Megaforce (1982)

Megaforce

Directed by Hal Needham

Tagline: “When the force was with them, NO-ONE stood a chance!”

Run Time: 99 minutes


Megaforce is, I must admit, a guilty pleasure from my long lost past that I’m still able to enjoy as a jaded adult. (My other guilty pleasures from that era are now impossible to re-experience at this point in my life because of physical limitations of an aging body. Don’t ask.) I remember trembling with anticipation while sitting next to my friends in the theater waiting for the greatest cheese-fest of the year, nay, the decade: Skin-tight latex uniforms, Barry Bostwick with his fay baby-blue bandana, the pimped-out battle motorcycles (the "Delta MK 4 Megafighter"…Huzzah!), the generic Bad Guy (played by excitable Henry "I Gotta Do What I Gotta Do" Silva), tanks, dune buggies, more motorcycles, cheap blue-screen shots…Megaforce had it all!

Let’s meet the cast:

Barry Bostwick Ace Hunter (Barry Bostwick)

Depending on whether or not your parents let you see those kinds of movies, you may or may not remember watching Barry as "Brad Majors" from the unforgettable Rocky Horror Picture Show. In Megaforce, Barry portrays the lion-maned, heavily-feathered, and powder-blue bandana clad commander, Ace Hunter. Master of the Delta MK 4 Megafighter Motorcycle, Ace rolls over his enemies and into our hearts as the action never lets up. OK, well, he’s actually not that likeable at all.

Michael Beck Dallas (Michael Beck)

Michael Beck portrays Ace Hunter’s putative second-in-command, even though there are no ranks in Megaforce. Go figure. Anyway, you may remember Beck as "Sonny Malone" in another one of my guilty pleasures, Xanadu. (I like that movie. So shoot me.) Dallas is just your average tabagga’ chewin’, cowboy-hat wearin’, joke makin’, fun luvin’ highly trained killing machine that we all know and love. By the way, Dallas hails from, wait for it…Texas. Get it? Boy, that’s pretty clever.

Persis Khambatta Zara (Persis Khambatta)

Ms. Khambatta, a former Miss India, enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame after portraying the bald-headed Lt. Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Unfortunately fame is fleeting and after this relative success, she popped up in various supporting roles on TV and low-budget sludge. (See Warrior Of The Lost World for a great example.) Sadly, Persis Khambatta died of a sudden heart attack in 1998 at the age of 47.

Henry Silva Guerera (Henry Silva)

Evil General Guerera is portrayed by the veteran B-Movie and TV actor Henry Silva, who actually looks like he’s having a blast making this movie, at least judging by the way he chews the scenery and doesn’t seem to give a damn what anybody thinks. (Now that I think about it, he does that in all his films.)

Open with a deep manly voice reading a long-winded title card:

"Despite official denials by leaders of the free world, sources now confirm the existence of Megaforce, a phantom army of super elite fighting men whose weapons are the most powerful science can devise. Their mission…to preserve freedom and justice battling the forces of tyranny and evil in every corner of the globe."

Now if it had read that the world’s free countries were officially denying involvement with this movie, that I could understand.

MegaforceCut to the razzle-dazzle-whop-em-bop-em theme song which sounds like a salesman in an electronics store trying to close a deal on a Casio keyboard by demonstrating all possible combinations of rhythm and instrument buttons at the same time. This rousing salute to the wonders of electronic music is played over scenes taken from the movie itself which have been tricked up via some sort of electronic ‘image reversal’ black-and-white weirdness. (A separate title credit proudly informs us that Megaforce was filmed in "INTRO VISION"…whatever the hell that is.)

I just want to point out that one of the shots chosen for the opening credits was a battle scene showing the hero, Ace Hunter, getting shot off of his motorcycle and tumbling to the ground! Not a scene that inspires respect for the hero, but what do I know?

After the opening credits we see a platoon of soldiers who have just "liberated" a group of workers from their Evil Capitalist jobs. A comedy-relief Commissar (Ho Ho! Communism can be funny!) reads to the assembly from a ‘Workers Manifesto’. As the Commissar drones on, head honcho General Guerera becomes bored (much like the viewer) and orders his tanks to open fire on the power plant or whatever the hell it it is. (The ‘power plant’ is a cheap tabletop model that splits open to reveal that it’s simply an empty styrofoam box. I love it.)

(By the way, why do his tanks make a ‘laser’ sound when they fire? Strange.)

Megaforce

Guerera’s mighty tanks on the move. All 10 of them.

Anyway, the next day Guerera falls ambush to another column of tanks from who knows where. How Guerera could not see a column of enemy tanks driving towards them on an adjacent road in a completely barren, flat, open desert is beyond me. This mighty clash between powerful rival armored forces is realized by having somebody hover in a helicopter and film about 20 or so tanks driving over smoke grenades while pre-rigged explosions go off a safe distance away from the vehicles themselves. (The film makers understandably didn’t want to actually damage any equipment, but still, it not very exciting to see a battle of ‘almost hits’. On one occasion we see a vehicle get ‘hit’ and ‘explode’, but it’s an old M-113 personnel carrier (Not a tank. Strange…where did that come from?), and it’s easy to see that it’s being towed by a cable attached to a tank in front of it so they can safely ‘blow it up’.)

Megaforce

AMBUSH!

Anyhoo, the action continues…I’m going to get a beer. Back in a minute. Tell me if I miss anything.

Cut to see General White, commander of the Good Guys (still no country names…thanks.), monitoring the desert-ambush thingee by radio from his command post. After a short while, the tides of battle turn in their favor and White’s tank leader asks for permission to pursue Guerera’s retreating forces back into their own land. White promptly grants permission to pursue the attackers but is quickly overridden by Major Zara (Persis Khambatta). (Since when does a major outrank a general? Hmmm. Strange.)

"But this is the fourth time Guerera and has bandits have crossed the border this month," White pleads. (The fourth time this month?!…and Zara won’t allow White’s forces to pursue and destroy them? What?!)

Despite White’s insistence, Zara stands firm and refuses to allow their forces to cross into Guerera’s country. (So, let me get this straight: Zara won’t allow her army to go into Guerera’s country even though he’s invaded their country once per week for the last month? What the hell?!) Needless to say, Zara’s refusal to destroy Guerera’s army will eventually lead to the Megaforce having to do it, because, well, that’s the movie’s title and the producers spent a lot of money on the goofy motorcycles so you’re just gonna have to see them.

MegaforceLater we see Zara and White arriving at an airport from the battlefield…via Continental Airlines! (Probably because that was the only stock footage available.) After arriving at WhereEverTheHellTheyAre National Airport, Zara and White jump into a waiting limo and are quickly whisked off into the desert and promptly deposited in the middle of nowhere presumably to meet with a Megaforce representative. (Because…why? They need help fighting Guerera? Then why didn’t Zara just let White blow him to Kingdom Come? Stupid movie. Furthermore, if meeting with you is such a hush-hush deal that it requires being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, then would you really hire a limo to pick up and deliver your potential clients?!)

Anyway, Zara and General White stand around in the baking sun providing some absolutely hilarious ‘Fish Out of Water’ comedy because, you see, General White is a high ranking officer who is definitely not used to just being dropped off in the middle of nowhere and …well…OK. It’s not that funny at all.

After a minute or so of White’s completely hilarious complaining, we see a a rattle snake (specifically of the stockus footageous species) slithering along some rocks that are in no way in the same shot as the other two, but, a Casio keyboard chord indicates that this is somehow Dangerous. (As Mike Nelson said in the Mystified Zombie Nightmare: "Synthesizer signals suspense!")

Suddenly a rifle shot rings out and the rattlesnake slithers off in fear, or dies, or something. As Zara and White look on, up comes their official Megaforce contact, Dallas (Michael Beck). You see, Dallas is from…Tada! Texas, as indicated by his Skoal T-shirt and completely over the top Texas accent. Not too mention his innate ability to shoot snakes. ("No-Shoulders" as he calls them!…oh brother.)

"What’s your rank?" General White inquires of the gregarious Dallas.

"Rank? Why ain’t nobody got a rank in Megaforce!" Dallas bubbles. (They apparently don’t have English lessons either.)

I really have to marvel at how any sort of military organization could function without rank, but there you have. They are Megaforce, after all.

Anyway, Dallas shamelessly exposits some back story by saying that Major Zara is the president’s daughter, and that she’s the type "that makes bivouacking in the woods downright desirable!" (Oh God. Just shoot me now.)

As Dallas takes Zara’s baggage and escorts her to the his truck (White has to carry his own bag, and oh, it has a bullet hole in it…Har Dee Har) General White grumbles about the lack of "comfortable accommodations". Dallas grins and complies by asking the driver, Zac to put up a hologram on a nearby rock featuring a naked woman walking along a beach.

Megaforce

Another Megaforce technical achievement.

Inside the truck, Zara and White meet Dallas’ companion, Zac, short for, get this, Zachary Taylor! Hoo hoo! Man…Megaforce! What more can you say?

In a particularly cringe-inducing moment, White notices that Zac is listening to a walkman. "Gladys Knight and the Pips?" he inquires, because you see, Zac is black.

"Vivaldi," Zac smugly responds, because, get this: he’s not listening to soul music…and he’s black! BRILLIANT!

Megaforce"Winter?"

"Spring!" Zac counters before snapping the headphones back in place with a smile.

Boy, to think that Megaforce warriors can kick ass and be so worldly is just astounding. Auteur! (If you’re unsure as to what Zac and White were referring to in that witty exchange of bon mot, check this out and then maybe you can appreciate the depth of sophistication within the Megaforce ranks.)

Zac, Dallas, and the others finally pull over beside a boulder and wait for the Megaforce’s Big Arrival scene. As the synthesizer music signals that something exciting is about to happen (in case you were asleep at this point), we are treated to a montage of 3 Megaforce motorcycles racing across the desert on some sort of training mission. As Zara and General White look on in awe, the Megaforce cyclists zoom around in front of the truck and start shooting big colored balls that fly through the air.

On a side note, as has been mentioned by other reviewers, and as any person can quickly deduce, motorcycles are not suitable to mount weapons on! It’s freakin’ ludicrous. The only way to aim the machine-guns and missiles mounted onto the front wind screen is to physically turn the front wheel, thus the bike itself, which means you can only hit a target directly in front of you. (Which kind of makes you a target for whatever you’re shooting at in the first place, eh?) Not to mention that to fire at anything higher than the plane on which the guns are mounted requires popping a wheelie! (Furthermore, you could never hit anything below the level of the guns.)

Megaforce

Target practice. No, I’m not kidding.

On a funny note,. the colored balls explode whether the guns are firing or not because I suspect this shot was only filmed once. Nice work, boys. In another funny bit, one of the riders pops a wheelie in order to blast a pair of balloons and damned near wipes out when he comes back down in the soft sand. (See! Mounting weapons on motorcycles is idiotic.) In fact, the motorcyclist comes a hair breadth away from crashing into the guy riding next to him. The mighty Megaforce indeed.

MegaforceThis profoundly unimpressive display of two-wheeled weaponry comes to a close when a rider launches his bike over Zac’s truck and slides to a halt in front of the others. Pulling off his helmet, the rider introduces himself as none other than Megaforce commander Ace Hunter. (Yes, you got that right, Ace Hunter. Good grief!) Being the testosterone-laden uber-hunk Megaforce commander that he is, Ace likes wearing a baby-blue bandana around his forehead; the ends of which glide effortlessly behind his ears and through his heavily feathered hair, finally meeting in a fancy knot and trailing over his back collar. (Why the other Megaforce guys haven’t whooped Ace’s ass for being a fop is unclear. But hey, with a name like Ace Hunter, I guess you’re just such a bad-ass you can dress however you want.)

As Ace makes his way to introduce himself to Zara, his two Megaforce buddies watch in admiration as he makes his move.

"Target sighted…and closing," Token Asian Megaforce member remarks.

(Token Mexican Megaforce man nods in manly appreciation of the commanders debonair grace. How do I know the guy is Mexican? You can tell a Megaforce member’s nationality by the flag sewn onto their skin-tight lycra uniform. Note From The Future: Dallas’ uniform is emblazoned with the Confederate Flag! Also, isn’t the point of implementing a uni-form is so that everybody looks alike?)

Zara explains that White and herself have flown "half-way around the world" (from…where?) to learn how their forces are to "interface" with Megaforce in order to conquer Guerera. (Which they could have done in the movie’s opening scene. Idiots!)

After stating the main reason for wanting to meet with Megaforce, Zara oddly follows by complaining about the informal way that they were dropped off in desert.

Ace grins and shoots back, "Well if it’s a comfortable trip you want, then I have connections," (wait for it…wait for it…) " at Disneyland!"

"Target destroyed!" Token Asian says with a smug grin.

Yes, this is the apex of Megaforce wit.

Megaforce Megaforce

After watching Ace reassert his God-given male dominance over a mere female, Dallas and the others jump back into the truck and make their way to Super-Dooper Secret Megaforce Headquarters by following a highly traveled, and highly-visible, dirt road and driving directly into the (unguarded) main entrance. A little run-time is killed by another display of Megaforce wit: After General White gushes about how impressed he was with Ace’s display of motorcycle skills, Dallas explains that the "Delta MK-4" motorcycle is the pride and joy of "The Egg."

"Egg?" White asks.

"The Egg," Dallas corrects him, "Head of research and development…He’s got more degrees than a red-hot thermometer!" (Oh, Dallas, please stop. My sides. You’re killing me.)

Once inside the unbelievably gargantuan entrance chamber, Ace and the others pile out of their respective vehicles and meet the aforementioned "Egg". (…"And that ain’t no yolk!" Dallas adds…Ho! Ho! Such simple country charm and wit all in one package!)

Megaforce

"Egg": The man behind the miracle.

A couple of quick throw away lines indicate that Egg has nearly completed a Super Secret add-on to the DM4 motorcycle. Gee, I wonder if we’ll find out what this new modification by the end of the film. (Note From The Future: You will get to see it…and you will laugh your ass off.)

With more than enough run time remaining in the film, Ace proceeds to take White and Zara on a tour of the Megaforce facilities. "It puts the Pyramids to shame!" White gasps in wonder while being driving around in a tan golf cart. (!)

Basically, the Megaforce facility consists of matted shots of massive airplane hangars, control rooms, etc., every last one with towering ceilings and vast amounts of empty floor space which I suppose is meant to give us the impression of size, but really, it’s a hell of a lot of wasted space. Not to mention that all these rooms had to be dug out of solid rock, but hey: they’re Megaforce!

After a brief pause in a vehicle hangar, White asks the obvious question:"How did you come by all this [equipment]?"

"Well," Dallas says, "all we know is that every so often they just back up a truck and unload a whole mess of stuff in all sizes and colors."

Yep. That sounds reeeeeeal professional.

And believable too.

Megaforce

Dallas admires Ace’s choice of head gear.

Anyhoo, Ace goes on to explain Megaforce’s origins:

"Supreme Command United Free Forces. (!?) The leaders of every free nation in the world secretly contribute their best men and most advanced equipment…and they determine where and when we strike." (Who? What? Huh?)

Yeah, if that sounds plausible then I have some forested vacation land in Northern Norway I’d like to sell you. (I noticed that one of Megaforce’s ‘advanced pieces of equipment was a Bell UH-1 ‘Huey’ helicopter which was used, oh, back in the Vietnam War.) Dallas goes on to explain that the men that comprise Megaforce’s ranks have been "written off" (yeah, Barry, just like your agent did to you after this movie, ha ha). These ‘phantom’ men have had their "files altered to show them missing or…dead." (Wow! A super-advanced army of retards that have been "written off" (read: gotten rid of) by their host countries so that they can shoot colored balls in the middle of the desert. Boy. Where do I sign up?)

Later that evening we see Zara getting ready for dinner in her surprisingly spacious, lavender and rose (!!) color-coordinated guest room. (I’m assuming Ace chose the color scheme for that room: it goes really well with his bandana.) After some cringe-inducing oily flirting, Ace escorts Zara from her room to meet White and Dallas in the Communications Center.

Seeing Zara, White gushes, "Megaforce can monitor every conversation on every military installation in the world!"

Yeah. Sure.

Hilarity ensues as a technician tunes into a conversation between a pair of Chinese pilots. (Is this really legal?) With the help of the Automatic Translation Computer (don’t ask) which translates any language into English in real time (!), one of the pilots mentions how he’s going to swing by a local eatery and pick up some…are you ready for it…oh God, let me stop laughing before I keep typing…he’s going to pick up some American food! Because, see, he’s Chinese!

Megaforce

Two guys busy monitoring every conversation in the world. Count ’em. Two.

After some more idiotic ‘humor’, Ace reveals that he knows Guerera from the past, so, like, wow. I wonder if that’s going to come into play later.

Cut to Megaforce’s unbelievably lavish dining room, complete with crystal chandeliers, mood lighting, and full wait staff! Now, just where in the hell did these waiters come from? Are they representatives of the Free World’s best food service staff, marked as "missing or killed" so they could sling hash for Megaforce? Seriously? Who are these guys? Alas, we will never know.

As classical music plays in the background (performed by the Free World’s leading classical music quartet…"marked as missing or killed" no doubt), Ace explains how he and Guerera once saw combat together (in whose Army?), before Guerera was called home and forced to surrender by some politicians…and you know what…it’s really hard to follow because nothing makes any sense in this movie.

Let me break it down for you and save both of us a lot of headaches:

Megaforce: Good.

Guerera: Bad.

After dinner Ace brings the others to a conference room in order to go over his plans to defeat Guerera: "Operation Hook, Line, and Sinker." As General White and Zara listen in rapt attention, Ace explains the essence of the operation: "Trick Guerera to cross the border bringing him on your territory."

Wow! What military genius!

(Uhhh…wasn’t that what Guerera just did in the opening scene of this stupid movie, namely, cross the border into White’s territory?)

I’ll do everybody a favor here and cut through Ace’s crap: it looks like Megaforce will attack one of Guerera’s fuel dumps in Bad-Landia in order to lure him into Good-topia. Now, I’m not a military genius or anything, but isn’t Megaforce’s attack on Bad-Landia an Act of War which would then make Guerera’s crossing into White’s country justified? Hmmm.

Furthermore, Ace explains that Megaforce’s role in all this is to merely lure Guerera over the border so that White’s forces can destroy them.

So, Zara: THEN WHY DID YOU STOP WHITE FROM DOING JUST THAT IN THE OPENING SCENE!? You eeeeeeeeediot!

Seriously, what the hell is going on here. Let me see if I understand this correctly:

1) Guerera attacks Good-topia. White asks permission to respond. Zara refuses.

2) White and Zara ask Megaforce for assistance.

3) Megaforce will invade Bad-Landia, thus themselves starting a war, then lure Guerera’s forces into Good-topia where White will attack them…uh, just like he was going to do in point 1.

Good grief, what a bunch of maroons.

To Ace’s chagrin, Zara insists on accompanying Megaforce on this ridiculous mission. Ace refuses because, you know, she’s a girl, so Zara demands the chance to prove herself capable of keeping up with Megaforce’s spandex warlords.

The first test is a parachute jump. Once up in the air, Zara patiently listens to Ace’s instructions then immediately jumps out the door because, hey, Gerl Power. Ace gives Dallas a shrug (what the hell is Dallas doing up there with them?), and jumps out after her. Accompanied by a romantic ballad (!), we are treated to some truly, truly, atrocious blue-screen effects as they twirl around together, hand in hand, and…man, it’s just bad. (I’m also not sure why they’re practicing parachute jumping since they’ll be attacking with motorcycles and dune buggies, but there you have it. Note From The Future: They ride the motorcycles out of the back of the plane with parachutes on the bikes…oh brother.)

Back at Megaforce headquarters, Zara goes through the next training phase: The battle simulator. Basically, she sits in a dune buggy chassis in front of a big screen where a simulated battle is projected. To be honest, I’ve played Atari 2600 games that were more realistic than this. (Hilariously, Zara takes 2 hits from enemy tanks within 5 seconds of each other, which, in my estimation means she’d be dead. Yup…she’s ready for Megaforce…Oops. Make that 3 hits! Doh!)

Megaforce

Zara in the Megaforce battle simulator.

(Four hits. Five hits.)

After taking 6 hits from enemy tanks, Zara jumps out of the simulator, looks over at Ace with a grin, and says, "Well Commander, a perfect score!"

WHAT?! A perfect score? Yeah, maybe for the enemy.

Anyway, Ace reluctantly admits that even though Zara performed "perfectly" (what-EVER!), he never had any intention of letting her go on the mission at all; he had just hoped she would fail the tests, but when she passed them all, he was forced to tell her the truth.

You know what, Ace? They have a word for people like you: Asshole.

Instead of kicking Ace in the nuts for his utterly condescending lack of respect, Zara expresses her deep respect for him, because only a true leader would never put the coherency of his unit at danger by introducing a new person into the ranks so close to a mission…blah blah blah. (Oh….Gawd…what a movie.)

After some more painful dialog, Megaforce piles into a pair of transport planes and heads off to do battle with Guerera and the forces of Bad-Landia. As you might have suspected, Zara meets Ace at his plane and gives him a kiss for luck. This emotional display is trumped, however, by the movies completely bizarre "kiss the thumb and give the other a thumbs-up sign" token of affection. I mean, who in the hell came up with this stuff? It’s nuts.

Megaforce Megaforce

OK, this is really creeping me out.

The stock-footage air travel scenes give us some time for some good ol’ fashion Characterization with the boys riding in the cargo hold. We see Dallas going over the operational plans, "trying to get them right", which seems like it’s too late for that since they’re in the air flying to the drop zone right now!!! What an idiot. Ace, however, sits sullenly and pines for Zara and her softly kissed thumb.

Another guy sits on his butt and solves a crossword puzzle while tossing a knife back and force with his buddy, and yes, being the 80’s, we see Asian Megaforce Guy struggling with a Rubik’s cube. (If you want to date your films, just add a Rubik cube.) Zac calls for Asian Guy to toss him the cube. Upon catching the puzzle, Zac immediately solves it, because, you know, he’s breaking all the African American stereotypes by being so massively intellectual. Boy, Megaforce just works at so many levels, eh?

MegaforceAfter far too long, the transport planes cross the drop zone. Ace and the others hop onto their respective vehicles, ride (!) out of the back of the plane, and parachute to the ground…on their motorcycles! Uh, yeah. You know, there’s a reason the Army doesn’t have soldiers parachute into battle inside their vehicles: it won’t work!

On a side note, when I was in the Army my Hummer was going to be transported by helicopter and it took nearly an entire day to prep it for transport and to get it running again once it arrived at its destination. You just don’t sit in the drivers seat and hit the gas when it touches the ground like these Megaforce bozos manage to do. But, hey, it’s cool, and never forget: they are Megaforce!

After landing in Bad-Landia (which in itself is an Act of War perpetrated by Megaforce!), Ace and the boys zip off and completely destroy Guerera’s supply depot while his hapless forces drive in circles and basically get blown up. What’s amazing about Megaforce is that the director/producers went out of their way to ensure that the film is completely bloodless, i.e., nobody, and I mean nobody, ever gets killed. It’s actually quite fascinating when you see the lengths that the director goes to in order to ensure a zero body count on both sides. (To be fair, tanks get hit by rockets, but they still spin around, so I’m guessing that they’re just disabled with the crew still safe inside. Wait, I take that back: Three bad guys are disintegrated by some sort of laser gizmo. But still, no bodies: They just disappear with smoke rising from the ground, so I guess that’s meant to be ‘humorous’ instead of ‘violent’.)

After getting his ass kicked, Guerera sends out a motorcycle crew to follow Megaforce to their rendezvous point so that he can organize a counter attack. (If this all sounds overly simplistic, well, that’s about the maximum depth of military planning in the Megaforce universe.)

As Megaforce busies themselves at their mobile refueling station (who set that up?!), Guerera discovers their location and flies out to meet Ace man-to-man. To the great confusion of Ace’s men (and the viewer), Guerera and Hunter greet each other with laughs, a manly hug, and start chatting about old times, because, you know, even though they’re fighting against each other, they still adhere to the Manly Code of the Warrior and treat each other with cordial, if not strained, respect.

Megaforce

Just when you think that Ace and Guerera are about to find a hotel and get a room together, General White and Zara drop in via helicopter to relay some bad tidings. Before White can tell Ace the news, he spots Guerera standing beside him, and congratulates Ace on his capture. Ace explains that he’s not captured, rather Guerera’s just "visiting", which is totally ludicrous because the whole freaking point to Operation Stupid Hook, Line, and Stupid Sinker was to destroy Guerera’s forces and capture him…and there he is! Could somebody please explain this to me?

Guerera hints to Ace that he knows what White is about to tell him, then strolls off in a fit of confident laughter. With a sullen face, White explains that his government now regards Megaforce’s actions as an "…act of war, instigated by our side."

I hope I’m not putting too fine of a point on this when I say: NO SHIT! Of COURSE it’s an Act of War! Megaforce invaded Bad-Landia and destroyed a fuel dump! My God! What a bunch of morons!!!

To make matters worse, White’s government won’t allow Megaforce to cross back into Good-topia because that would give Bad-Landia an excuse to attack them…which is what they’ve already been doing since the beginning of the film and…oh screw it. My head hurts.

And really, talk about ingratitude!!! It was White that went to Megaforce for help in the first place!

White apologizes and mutters something about "the fortunes of war" before excusing himself, thus stranding Megaforce in Bad-Landia with Guerera’s entire ‘army’ only 30 minutes away. (And I thought that Ace was an asshole!)

Anyhoo, Ace and Zara exchange a regretful adieu before they do that really gross thumb-kissing-thing. That creepy farewell out of the way, Zara clambers into the helicopter along with White and takes off.

Megaforce Megaforce

Is it just me, or is this really freakin’ weird?

With Zara and White out of the picture, Guerera returns to Ace’s side and puts it on the line: Basically, there’s only one place that Megaforce’s planes could possibly land to extract them before the Bad-Landian army reaches their position: "The Dry Lake". (Wow…I wonder how long it took to come up with that name.) Unfortunately, as Guerera gleefully gloats, his armored forces are already there to prevent any such extraction from succeeding. Guerera eventually offers Ace an out: Megaforce lays down their weapons and they will be guaranteed safe passage to…somewhere. Ace poo-poos this admittedly generous offer because, well, he’s an idiot and there’s still enough run time left for another battle scene so they can’t give up with 20 minutes left. Frustrated with Ace’s undying and uncompromising devotion to Megaforce, Guerera hops into his helicopter and flies off.

MegaforceWith Guerera’s forces emplaced at the Dry Lake, and Megaforce refused entry into Good-Topia, it’s looking like Ace and the boys are doomed. (Yea!) However (awwww), Ace knows of a secret path through the mountains that leads to a position directly behind Guerera’s tanks where Megaforce can sneak up and beat the tar out of the Bad Guys before flying back home.

Yes, this movie is just that stupid.

No, wait. It gets stupider.

In order for the sneak attack to succeed, Ace and Da Boyz have to ride their motorcycles in "electric mode" so that Guerera won’t hear them. (Just go with it.)

Meanwhile, when Guerera calls his scouts asking about Megaforce’s whereabouts, the scout abashedly reports that they’ve lost track of the entire Megaforce contingency. (!) So yes, this means that they have managed to lose sight of 50 motorcycles and a dozen dune buggies that were already under surveillance. How this could happen is, quite literally, beyond belief.

And by the way, didn’t the opening title card state that Megaforce was equipped with the world’s most advanced weaponry? So, uh, couldn’t they just drop an atomic bomb on the tanks? Oh, that’s right. This movie takes place in a universe where nobody is allowed to die. No, that’s not right either. They did waste a few guys in the ammo dump assault, so what the hell? Oh, I get it. We have to have another ‘cool’ motorcycle-vs-tank battle scene.

Anyhoo, Ace radios their 2, count ’em, 2 transport planes and tells them to fly low over the tanks, acting as a decoy, so Megaforce can punch through Guerera’s iron ring. Now, if having your only means of escape fly a low pass over a line of 50 tanks as a decoy (!) seems counter productive, then we’re on the same page of music. Then again, everything magically always turns out OK for the Boys In Brown, so I guess they have nothing to worry about. (And they don’t. Everything works out OK. Ooops. Sorry about the spoiler.)

The pilots agree to the plan and fly in front of the tanks at about 20 feet off the ground. Amazingly, Guerera’s soldiers are taken by complete surprise when Megaforce starts shooting rockets from behind them. Yes, not a single soldier was watching the rear. (Luckily, my brain’s Idiocy Receptors were fried about 20 minutes ago, so I’m still able to continue watching the film.) In the chaos, the sole remaining transport plane flies around and lands in the middle of the lake: the second plane had to cut loose and fly home after taking a hit from a tank. (Yeah, sure: A direct hit from a tank and the plane is just going to fly home. Oh, and why only 2 transport planes? Why not 20? And why not call in a squadron of A-10 Tank Busters to waste these dumb tanks? Whatever, you stupid, stupid movie.)

After much, much nonsense, including a scene where Ace (How do we know it was him? Why, from the blue bandana flapping from his helmet, natch.) jumps through the air over a tank and tosses a grenade into the open (!) hatch on top of the tank’s cupola. (Freakin’ idiots.) With at least half of Guerera’s forces taken out of action in this first lightning assault, Megaforce zips through the confused clump of remaining tanks and races towards the waiting transport plane.

As Megaforce zooms across the dry lake bed, the plane’s pilot realizes that he’s a sitting duck so he asks Megaforce for a smoke screen to obscure his position on the ground. Hearing the cry for assistance, our brave motorcyclists engage their smoke-generator-thingees on the front of their bikes, which as you might have guessed, completely obscures their view as they ride. This slight design error is never brought up because, you know, it’s cool. (Well, ok, it’s really not cool. But it’s supposed to be.)

Megaforce

Another well thought-out Megaforce innovation.

The absolutely amazing thing about this smoke screen is that every motorcycle has a different colored smoke. I’m not kidding. A loving slow-motion shot taken from a helicopter proudly shows Megaforce racing across the desert trailing gigantic streams of multi-colored smoke behind them. Sure, yeah, it was the 80’s, but man, this is just ridiculous. Did somebody actually think this made these guys look cool? Tough? What? What? What was going through the minds of these film makers?! I NEED TO KNOW!

And really, can you imagine what the guys must have been saying while equipping for the mission:

"It’s my turn for the purple smoke!"

"No it’s not. It’s mine! You take the yellow smoke this time!"

"You bitch! It is not! If you don’t give me the purple smoke I’m going to shove this yellow can right up your…" (You get the idea.)

Megaforce

Megaforce. The world’s foremost fighting machine.

I can only assume that another half of Guerera’s men have now laughed themselves to death, because Megaforce manages to make it to the awaiting plane with only token resistance. Oh, but they have to ditch their equipment in the desert because there’s no room for it. But don’t worry: the Evil forces of Bad-Landia will never find out the secret of the Delta M-4 Colored Smoke Generator because the guys have set their equipment to "self destruct." (I’m not even going to begin commenting on that…it’s just too stupid.)

To my great pleasure, a tank shell explodes next to Ace and he topples to the ground while the rest of the guys get on the waiting plane. The tension builds (well, not really) as Dallas and the others wait inside the plane for Ace to turn up, but time runs out, so Dallas is forced to give the order for take off. (Wait a minute. Why can he give the order? I thought there weren’t any ranks in Megaforce?)

Being the cool guy that he is, instead of hopping back on his bike and getting to the plane so the others can take off instead of waiting him him while tanks fire at the plane, Ace strides through the smoke, finds Guerera’s tank (how?!) and knocks on the top hatch. Guerera opens the hatch and shoots Ace in the face with his .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol. No. Wait. I was dreaming. Ace laughs and bids Guerera farewell while shoving a cigar in his mouth and saying "The Good Guys always win…even in the eighties!"

Uhhh, where did Ace get that cigar from? Oh never mind. I really don’t want to think about it. (Probably from the same place he keeps a spare can of purple smoke.)

Collecting his wits, Guerera spins his tank as Ace hops down and grinds the cocky son-of-a-bitch into red paste between the treads. No wait. I was dreaming again. Since this is Megaforce and nobody can get hurt, Guerera just watches as Ace hops on his motorcycle and rides off. (I really, really want to punch something right now.) By the way, this was the scene that was shown in the opening credits. Once again, why would anybody have the opening credits include a scene showing the hero getting shot is beyond me…but it is kind of funny in an I-Hate-Ace-Hunter way.

With the plane rising into the air, Ace is if forced to engage his motorcycle’s secret weapon. With the push of a button, out pops a pair of stubby winds from the rear axle. The push of a second button and…and…my fingers are refusing to type this but I’m going to force them: Ace’s motorcycle lifts off and flies through the air.

Megaforce

I’m sorry. My brain has shut down. No comment is available at this time.

Oh…you say you want another picture because you just can’t believe I’m telling the truth? Why, sure. Here you go.

Megaforce

This is just so incredibly inane that it’s difficult to describe. This scene is truly, and I mean truly, one that you have to see to believe. I know that probably sounds like a cop out because I’m too lazy to describe it, but, hell, look at the screen shots. What more can I say?!

As the Megaforce theme song reaches its Casio crescendo, Ace guides his bike through the air and into the back of the plane. Relieved that their commander has made it back safely (his pride more or less intact after that last scene), the Megaforce guys go ape shit and start cheering like a bunch of idiots. (It would have been pretty funny if Ace had forgotten to turn off his motorcycle’s self-destruct mechanism. Doh!)

MegaforceCut to General White holding a press conference denying any involvement with the recent events. (What a treacherous, back-stabbing bastard!) The meeting is suddenly interrupted as the Megaforce plane makes a low pass overhead. As White and Zara smile with relief that Ace and the others are OK (even though they abandoned them to almost certain death or capture), Ace fires a rocket into White’s personal helicopter as a comeuppance!!! (Note that Ace didn’t make any effort to see if the pilotMegaforce was sitting inside, or in fact, if anybody might have been inside before he destroyed it!) Even though Ace’s outrageous behavior is ‘justified’ because White abandoned Megaforce, I’m thinking that this also could be interpreted as an Act of War, but this fine point is never brought up. (I guess that pointing out flaws in Megaforce’s plot is pretty much a moot point by now.)

(Actually, I thought it would have been pretty funny if Ace would have parachuted out of the helicopter and shoved a canister of purple smoke up White’s rear end and pulled the pin.)

Zara and Ace exchange kissy-thumbs again, because, despite leaving him for dead in the middle of Bad-Landia, they’re still boyfriend and girlfriend or something.

Good lord, I have a headache right now. I’m outta here.

The End.

Dennis Grisbeck (Feb 2008)

Afterthoughts

You know, I tried to be fair and cut Megaforce some slack because the movie never promises a cinematic masterpiece. I mean, hell, the title of the movie is Megaforce for cripes sake. What are you expecting? Still, give me a break. What was with the whole attack-don’t attack-then get help to attack-then deny involvement with the attack-plot-thingee?

What about that strange lavender and pink Megaforce guest room? I’m not saying anything, but I’m saying…

And Mr. Silva: If you didn’t fire your agent for this one, I hope that you at least slapped him in the face. (Note: One year later Silva appeared in Escape from the Bronx, the ‘sequel’ to 1990: The Bronx Warriors, so I guess he didn’t fire the guy after all.)

On humorous side note, stuntman, race-car driver and Megaforce director Hal Needham said of the film:

"…if you go back and take a look at Desert Storm, there’s a pretty good resemblance to my (Megaforce) vehicles."

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I’m think I’m just going to drink a beer and try to forget this awful, awful movie.

Oh, and here’s a kissy thumb to all you readers out there that have made it this far…MMMMMM-mwah!

Read more about Megaforce at

IMDB

4 comments to Megaforce (1982)

  • They say adrenaline charged fellows like Ace Hunter, Barry Bostwick, will never get enough of the kind of action he’s used to. So go for it man, am a great fan of your stunt-filled action movies.

  • dvader7

    haha…I remember as a kid we would watch this then get on our bikes and be MEGAFORCE! good times.

  • guts3d

    Yikes! This was a BAD one! If they made one buck per cliche, they might have got out of the red! I remember this bomb, my nephew started wearing a bandana after seeing this, we laughed at him until he relented. ( Thank God it wasn’t baby blue! )What idiot would attack a tank force with motorcycles? Hell, if they had the most advenced weaponry, point a couple of rockets via sattelite imagery and blow them up without raising a sweat! Nice review as always!

  • Guts3d

    …spandex warlords? Hilarious! Re-reading this review 5 years later it is still just as funny. I remember the movie coming out in the theater and my nephew was eager to see it. When “Ace” Hunter started flying the motorcycle at the end into the plane he wanted to just leave, he had endured enough. I pointed out that Megafarce was a complete failure, they failed the mission, didn’t capture Guerera, and failed to blow up or disable his tanks. Good-landia was just as bad off as when they started this crappy movie. Megafarce as a whole were guilty of war crimes, (blowing up a supply depot)and guilty of fashion crimes against good taste. I see the guest room d├ęcor and the blue bandana in nightmares.

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