Future War (1997)

Future War

Directed by Anthony Doublin

Written by Dom Magwili

Tagline: "Past Predator, Present Alien, Future Terminator"

Run Time: 90 min

Sister Ann: "Who are you?"

Future Slave: "A tool."


I don’t think I’ve hated a movie as much as Future War since I reviewed Hobgoblins a while back. Everything, everything, everything about this movie is poorly executed. Acting, production values, sets, fight choreography, ‘special’ effects, story, pacing, continuity, direction. Did I forget anything? If so, well, I’m sure it sucked too. The story revolves around an escaped slave from the future (kidnapped from the past), who somehow ends up in the present. Cyborg slave keepers hunt him down with (rubber) dinosaurs. Future Slave (referred to simply as ‘FS’ in the review) befriends a former crest-fallen drug-addict-turned-nun (!) who helps him battle the cyborgs.

The actor who plays Future Slave (credited as "The Runaway" on IMDB) is one Daniel Bernhardt who certainly appears to be aping a more popular actor at the time, namely Jean-Claude Van Damme. It is a chilling display of impotent mimicry. I’m not saying that I could take him in a fight, and he certainly knows how to throw a kick, but the whole "Jean-Claude" look has got to go. To be fair, Daniel did go on to bigger and better things (could you really go down from Future War?), notably as Agent Johnson in The Matrix Reloaded, and a couple Blood Sport movies to boot. One other note, Daniel did the fight choreography for Future War. Just so you know who to blame.

The Cast:

Slave The Runaway (Daniel Bernhardt)

Daniel’s career survived Future War (somehow) as he went on to show up in several other films, including ‘Agent Johnson’ in The Matrix Reloaded, and a couple of appearances in Bloodsport 3 and Bloodsport 4.

Ann Sister Ann (Travis Brooks Stewart)

With a limited range of acting ability, Travis Stewart tries her best to play Ann, well, I think she’s trying. After Future War, Travis Stewart went on to play ‘Myrtle’ in Bikini Hotel before mercifully fading away into obscurity.

Our feature presentation begins with FS, Sister Ann, and Big Black Dude (BBD) walking through some sort of system of tunnels. The tunnels have the strange quality of adding an ‘echo’ effect to everybody’s voices. Why? God knows. "We found them, down there…", says Ann. Found what? We’ll find out. Maybe. FS nearly stumbles into a deep, dark, scary opening in the floor. Which is pretty amazing given how light the, *ahem*, tunnels are. FS, BBD, and Ann lean against the wall and shimmy their way along a ledge. Of course, we don’t see the pit as they shimmy, so it is obviously the three of them, oh how shall I say, leaning against a wall pretending to shimmy along a ledge.

Time for Ann to provide some back story via narration.

"Four days ago, a fire fell from the sky…and it brought a man who would change my life forever. It also came a pack of dinosaur-like creatures in various ages [??], shapes [???], and sizes and its [sic] masters…For all the questions I had about the heavens, all it brought was hell on Earth."

(Various shapes? Like round? Square?)

Future WarAs the group of intrepid adventurers rounds a corner they catch sight of a pair of these dinosaur-like creatures, which actually are T-Rex knock-offs. (I will bet dollars to doughnuts that these dinosaur puppets were scavenged from a different film.)

The dinosaurs growl and act scary while doing their best to hide the fact that they’re made of rubber as FS, BBD, and Ann try to come up with a plan.

Well, it doesn’t matter. The dinosaurs give chase and, well, this is all a little confusing. Somehow the three humans get on the other side of a giant open pit (what’s with the pits around here?) One of the dinosaurs stops on the far side, gets shot, and topples into the hole. Yet, magically, the remaining dinosaur appears on the same side as the humans and gives chase anew. BBD somehow ends up laying on the floor where we see a dinosaur POV shot (yes, it’s a red filter) going in for the kill.

You know, it’s not a good sign to be so confused a mere 2 minutes into a film.

Cut to the present. No wait. It’s the future. I’m not sure. Whatever it is, a huge spaceship flies slowly past the camera.

Just a word or two regarding the opening credit sequence. Some genius thought it would be cool to show a credit, typically for just one person at a time, then cut to the film to show a bit of ‘action’. After about 2 seconds of film, cut to another credits, 2 seconds of film, credit, 2 seconds of film, credit…you get the point. This is truly the most annoying opening credit sequence I’ve ever had the displeasure to witness. (My favorite credit is "Special Appearance by Mel Novak". You might be asking who the hell Mel Novak is…I have no clue. But he’s appearance in the film as "Otis" sure must be special to anybody who actually knows who this guy is.)

We see (between credits), empty hallways in the space ship, alarms going off, more spaceship flying through space. OK, I see. There is some sort of mutiny on the space ship. Somebody manages to press a big red button on a generic control panel and launch a smaller escape ship. More ‘action’ scenes, sort of, of the smaller craft flying away from the main ship. Yes, the credits are still going on.

OK. Back on Earth some hippie dude sitting on the beach looks up to see the craft plummet into the sea. We of course don’t see the craft entering the ocean, that would have cost money. We just assume that’s what happened since we later see FS crawling along the beach.

Hey, some information pops up on the screen:

"From the future traveled a master race of Cyborgs. They made abductions from Earth’s past. The dinosaurs were trained as trackers. The humans were bred as slaves. Now a runaway slave escapes to a place his people call heaven…we know it as Earth"

Ohhh! I see! Their ‘heaven’ is what think of as good old Earth! Cool.

More credits: "Four days ago…"

Then cut to the beach. So in case you are just waking up, we are now seeing what happened before the opening scenes. Man, this kind of cool editing and playing with chronological continuity beats the hell out of Pulp Fiction!

OK, as I mentioned earlier, we now see FS crawling along a beach, I presume after having swam out of his space craft that ditched in the ocean. Cut to see two T-Rex legs walking along the beach in ‘pursuit’. You would think that a space craft plunging into the ocean followed by a T-Rex stomping along the beach in Los Angeles would draw a crowd…but not here.

Oh, it’s a baby T-Rex, as indicated when we see a Cyborg holding it by a leash. The Cyborg slips the T-Rex free of its leash and we cut to Dino-Cam, indicated by shooting the scene with a red filter. Cut to the Cyborg’s POV: Cyborg-Cam, as indicated by a big cross-hair in the middle of the screen accompanied by strange hydraulic sounds. I never knew that Cyborgs required hydraulics just to see. Another thing, the Cyborg, supposedly the ‘Master Race’, sees worse than the human does. Stupid movie.

Downtown LA, a bum is making a bed with old newspapers beside a dumpster. FS runs along, stumbles over a plastic bag filled with something or other, and topples into the bum’s lap. The bum screams in surprise, as does FS, I guess because they don’t have bums in the future.

Future WarUnfortunately for the bum, the baby T-Rex appears and makes a quick lunch out of him. What is odd is that we see the dino before it eats the bum standing next to a barrel. The barrel is taller than the dino by a good foot, so it appears that this terrifying ‘tracker’ is the size of a lap dog.

After dispatching the bum, the dinosaur attacks FS, who unsurprisingly makes quick work of the little bugger.

Oh yeah. After the dinosaur is killed it explodes. Go figure.

Now we cut to the first big hand-to-hand battle of the film. (Unfortunately not the last.) FS runs along and manages to hide himself away in some sort of shipping area full of empty cardboard boxes. How do I know they’re empty? Because you can see them fall over from the slightest nudge. Entire stacks of these boxes sway and almost topple over when FS simply brushes against them.

Future WarThe cyborg (OK, simply Cyborg from here on out), who looks a little like Ron Jeremy trying out for a part in ‘Road Warrior’, uses his super-duper-Cyborg cam to find FS hiding behind a pile of discarded kitchen appliances. (What kind of place is this?) Cyborg and FS throw a few half-hearted punches at each other before FS runs and hides in a veritable maze of these empty cardboard boxes. I mean really, what the hell kind of place is this supposed to be?

Anyway, FS tosses an empty cardboard box at Cyborg, who deftly knocks it aside. After some perfunctory yelling, throwing wild punches, and half-hearted grappling, Cyborg manages to grab FS in some sort of WWF wrestling hold. In an almost unbelievable continuity breach, Cyborg tosses FS aside and out of frame, we then cut to see FS stumbling to regain his balance but now they are inside a building! Incredible!

I also love the way the same ‘smack’ sound is foleyed onto the soundtrack no matter where a punch lands. In other words, a punch to the stomach or face results in the same sound. Oh yeah, a kick sounds the same too. I never knew that every part on the human body will make the same sound when hit.

Ok, let’s move along. More punching, kicking, and a hell of a lot of screaming and yelling. No kidding, I’ve never seen so much ‘aaaaahaaaaaaaawwww!!!!!’ yelling before. And why would a cyborg yell? Ugg. Finally, FS tosses Cyborg into a pile of empty boxes, which topple over with a none-to-convincing sound of broken glass added to the audio track. Absurd.

The Cyborg disappears under a pile of boxes and FS runs off upon hearing a roaring noise from a puppet. Oops, I mean dinosaur. FS runs around through the piles, piles, and piles of boxes while being stalked by the dinosaurs. And no, this is not suspenseful in the least.

How did the T-Rex get into this building in the first place? Just curious…

Finally FS comes across a T-Rex, or is it the other way around? Anyway, using some of the worst forced-perspective shots I can recall, the dinosaur and FS end up "side by side" even though dinosaur puppet is obviously much, much closer to the camera. This is really first-year high-school film class stuff here. No, sorry. I didn’t mean to insult all the high-schoolers out there. This is just cheap, lazy cinematography.

Dinosaur takes a bite at FS, who, big surprise, "dodges" it. Counterattacking, FS takes a roundhouse punch at the dino and connects on the chin. Somehow, FS can punch hard enough to kill a T-Rex because it too dies and explodes.

Cut to see a nun, Sister Ann, driving down the street. Yup. Nuns, dinosaurs, cyborgs…this movie has it all, baby!

Future WarFS runs from the Empty Cardboard Box Inc. building and bolts directly in front of Ann’s car. Seeing his motionless form, Ann springs from her vehicle to render aid. We next see Ann bursting through the doorway of the halfway house where she works. Gasping for breath, Ann pleads with Huge Black Dude, and I finally heard his name, Fred. OK, Fred and some other loser, Oscar, go out to the car and bring the unconscious FS inside. (Why didn’t Ann take him to the hospital? And why do we see that it’s now pitch black outside when Fred opens the door for Ann?)

Future WarLater that day, or is it the same day, who knows, we see the police arriving at Empty Cardboard Box Inc. where the discovery of several half-eaten bodies has certainly raised some eyebrows. Oddly, the shot of a police car arriving at the scene has the entire sky ‘blacked out’ by either faulty film processing or matted out on purpose. Why in the world they did this is beyond me.

Arriving on the scene is none other than police Captain Polaris (!!). A female investigator suggests that a "mountain lion or grizzly bear" may be responsible. Polaris suggests calling the Humane Society or zoo. Gee, you think?

A uniformed officer calls Polaris over to the side to show him something in the dirt. The photography is so poor at this point that all I can say is that it’s either a dinosaur footprint, an explosion mark, or an oil stain.

Well, enough of all that action, we cut back to the halfway house where Sister Ann is having a smoke and talking about her lack of conviction regarding her choice as a nun. A nurse from the, ahem, "Clinic", has popped in to take a look at FS, laying unconscious in a spare bedroom. She notes that nothing looks broken but she can’t tell until some X-rays are taken. (Once again…why the hell didn’t Ann just take him straight to the hospital?) Promising to stop by after her night shift, the nurse takes her leave, but not before giving Ann a strange collar that she found on FS. (I’m not sure where he had it since in the previous fight scenes he clearly did not have a collar on his neck…)

Returning to Ann’s dilemma, Fred tries to console her, "Look, when we first met, you were hiding from a pimp, you just did a month in the joint, you were suicidal and addicted." I’m sure she feels better. Fred’s point is that Ann managed to clean herself up, and that becoming a nun is the right move for her. Really, would I make all this up? "Listen kid," says Fred, "everything is going to work out just fine…you’ll see." Wow. That was encouraging. Wow, I feel some much more empathy for the characters now.

Future WarThe next day Ann is cleaning up in the kitchen, Fred is reading the morning paper, and a huge dude comes into the kitchen saying that FS is awake but won’t speak. For some reason Ann is now dressed in an Original Gangsta plaid shirt and sweat jacket because you know, she’s OG. Either that or the movie would be even stupider with her running around in a nun’s habit fighting dinosaurs.

Upstairs, in the "day room", FS is desperately scanning the radio stations in an apparent effort to contact his ship. Oh yeah, he’s also dressed in a sleeveless Gangsta plaid shirt. I’m not sure why they didn’t just leave his other clothes on him, nor who changed his clothes, but there you have it.

Fred tries to introduce himself, but FS ignores him while he busily shoves food into his mouth and scans the radio stations. Ann sends Fred and Huge-Guy out of the room so that she can try to "get him to open up" alone. Nothing seems to work. Only when she’s about to leave the room does FS jump up and pin her against the wall (?).

OK, let’s cut to the chase. Ann tries to get FS to tell her where he’s from, but he can only grunt and point to the sky. Ann doesn’t get it, so he smashes a bookshelf (!) and goes back to scanning the radio stations. ([The Royal Minister of Proof-Reading Sean Ledden notes: It’s interesting how Future Slaves are violent, incapable of language, yet able to master complicated audio technology like the radio…Sounds like your typical teenager!]) Fed up with getting nowhere, Ann pops in later that evening to say good-bye for she’s going to go visit her aunt (!). FS grabs her and once again tries to explain where he’s from. FS can now say single words: "You….here…[points to globe]…me…here…[points to space above globe]". I hope I’m conferring the excitement of this scene to you. Ann still doesn’t get it. (Good grief, woman! Wake up!)

Anyway, somehow a tracker T-Rex appears outside the window. How the hell a Tyrannosaurus Rex could move about Los Angeles without being noticed is never explained. So, like I was saying, a T-Rex magically appears outside the window, growls, and smashes its head through the window and into the room. The commotion brings in Huge-Guy who waddles into the room and is promptly knocked aside by the T-Rex. You will notice that the mannequin that was used in the scene has brown skin, is thin, and is wearing a black shirt. Huge-Guy, who is supposedly being knocked down, is white, weighs about 300 pounds, and is wearing a green shirt. Isn’t this a great movie?

Fred then pops into the room wielding a shot-gun (!!) and drives back the T-Rex with a few blasts to the face. This counterattack gives FS and Ann a chance to run out the back door and escape. (Wow! Great tracker!)

The next scene shows Ann and FS walking down a street gasping for breathe, "Wow", says Ann, "I think we out ran him!" (Outran a T-Rex? By running down the middle of a street? And then where is the T-Rex? Stupid movie.) While FS and Ann walk down the street, Ann’s narration explains how FS really does understand English but his "Vocal cords needed to adjust to our language." Yup. You bet. Anyway, now FS can talk, although haltingly at first, but he gets better and better.

FS explains that he is "a tool" (I agree one hundred percent!), enslaved by the Cyborgs to create, er, things for them. Ann is skeptical. (Although she did just have an encounter with a T-Rex that busted into her living room…but anyway…)

Somehow, Ann and FS end up riding out of town in the back of a box car. (What happened to Ann’s car? Where the hell are they going?) Well, it’s suppose to be a box car but if you look carefully at the wood paneling, it’s the same that appeared in the opening scenes of the hallway. Yup, somebody just piled up a couple bales of hay next to the same walls, added train "sounds" to the audio track, and viola! FS and Ann are riding the rails.

After FS and Ann have a heart-to-heart talk (even exchanging Bible verses!), Ann’s narration continues. You see, she trained to be a nun, but had a crisis of faith. Oh brother. Let’s just move on. I’m sorry if I’m a bit impatient here, but this attempt at characterization is so stunningly awful it defies description. I mean, who freakin’ cares!? If you can manage to see ‘Future War’ a total of 5 times without cracking up, then you are a stronger person than me.

Future WarYes, now they are back on the train where FS informs Ann that the tracker (i.e., T-Rex) will go back to where it first found them, i.e., the halfway house where all of Ann’s friends live. This doesn’t sound much like "tracking" to me, but whatever. Realizing that her friends are in danger, Ann decides to go back to the halfway house despite the fact that the tracker has "her scent." I’m also a bit unsure as to what Ann hopes to accomplish by going back and facing a flock of T-Rex’s. If it’s just to warn her friends, can’t she just call them?

FS offers to come along to help her but Ann basically tells him to hit the road because "this is something I have to do alone!" Does anybody understand Ann’s motivation at this point? FS quotes the Bible a bit more and finally convinces Ann to let him tag along back to the halfway house.

Future WarThe next morning we see an old man walking around the forest reading a "Monsters" magazine. (Update Nov 3, 2005: A Tip O’ The Hat to Danny Runion at Sideorder Of Ninjas for informing me that this man is none other than sci-fi legend Forrest Ackerman. Shame on me!) I think the filmmakers could have just painted the words "Victim #1" on his forehead to make it a little clearer. Somehow, this guy suffers from Periphial-Vision-itus and doesn’t see the 15-foot high T-Rex standing beside him that quickly gobbles him up. We, of course, don’t see him being eaten. Instead we see the puppet’s mouth sort of ‘snap’ a few times before cutting to the next scene.

Back at Police Headquarters, Polaris has posted little stickers up on a map showing all the latest victims. He assumes that it’s "an animal from the mountains going on a rampage" and sends patrol cars out to intercept it.

Meanwhile, FS and Ann are still aimlessly walking around the streets of L.A. Since it’s now morning, late afternoon actually, I can only deduce that they’ve been walking for the last 36 hours, not including the time spent on the, *ahem*, train.

Future WarCut to a couple of kids kicking a soccer ball around in a park. Somehow, again, nobody notices a freakin’ T-Rex in the middle of the day in LA and the dinosaur eats the kids. As before, we don’t see it. But we are treated to some terrible special effects.

Another shot shows some guys in some sort of storage room calling the police for help. A stage hand waving a spot light back and forth indicates that something exciting is happening in case you didn’t notice. There are also a couple of guys frantically blockading the door with, yes, empty cardboard boxes. I guess those should keep out a T-Rex, eh?

Suddenly we see FS and Ann being picked up and put in the back of a police car! For what? They’re just walking down the street! Stupid movie! In one scene they’re walking down the street, the next they’re sitting in the back of a cop car! Ack.

Future WarCut to a, um, reporter giving a "live" report from outside Empty Cardboard Box Inc. (Referred to as "The 5th Street Warehouse"). In what I believe to be 2 of the utterly cheapest props I have ever seen in a movie, the reporter’s microphone has a piece of paper taped to it with a hand drawn number "2" indicating the TV station, and the cameraman’s video camera is a cardboard box with a lens sticking out the end. Incredible!!!

I mean, is this meant to be a joke?!

Sigh. Moving along.

Polaris orders the "Tactical Team" to move in and try to rescue the guys barricaded in the back room of the warehouse.

Yes, the Tactical Team moves into the warehouse which is, of course, a maze of empty cardboard boxes. By the way, the Tactical Team, led by "Joey", seems to be comprised of only Joey himself. At least that’s the only guy we see moving around in the boxes.

Back outside, Polaris decides to move into the warehouse with backups. Amazingly, FS and Ann are standing beside him and he tells them to come with him! Ok, let’s get this straight. A police car picks up Ann and FS for whatever reason. Then drives them to the sight of an animal attack, releases them right beside Captain Polaris, who then orders these 2 complete strangers (previously under arrest!) to come with him into the warehouse! What the hell!??

The new tactical team moves through the warehouse where they finally come across the T-Rex in a convenient open area (surrounded by boxes). The police begin to shoot but are told to hold fire because "Floyd" (!?) is behind the T-Rex and might be hit by friendly fire. I guess this means FS is going to do some more karate. <sigh>

On FS’s command, Ann tosses her jacket over the T-Rex’s head while FS cuts it throat with a huge knife. (Where did that come from?) The dead dino topples over and its exploding collar blows it up into a million bits. At that moment Polaris receives a call from headquarters warning him that more monsters have been sighted. FS tries to explain that the monsters are after him, at which time Polaris places him under arrest (!!). Under what charge?! FS obviously displayed he can kill these things, and he even offered to go kill the other monsters…but he’s placed under arrest?! ("He won’t run away this time!", says Polaris…huh?)

FS is tossed in the clink, namely an empty cell (in LA!?) big enough for him to do a bunch of karate kicks and punches for our enjoyment. It’s his way of gearing up for battle. I think. Ann, however, was released. She meets with Fred (from the halfway house, remember, it seems about a million years ago) and has him set up a meeting between her and the, *ahem*, "Twelfth Street Gang". (Oh brother!) so she can buy a bunch of weapons in order to fight the dinos without the police’s help.

Future WarAnn meets with the 12th Street Gang, all six of them, each wearing different ‘colors’. (Isn’t that a gang no-no? Aren’t they all supposed to have the same colors? Maybe this is some sort of gang coalition.) Some Classic Lines are exchanged and the gang agrees to give her some help. You see, Ann used to be "down" in "da hood". Yeah, ok. I’ll buy that.

The meeting goes as Ann had hoped, and she is told of a contact where she can fetch weapons and money. Oh yeah, and the 12th Street Gang is going to help them fight the monsters.

Back at police headquarters, a police psychologist, Dr. Tanaka, gives her professional opinion of FS: "Personally, I think he’s nuts." Suddenly "Federal Agents" burst into the interview room, Polaris is kicked out of the room (!), and the Feds press FS for info. Using a knife, they eventually dig out a transmitter from FS’s back (Without anesthetic! Why not?). "Sorry about all this humiliation," says Agent #1, "It’s my job." Indeed. The transmitter, a tiny red doo-hickey is taken to "the lab" for analysis.

Cut to see another Cyborg stomping around the police parking lot. Somehow, the Cyborg manages to get inside the police building without raising any eyebrows, and blasts open the door to the lab. (Now really people, how the hell did a shotgun-and-laser-gun-bearing cyborg get into the police building without anybody noticing. Stupid, stupid movie.)

Cyborg crashes through the door, and shall I say a patently styrofoam door, and kills the terrified technician.

By the way, if you think the scene in this movie with the cyborg breaking into the police station to hunt down a fugitive is a rip-off of the Terminator, then you are absolutely correct. I will say this about the guys that made this movie: they had a lot of nerve!

The whole Rampage-Through-The-Police-Station is so ineptly executed it defies description. The Cyborg blows away a bunch of cops and finally gets ahold of FS and starts dragging him away. One policeman opens what must be the weapon’s locker, which is shown as a room with guns hanging by nails pounded into the wall (!!!), and takes an M-16 off the wall. He unwisely opens fire on the Cyborg, but at least FS manages to get free while the Cyborg shoots at the other cop.

Let’s move this along. FS kills a T-Rex that was hiding in the police parking lot (!!!) and disables the Cyborg by hitting it in the stomach with a pipe. (Don’ ask. OK, ask. FS pulled the pipe off the wall.)

Back with Ann and the 12th Street Gang, Ann finally manages to convince the gang members to help them fight the monsters. Somehow, FS pops into the room, wearing his shirt that was removed in the police station, and volunteers to lead them to the T-Rex’es since "they can be found by water." (How did FS get his shirt back? When he killed the T-Rex in the parking lot he was shirtless, so I guess he must have made his way back inside, back to the interrogation room and got his clothes. Wow, he must really like that shirt!)

FS takes Ann to some sort of entrance tunnel to the underground tunnels that we saw in the beginning of the film. (See how all this is coming together? Pretty neat, huh?) He finds some dinosaur tracks in the dirt, but our “heroes” are nearly eaten when a T-Rex comes out of the entrance and starts chasing them. Fleeing the dinosaur puppet, Ann and FS jump into the back of some guy’s pick-up truck (thank goodness the truck’s driver was sitting in the front seat reading a newspaper…how convenient) and scream at him to drive away. The driver hesitates at first, but a quick glimpse in his mirror reveals the rampaging dinosaur and he burns rubber out of there.

In another obscenely blatant rip-off from another movie, the T-Rex chases the truck down the street, snapping at FS and Ann who are riding in the back of the truck. Sounds a lot like the scene in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex was chasing the jeep through the forest, eh? Well it looks a hell of a lot like it too. How did these guys sleep at night?!

Well, FS and Ann finally get away when they slam a gate shut on the dinosaur. (How they managed to close the gate while riding in the back of a speeding truck is beyond me…)

Suddenly we cut back to the meeting with Ann, FS, and the 12th Street Gang, which was actually happening before the scene we just saw showing the monster chasing them. Hmmm. Nice editing. Whatever, they hand out a bunch of weapons, including a dart gun (!!) and head out to do battle with the trackers.

Hey! Now they’re walking through the tunnels again! Just like in the beginning! That must mean that we have come full circle, chronologically speaking of course. Well, yes, these scenes are just as boring this time around too.

OK, FS, Ann, and some volunteers from the 12th Street Gang, or maybe it’s the entire gang, find a couple of T-Rex trackers and begin setting up booby traps. Well, one trap at least. This trap involves a large chain-link fence juiced up with electricity that will eventually be tossed on top of the dinosaur. Oops! Hope I didn’t give anything away.

Oh! One more thing. There is a time bomb emplaced at the tunnel entrance that is set to go off (according to the digital read out, of course) in about 5 minutes. Well, it’s hard to tell exactly how long it’s going to take because the display seems to count down faster and faster every time they show the damn thing.

Anyway, Fred gets chomped, as was shown in the beginning in the film, so the editors at least got that right. Another 12th Street Gang member (sporting a beret!) is also gulped up when his gun misfires (oh brother) and he charges the T-Rex with his knife.

Now that the 2 T-Rex trackers are dispatched, Cyborg decides to mysteriously pop up At That Very Moment. FS and Cyborg have a half-hearted fisticuffs, which results in, unsurprisingly, Cyborg getting his butt kicked yet again.

As another T-Rex comes after the humans, the time bomb reaches zero and explodes. The tunnel entrance is blown to bits. Well, at least the little styrofoam table-top model that was used to represent the tunnel.

Future WarThe next day, or maybe next week, I don’t know, Ann is taking her vows in an extremely spartan "church". I mean, there is no way that this room even pretends to be a church sanctuary. Anyway, in attendance is FS and a dopey little kid from the halfway house.

Boy, there’s nothing that says "Movie Excitement" quite like watching somebody take Catholic vows in church. Let me tell you.

Just as Ann accepts her vows, er, proclaims her faith, whatever it’s called, Cyborg jumps through the stained-glass ceiling (!) and promptly shoots a statue of the Virgin Mary (!). FS picks up one of the two church pews in the room (a church hall with only two pews) and tosses it at Cyborg who simply knocks it aside. (OK, FS is simply a human, a buff human, admittedly, but I don’t think he’d be strong enough to pick up and throw a church pew!)

Some more Pseudo-Kung-Fu Fighting takes place, which of course immediately results in FS getting his shirt torn off so he can expose his muscles. (Man, really, this movie is lame!)

Cyborg dude blows up yet another statue of the Virgin Mary (Doh!!). Ann notices one of those exploding collar thingees laying on the church floor (Now where did that come from!!!???) and tosses it to FS. A quick punch to the Cyborg’s chin knocks it to its knees allowing FS to attach the exploding collar around its neck. (In a hilarious continuity error, FS’s chest is covered in blood in one shot and completely free of blood in the very next. To make matters worse, the shots are shown several times in a row as if the film makers wanted to make sure the viewer spotted the error. Well done, gents.)

OK, the collar explodes and Cyborg dude bursts into flames. FS is injured, but hey, he’ll be OK.

As the movie comes to a close, we see Sister Ann flipping through her scrap book. A hilarious newspaper clipping states "Rehab center scores new counselor", which in my opinion, is an odd verb to choose in that context. The picture accompanying the headline shows, you guessed it, FS. Yup, he’s now a rehab counselor. Go figure. Even odder is that the picture of FS shown over the headline is a head-shot of him from the previous church battle with the Cyborg. Who was there to take that picture is anybody’s guess.

By the way, the movie is over now. You are free to leave and never watch this movie again.

Dennis Grisbeck (August 2005)

Afterthoughts

Future War is a really, really, bad movie. All of the special effects are poorly conceived and executed. And I do mean all. Check out the terrible dinosaur effects and the oddly repeating fights amongst the piles and piles of empty cardboard boxes.

Acting. Huh? What acting.

In the MST3K version of this film, one of the bots sums it up best when he said "Future War does not take place in the future, and there is no war."

That about sums it up: Everything about this film is wrong. Everything.

Read more about Future War at

IMDB

3 comments to Future War (1997)

  • guts3d

    …Somehow, FS can punch hard enough to kill a T-Rex because it too dies and explodes.

    …Fred then pops into the room wielding a shot-gun (!!) and drives back the T-Rex with a few blasts to the face. ( It doesn’t explode! )

    I guess Future Slaves’ punches are more potent than a point blank shotgun blast!!!

    Excellent review! I saw the MST3K version and chuckled constantly.

  • Dan

    Easily one of my all time favorite MST’s. Everything is so bad it transcends atrociousness and becomes something hilarious. The picture in the paper at the end of the movie has had me laughing so hard before I had tears running down my face.

  • Lévai József

    Just to clear your afterthought up, Mr. Dennis:

    Crow T. Robot: “See, I could point out that this isn’t in the future and it’s not a war, but you know me. I don’t like to complain.”

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