Manborg on DVD

Monday, 04 February 2013 00:00
Posted in Cult Movies on DVD
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Manborg comes to DVD“Manborg” is a demented, $1,000-budgeted movie that pours “Robocop”, “Mortal Kombat” and Robot Chicken into a melting pot and comes up with an entertaining, pulpy throwback to the 1980s. A portal is opened and the mutant, jack-booted forces of Hell spew forth. A soldier (Matthew Kennedy) witness his brother being killed in action before he also succumbs to their vampire-like leader, Count Draculon (Adam Brooks).

Skip forward many years into the future and the soldier awakens in a strange laboratory, discovering he has been surgically altered into Manborg, a cyborg with some neat weapons up his sleeves. Hell won the war against mankind and has enslaved most of those who remain, forcing many of them to fight for their lives in a gladiatorial arena. Our hero teams up with some freedom fighters and together they take on Draculon and his vile army of freaks and robots.

This is a very silly and highly unoriginal film that none-the-less commands your attention and – providing you leave your brain in the lobby – will have you chuckling and marveling at the sheer audacity of what the Canadian director, Steven Kostanski has been able to achieve on such a paltry budget. The film is chock-full of special effects, and although most of them are cut-price in comparison with Hollywood’s mega-bucks,  tent-pole movies, they have a comic-book charm and style that impresses.

I mentioned Robot Chicken earlier because a lot of the creature effects are realised with stop-motion techniques; these are blended with all the other real, CGI and green-screen elements to make a lively if slightly messy picture. The more humanoid troops and senior Hell characters sport quite impressive facial prosthetics reminiscent of the likes of “Hellraiser”, the most striking of which is The Baron, a goggle-eyed, razor-toothed fiend. The character is amusing partly because the mask prevents the actor underneath (Jeremy Gillespie) emoting much, but also because he is a bumbling idiot who bumps into scenery and inappropriately tries to woo one of the goodies with flowers.

To add to the many layers of endearing naffness, the film also features some knowingly ridiculous dubbing, especially for the daftly-named ‘#1 Man’ (Ludwig Lee), an Oriental martial artist ripped straight from many a video-game.

I would definitely file “Manborg” under the ‘tries hard, so-bad it is good’ category. Its plot may lack originality but the makers throw so many ideas into the mix that many of them stick and keep you watching.

Special features include:

  • Commentary track
  • Trailer
  • Music video
  • Cast & crew interviews
  • Deleted scenes
  • Behind the scenes
  • VFX montage
  • Fantasy Beyond (short)
  • Bio-Cop (short/trailer)

My screener disc only had the commentary track, which is definitely worth listening to, mainly for wry tales on how the cast and crew suffered for their art. The “Bio-Cop” trailer is actually part of the main feature, and is a spoof in the same manner that Tarantino’s “Grindhouse” included some fake movie trailers. As in that instance, this five-minute trailer is actually more entertaining than the main movie (which is actually only 60 minutes long minus credits and the trailer)! With a bit of luck, Kostanski will eventually get the funding to make it for real, as the trashy concept of a near-indestructable cop mutated by a toxic waste disaster would go down a storm.

“Manborg” (2011) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Rockstone Films. The main feature has a running time of 70 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:46

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