Toronto After Dark 2011: ‘Manborg’

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Directed by Steven Kostanski

2011, 60 minutes, Canada

In Manborg, scenes are repeatedly stolen by a borderline illiterate, wildly Australian 1980’s Billy Idol lookalike packing twin energy pistols that grow out of his hands and a knack for posing.

What’s that?

You need to know more?

I disagree, but will nonetheless proceed.

Coming at you from Astron-6 productions and the mind of writer/director Steven Kostanski, Manborg is a genre-mashing love letter to a childhood spent watching 1980’s cult television and the cut scenes in early 1990’s computer games.

In a similar vein to Alugro’s Italian Spiderman or fellow Canadian Lee Demarbe’s Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Manborg brings utter sincerity to a story that could easily have had the fun sucked out of it by overly self-conscious delivery or winking at the audience. Yeah they know the source material is kind of stupid but they also know it’s more enjoyable to just run with it.

The titular Manborg is a soldier who fights in the last great war against Lord Draculon, but is horribly injured only to be rebuilt by a mysterious benefactor. Awakening in a future Earth ruled by Lord Draculon, who apparently decided to rebuild civilization a la Blade Runner by way of Captain Power, he soon teams up with three other remarkable humans to set about freeing humanity.

Manborg’s minimal dialog leaves a lot of room for the rest of the cast to shine, most notably Justice (described at the start of this review) and lovelorn villain The Baron, whose attempts to woo Justice’s sister Mina got some of the biggest laughs at last night’s screening. There’s just something about a fascist, vampiric dictator with cyborg eyes and razor sharp teeth saying She may be prisoner #7 but she’ll always be prisoner #1 to me.

Manborg was made in the director’s parent’s garage and the basement of a store that sold blinds, using found materials for set decoration and models all for about $1,000. Using greenscreening and Harryhausen style miniature work, Kostanski got a lot of value for his money. If you’re looking for 60 minutes of silliness that’s exactly what it says on the tine, then you’ll get good value for your money by picking up a ticket to see Manborg.

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You can see Steven Kostanski’s previous directorial effort, Laser Ghosts 2: Return to Laser Cove by clicking on these magic Internet words or the trailer for the new Astron-6 film Father’s Day, co-written by Steven Kostanski and put out through Troma, by clicking this very NSFW link right here.

– Oliver Brackenbury


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