been in a theatrical release for years or decades, like Sam Jones, C. Thomas Howell and Joe Lara. They're somewhat similar, but also very different. If someone wasn't a regular customer in the video stores in the 90's, then it's very easy for them to not have heard of PM Entertainment. I only discovered them a year or so ago and they're now one of my favorites. I'm having a lot of fun digging into a LOT of their films. Some are great, while some are terrible. In fact, I love them so much I'm going to get a PM Entertainment logo tattoo soon, to go along with my current Cannon Films logo tattoo.

      Thanks for your input and for stopping by! I'm glad you like these kinds of films too.