Megaforce (1982) – Hal Needham

I haven’t watched this movie since coming across it as a kid during a SuperChannel preview (man those were the days huh?). And re-watching it now, I’m struck by one thing, Megaforce is a pendulum, it’s bad, it’s so bad it’s good, and then it’s back to bad again. This is a terrible film, and yet I couldn’t stop watching it. Atrocious acting, horrible special effects, and costume design by a toy company… Mattel.

Production company Golden Harvest was still working on breaking into the North American market, and this was one of their early releases, honestly it feels more like a tv movie aimed at selling toys at kids, as if Mattel were trying to come up with their own version of G.I. Joe.

It’s got a solid cast, but even they can’t save this ridiculous release. The film is led by Barry Bostwick who plays the blue silk head band wearing, perfectly coiffed hair, jumpsuit wearing leader of Megaforce, Hunter. Surrounded by characters that sound like toy names, Egg, Dallas, Ivan, Suki, Zac and Sixkiller, the film moves beyond camp and bears no resemblance to reality at all.

A fictional country in South America who count Byrne-White (Edward Mulhare) and Zara (Peris Khambatta) amongst their military command is having problems with a nearby dictator who has designs on their land, Guerara (Henry Silva) who just happens to be an old pal of Hunter’s (and stole his lighter).

Zara flirts with Hunter while her country requests his aid. It seems his team is a bunch of do-righters who are sent around the globe to fight for truth and justice wherever it’s needed. They do so in a trio of C-130s which carry their ‘futuristic’ equipment, kitted out cars and motorbikes that just begged for the Hot Wheels division of Mattel to go to work.

The bikes can fire rockets, have machine guns, eject smoke trails and, honestly, are kinda cool. But a single item doesn’t a film save.

As Hunter and his team change from jumpsuit to jumpsuit, they all look like action figures of a never produced or quickly forgotten toyline – and they never get dirty, even Hunter who ends up in the dirt towards the climax of the film walks away clean and without a scratch.

Each member of Megaforce wears their country’s flag on their shoulder, and they have to volunteer to join even though it means disappearing from the files of their home country. All that is except for Dallas (played by Micheal Beck) who quite happily sports a Confederate flag. Ugh.

The end of the film features some of the worst special effects put to film, except for perhaps earlier in the film during a skydiving sequence. Having said that, there’s this cool thing they do call intro-vision which incorporates actors into photographic sets and a lot of times, that works, and must have saved a mint on production, but that didn’t make it good. Somehow I kind of dug this film when I was ten. But kids are stupid.

I laughed and shook my head at this film constantly. I couldn’t believe that the director had done Smokey & The Bandit. I could believe the director had done Cannonball Run.

It was an interesting rewatch, and it’s so bad it’s good and then bad again. And if that works for you, check out Megaforce, and remember, the good guys always win… even in the 80s.

Deeds not words.

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