DVD Review: Manborg (2011, Dir. Steven Kostanski)


Apparently, in some kind of alternate WWII scenario the forces of Hell itself invaded the material realm. Two brothers fought valiantly on the battlefield, but lost their lives to a hell spawn called Count Draculon, but right before the second brother died he vowed vengeance.

Cut to future earth where a Manborg wakes up. This future earth is now populated and ruled over by the denizens of Hell. Count Draculon, looking more jacked up than when we saw him in the prologue, is the Grand Poobah.

The demonic populace get their kicks by throwing the remaining humans into arenas where they are forced to fight whatever hell spawns can be created or recruited for such entertainment. The humans/heroes of the movie are kept in cages. There’s a high-strung, illiterate Aussie by the name of Justice (Conor Sweeney), who can magically produce high-tech handguns out of thin air. He has a sister by the name of Mina (Meredith Sweeney), whose primary weapons are throwing knives. And there’s also a deliberately dubbed martial arts master referred to as  #1 Man (Ludwig Lee) who also helps Manborg (Mattew Kennedy) “make sense” of the Hell he was just born into.

The first trailer I saw of this actually excited me, and based on that I requested a review copy, then a week ago a new trailer hit that gave me a better look at the movie, and I was dismayed at how ‘do-it-yourself’ it looked. Honestly, I have to have a certain level of “production value” in the movies I watch for me to enjoy them, Manborg doesn’t even have the basics.

I give Astron-6 (the filmmakers) an A for effort, for the plot, characters and acting are on a level I can get behind, it’s just the actual execution of the movie didn’t appeal to me.

The transfer comes in a 1.78:1 anamorphic ratio with an English 2.0 audio. No complaints with neither.

There are two commentaries on this movie, one solely with the director, Steven Kostanski, and one with Konstanski, Actor/Writer, Jeremy Gillespie and Executive Producer, Peter Kuplowsky. I’m sure they’re filled with insight into how Manborg got made, etc, but I just don’t have the endurance to watch it two more times. Even though it only runs an hour, the maiden watching was grueling enough.

Extras are as follows: Deleted & Alternate Scenes (5:13), these are shots that were cut before they were integrated into the final film; Bloopers (4:46), pretty much self-explanatory and they were funny; Behind-The-Scenes (15:11), a candid look at Astron-6 as they go about filming and brainstorming scenes; Stop Motion Montage (1:08), a montage set to music. There are a couple of interesting looking creatures that were created for the flick and you can see them here, too. VFX Montage (1:50), a look at how the live action and the VFX were layered into the movie; Short Film (7:29), Fantasy Beyond is it’s title. Looks like someone’s nightmare set to stop motion; Premiere Q & A (6:27), a Q & A at one of the festivals the movie was shown at; Interviews (22:51), an odd collection of “interviews” with Astron-6. Needs to be seen. Words do not do it justice; the movie’s Trailer (1:59), and rounding the extras are trailers for other Dark Sky releases including, Stitches, Sleep Tight, Hypothermia, and My Sucky Teen Romance.

As an added bonus for you fans of Astron-6, the fake trailer for Bio-Cop, which appears to be a spoof of buddy cop flicks and The Incredible Melting Man (1977), is included, which shows up right after the credits to Manborg are done, or you can access it through the Chapter Selection.

Fans of Astron-6 will be satisfied with the movie and the copious extras. Unfortunately, this film and the filmmakers were not to my liking.

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