Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Score Technician: TJ Geise

When humanity loses the war against the armies of Hell, led by Count Draculon, a small group of renegades fights for survival in the twisted neon netherrealm that is Earth. Just as all seems lost, they gain their most powerful ally: Manborg!

The nanobots react well to films with robotic protagonists (because they’re, at their core, tremendous racists), so we dumped them all over this cult hit from Astron-6. Did they enjoy it? Spoiler alert: how couldn’t they?
  • Including an old-school “Stay tuned after the feature for upcoming titles” message before starting the film. +3pts 
  • Refusing to abandon all hope, the armies of mankind battle Hell with WWII-era weaponry. Unsurprisingly, they lose to Hell’s claymation Terminators and mouthless foot soldiers. = -5pts 
  • Just when you think you’ll die from actually getting shot for real on the battlefield, you’re instead made into a snack for a robo-Dracula from Hell. = -3pts 
  • The abject joy on Count Draculon’s face as his soldiers turn the man-who-would-be-Manborg into a human spaghetti strainer. = +4pts
  • Having the credits open on a bloody montage of Manborg becoming Manborg. = +7pts 
  • Manborg’s every movement is accompanied by the same sorts of whirs and vrooms you’d expect from a futuristic robo-man. = +6pts 
  • Dubbing over #1 Man, the shirtless kung-fu wonder, with Dragon Ball Z’s narrator. = +15pts 
  • Being pulled into the shadows as a snack for a shadow medusa. = -4pts 
  • After being commanded to halt by the bad guys, Manborg shouts, “Nope,” and slowly turns to walk away. = +3pts 
  • New Hell is a fluorescent nightmare pastiche of Blade Runner, Space Invaders, and Ghost in the Shell in all the right ways. = +5pts 
  • The Baron, an eyeless leather daddy with a permanent grin, lights up a cigarette and then gives a little cough after the first puff. = +2pts 
  • Justice, the gun-toting mix of Billy Lee and Billy Idol, speaks exactly how you’d imagine a Canadian to think an Australian accent should sound like. = +7pts 
  • When asked his name, Manborg just sort of comes up with Manborg on the fly. We’re going to see how calling ourselves Skinpants works the next time we’re making a reservation at Red Lobster. = -3pts 
  • Kicking the crutch out from under a guy wearing a dismantled Commodore 64 for a brassiere. = -6pts 
  • Being immediately smitten with Justice’s blue-haired sister, Mina, The Baron fumbles his words like an awkward, eyeless, leather-clad teenager. = +9pts 
  • Robotic jailers disapprove of dancing, regardless of how passionately the prisoner is getting down with his bad self. = -2pts 
  • The heroes battle for their lives! 
    • Mina attacks with anime-inspired cutscenes that literally cut up bad guys. = +3ps 
    • #1 Man out-karates every opponent = +3pts 
    • Justice phases laser pistols into his hands and blows a dude’s arms off. = +3pts 
    • Manborg screams in terror as he loses control of his wildly-firing machine gun arm and falls onto his back (proving what Bender knew all along -- robots can’t roll onto their stomachs).
    • = -7pts
  • “Shenanigrams.” = +8pts 
  • Manborg not getting the difference between a hitchhiker’s thumb and a thumbs up. = +5pts
  • The Baron seeks love advice from Dr. Scorpius only to be chastised for taking up cigarettes again. = +11pts 
  • Giving your death arena a badass name like Terror-Octagon but then calling its undefeated champion The Champion instead of, like, The Destructinator or the Annihilist. = -6pts 
  • Felling a skull-faced meat-goliath with a well-timed elbow-rocket. = +3pts 
  • Manborg reacts to threats against his friends as you would expect from the film’s protagonist: with disaffected sass. = +8pt 
  • Having your hair go white (in an awesome time-lapse) after unleashing the armies of Hell in the name of science. = +7pts (score technicians are accustomed to doing stupid things in the name of science) 
  • Actual interaction from the film: “Take this future cassette.” “Thanks, man.” = +5pts 
  • Disappointing the man who rebuilt you by showing an utter lack of comprehension for urban social hand gestures. = +6pts 
  • Bringing flowers to the woman you love only to find out that she escaped your prison. = -4pts 
  • Having your demonic vampire boss catch you holding a bouquet and incredulously asking if it’s for him. = +13pts 
  • Trying to hide behind boxes when you’re a clumsy, noisy robot man. = -3pts 
  • Electric Tentacle Execution is the name of your new favorite melodic synthcore brostep artist. = -5pts 
  • Justice’s irrational fear of hobos is as strong as his uncontrollable urge to pet little people. = +6pts. 
  • Getting baited into infiltrating the bad guy’s lair by a miniature junkyard replica of said bad guy. = +3pts 
  • Canada alert: enjoying Kraft Dinner as a delicious meal. = +2pts 
  • The jovial-yet-wise hologram of Dr. Scorpius becomes the Obi-Wan to Manborg’s Luke. = +4pts 
  • What better way to show the heroes honing their battle skills for the final battle than with a guitar-driven MONTAGE! = +8pts 
  • Mina vs. Shadow-Mega just barely fails the Bechdel Test. = -4pts (unless screaming counts as a conversation) 
  • Nunchucking a bad guy’s head off. = +6pts 
  • Count Draculon’s final form looks like the badassiest Masters of the Universe figure you never had. = +4pts 
  • Justice’s gunslinging technique can best be described as “dance aerobics.” = +3pts 
  • Having not one, but three final showdowns of good against evil! = +30pts 
  • Live grenades are just as good at dispatching evildoers as they are at teaching the illiterate how to read. = +6pts 
  • The Baron dies as he lives: never feeling the love of another. = -10pts 
  • Beating the king of the bad guys is a victory that only tastes sweet when all of your party members survive the fight. = -6pts 
  • Dumping the liquid that powers your mechanical body into your dead friend’s mouth with surprisingly effective results. = +5pts 
  • Having your dying vision be the ghost of your brother telling you that there is no heaven. = -50pts 
  • Making good on the promise of a trailer and having said trailer be for Bio-Cop! =+100pts (why is he still alive!?) 
  • Including tongue-in-cheek copyright warnings in both English and French. = +6pts 
Total Score = +192pts
Available: Videodisc, future cassette, and DVD

Manborg is a three-cheese blend of CGI, stop-motion, and practical effects that will appeal to sci-fi geeks, gorehounds, and VHS nostalgia-lovers. If that doesn’t sound like the cinematic equivalent of high-fiving your best friend, then are you sure you’re on the right website? This is a film tailor-made for the nanobots, and they loved every robo-technology-enhanced minute of it.

The costume, creature, and character designs are very well done despite the film’s shoestring budget. The dialog goes from serious to tongue-in-cheek to outright ridiculous at a moment’s notice. In short, if you like cyborgs, kung-fu, and hell Draculas, then Manborg is just the shenanigram you’re looking for.

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