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  Megaforce Good Guys WinBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Hal Needham
Stars: Barry Bostwick, Michael Beck, Persis Khambatta, Edward Mulhare, Ralph Wilcox, Henry Silva, George Furth, J. Victor López, Michael Carman, Bobby Bass, Robert Fuller, Ray Hill, Samir Kamoun, Evan C. Kim, Mike Kulcsar, Roger Lowe, Youssef Merhi, Hal Needham
Genre: Action, Science Fiction
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: There is a top secret organisation known only to the highest ranking members of the Free World and its name is Megaforce. Wherever peace and justice are threatened and democracy cannot cope, they will be there, blasting the bad guys to Kingdom Come, and it so happens that one Middle Eastern country needs their help right now. Their two representatives, Byrne-White (Edward Mulhare) and Zara (Persis Khambatta), are chauffeured into the middle of the desert and left there grumbling until Dallas (Michael Beck) appears as if from nowhere to shoot a rattlesnake that was approaching them. This is their introduction to Megaforce...

Cannon were not the only production company turning out action movies during the eighties, as Hong Kong's Golden Harvest thought they would have a go as well. One of those films was this item of ludicrous camp, starring as the leader of the top secret organisation what British viewers could easily mistake for Noel Edmonds, but he's not, he's a blond, bearded and blow-dried Barry Bostwick throwing himself into the hero role with embarrassing abandon. There's very little that won't test your taste threshhold, but in particular that skintight golden leotard Bostwick wears would be judged a bit much even by the most flamboyant of dressers.

One of the problems we have here is that the story takes half of the ninety minutes-or-so running time to set up, so we have to endure lengthy exposition sequences and guided tours of the Megaforce base, along with the required budding romance between Bostwick's Ace Hunter (yes, that's really his name) and Zara. The couple even go skydiving together as the hopeful Zara plans to be part of the mission to blow up the arsenal of main bad guy and threat to her country Guerera (a cheerful Henry Silva). Well, I say they go skydiving, what actually happens is that their stunt doubles do while laughably bad special effects edit the actors into the scene.

"Laughably bad" is an apt phrase to describe the rest of the film, but could it be that this was not intended as entirely straight-faced? Director Hal Needham was behind The Cannonball Run movies, after all. That may be the case, but as the project appears to have been written on the level of a Saturday morning cartoon, including the simplistic sense of humour, then you do wonder if the filmmakers thought audiences would accept this at face value. In fact the jokes verge on the bizarre when the situation is taken into account, all about "your wife" or hearty digs at one another.

Chances are it's not the jokes you will be chortling at, it will be the serious bits. When we do get an action setpiece, it takes the form of all the Megaforce vehicles asembled in a straight line and driving towards the enemy guns and missiles (and lasers) blazing - not the most enthralling of experiences as these things go. Oddly of all, Ace and Guerera are old friends and Guerera even turns up to visit his opponent where they share hugs (and a kiss) and make light of their rivalry. Which underlines the sense that this is all a big giggle, but as we never see anyone actually killed in all this mayhem, then there's nothing to invest in these characters or their relationships. Better to sit back and guffaw at the square-jawed antics and such silliness as a motorbike that sprouts tiny wings and flies Ace to safety in a finale that's guaranteed to have you falling about. Music by Jerrold Immel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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