|VHS cover courtesy of VHSCollector.com|
Directed by: Richard Pepin
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.