When you’re 14 years old, you can’t yet comprehend that a movie can be a total piece of shit. Seeing the Mandroid rolling around, knowing that a ninja was in this movie, I lost my mind and couldn’t wait to see it. But when you’re 14, you often are at the mercy of your family’s viewing choices (look, it was a different world in 1986. We only had one TV to watch movies on). I would have to wait 31 years to see this film and I can honestly tell you — it is a complete piece of shit.
It’s an entertaining piece of shit, though.
Written by Paul De Meo and Danny Bilson (Zone Troopers, The Rocketeer, Trancers), the film is a mashup of RoboCop and raiders of the Lost Ark. Man. Let me see if I can summarize the wacky goings on.
A mad scientist, Abbot Reeves (Roy Dotrice, Father from TV’s Beauty and the Beast and Mozart in Amadeus) has invented time travel and intends to take over Ancient Rome. He also has a Mandroid (Patrick Reynold, the grandson of tobacco company founder, RJ Reynolds) who he wants to dismantle for some reason. Reeve’s assistant, Dr. Takada helps the Mandroid escape. Just before he dies, he tells him that Col. Nora Hunter (Denise Crosby, granddaughter of Bing and Tasha Yar from Star Trek: The Next Generation) can help him stop Reeves’ evil plan. She also has a cute robot named S.P.O.T. for the kids to enjoy.
To get there, they’ll need a boat. And a captain, named Indiana Han Jones. Err, I mean Harry Fontana (Andrew Prine, The Lords of Salem, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Amityville II: The Possession). They battle some other riverboat captains who seem like the cheapest villains ever, then some cavemen, then they meet a ninja who just happens to be Doctor Takada’s son because there are no coincidences, then they battle Reeves, who has a new set of armor that is even more advanced than the Mandroid. He looks like a centurion and wants to go back and destroy Caesar, but Mandroid sacrifices himself and they send him hundreds of millions of years into the past (which seems like a horrible idea if you think of all the things he could do, like just randomly smashing every amphibian that tries to walk out of the water).
Boom. The movie ends. Smash cut to credits.
Obviously, this film inspired 2011’s Manborg, which was created by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie (the same team that crafted the insanely wonderful The Void).
It’s on the same blu ray Shout Factory release as The Dungeonmaster. Again — if you have enough beer and other substances that I will not judge you for having, you’ll probably enjoy this. Or have to explain to your wife why you like it so much.