Tuesday, July 12, 2011
MEGAFORCE (1982) - Hal Needham
Thanks to this supremely goofy 1983 action movie, there was a time in my childhood when I wanted nothing more in life than a motorcycle that could shoot missiles from its handlebars. Since Santa never came through with the heavy artillery, the best approximation I could muster was an assortment of empty paper towel rolls painted red, white and blue and scotch-taped to my BMX. While the other kids were in their backyards with plastic light sabers pretending they were Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford, I would ride my bike around my suburban neighborhood popping wheelies, launching imaginary surface-to-air strikes, pretending I was Barry Bostwick.
For better or worse, certain films from childhood loom large in your memory. Watched nearly 30 years later, some hold up like The Dark Crystal or even Under the Rainbow. Megaforce, I'm sad to report, doesn't hold up. My memories of it were apparently as rickety as the cardboard Bounty "Quicker Picker Upper" missile tubes taped to my Diamondback BMX.
It's still good for some laughs, if not for its action. Stuntman turned director Hal Needham (of Cannonball Run pedigree) delivers all manner of motor vehicles with gadgets and hardware from laser cannons to holograms to hovercraft ability. These are still awesome and ridiculous in a MacGyver '80s sort of way. It's the terrible one-liners and endless mugging by Bostwick, sidekick Michael Beck (Swan in The Warriors) and bad guy Henry Silva that drop like SCUDs all over the movie, throwing mushroom clouds of badness all over the already incomprehensible plot. Whatever, just watch it for the handlebar missiles.