Bad Movie Night: Megaforce

Image courtesy of 80ssountracksaor.blogspot.com
Directed by: Hal Needham
Category: Action

I can't believe I'd never gotten around to seeing this until now. Sure we've all seen that hilarious sequence involving star Barry Bostwick on a futuristic motorbike as it leaps off the ground and tries to land inside a moving plane, all done to gawd-awful blue screen work that makes it downright hilarious. If you haven't come across it, it's bloody brilliant, terrible, and fucking hilarious all at the same time. But I always wondered if the film itself was just as entertaining as that one sequence. This weekend I decided to finally tackle this somebitch.

I couldn't help but notice something peculiar in this shot.
Directed by legendary stunt coordinator, stuntman and director Hal Needham (Smokey and the Bandit 1 & II, Cannonball Run 1 & II, Hooper, Rad), Megaforce was a bonafide box office disaster and pretty much dead on arrival. I'm sure they were trying to cash in on the big Trash & Exploitation craze hitting the market, but unfortunately Needham and his team decided to go the PG route, which offered nothing in the way of any gratuitous nudity, violence, blood, and gore; all the things we've come to expect from this type of film. So it flopped.....big time. Nobody wanted to see a watered-down PG-Rated Trash flick. But a funny thing happened. As with most flops, especially those from the 80's, it's since become a Cult Classic, with an ever-growing following and fan base. After having finally seen it, I can certainly understand why.

Megaforce is silly, cheesy, 80's ridiculous fun. Were these the traits the filmmakers were going for at the time? Probably not, but as with films like Flash Gordon, Albert Pyun's Captain America, and Masters of the Universe, it's all about the cheese baby, unintentional or not, and that's what makes Megaforce such a fun trip down 80's lane. There's nothing in here that will change or define the genre, and I doubt that this film was ever meant to. However, the constantly sly wink-at-the-camera approach often makes you wonder how much of the silliness you see on film was done on purpose.

Image courtesy of WorseMoviesEverMade.com
Barry Bostwick is a marvel in this. That blow-dried hair, that beard, the unforgiving skintight suits that he always leaves open at the top just enough to expose his bare chest, that awkward, yet over-confidant stance, and his boyish smirk; Bostwick shines as the star. The supporting cast is alright, with Henry Silva as the villain particularly making a strong impression, but it's all Barry Bostwick's show here, and the film is all the better for it.

While the film as a whole didn't contain a whole lot of action, or nearly the level of action I was expecting for a film like this, it's charming enough to keep you invested and entertained, even through a few of the slow parts. Hal Needham directs this thing surprisingly well, even infusing the film with some "out of left field" style, utilizing color schemes and compositions that you wouldn't normally expect from a film like this, or from a Hal Needham film in general. Of course, that could all be the Art Department or Set Decorator's involement. In either case, it's impressive and adds that special dash of 80's neon cheese to the mix.

Nothing in Megaforce will blow you away, but for a good time, some 80's cheesy nostalgia, and a few laughs, this will certainly fit the bill. Nothing in the film will equal the hilarious awesome of that "bike in the air sequence", but it's a trip well worth taking.

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