During my high school and college years, I fortunate enough to work at a Blockbuster Video and a store called Video to Go. I loved working at these stores because it gave me free access to all kinds of movies.
Working at video stores also taught me that certain movies will sit on the shelf for years and years. One of those movies that nobody ever rented at either store was 1982’s “Megaforce.”
In all the years I worked at either Blockbuster or Video to Go, I don’t remember anyone ever renting it. I have to admit, I never took the movie home either. However, I was aware of “Megaforce” thanks to multiple advertisements in the back old comic books I owned.
Since those old comic book ads were my only exposure to “Megaforce,” for years I thought the guy in the drawing was Chuck Norris. Good old Chuck was making some terrible movies around this time, and I thought “Megaforce” was one of them. Turns out I was wrong, the guy featured in the comic advertisement is actually Barry Bostwick. The reason I know it’s Bostwick today is because I recently found a DVD copy of “Megaforce” at a store that sells used movies. It was only $3.00, and once I saw it was directed by Hal Needham (“Smokey and the Bandit”), I decided to give this old movie a chance.
If you weren’t around in 1982 or like me, decided to skip the movie altogether (lucky you), “Megaforce” starred Barry Bostwick as Ace Hunter, Persis Khambatta as Zara, Michael Beck as Dallas, Edward Mulhare as Byrne-White, George Furth as Professor Eggstrum, and Henry Silva as Guerera. “Megaforce” centers on the conflict between two nations: Sardun, and the neighboring nation of Gamibia. Guerera, the leader of Gamibia, has been up to no good lately, and Sardun wants him stopped.
The Sardun government sends one of their top generals (Edward Mulhare), along with a major in their army (Persis Khambatta), to enlist the help of Megaforce. That’s when we learn that Megaforce is a multinational secret army that uses advanced weapons, vehicles, and other technology to bring peace around the world.
The leader of Megaforce is Commander Ace Hunter looks like Barry Gibb and wears gold spandex for much of the film. He also appears to strike a pose whenever Persis Khambatta is around. Ace’s second in command is Dallas who as you’ve probably guessed, is from Texas. But I swear he looks like Andy Gibb in a cowboy hat.
Anywho, after a tour of the Megaforce HQ that includes some fancy 1982 holograms, Ace comes up with a plan to help Sardun’s military against Guerera’s forces. The plan is so simple, I’m surprised nobody in Sardun ever thought of it. But first, Ace puts Persis Khambatta through Megaforce training to see if she has what it takes, only to tell her, in the end, she can’t go with them. While Ace doesn’t come out and say it, it’s obvious it’s because she’s a girl.
With that Megaforce is off on their mission, and that’s where we get the big twist: Sardun has brokered a deal with Guerera. That guy from “Knight Rider” used Megaforce as leverage and now has them framed as invaders of a sovereign nation. Oh yeah, it also turns out Ace and Guerera are old buddies or something. I’m not really sure, this whole thing was rushed so I didn’t get it all. I could have wound the movie back, but I just wanted to get it over with by this point.
Ace and his team are now stuck behind enemy lines with their only hope to escape a dry lake several miles away from where their plane can land. But standing between them and the dry lake is a squad of tanks led by Guerera. If the only Megaforce has stealth motorcycles, lasers, and other secret techs. But this movie was made in 1982, so all we get is some shitty paint jobs on vehicles you could probably buy at your local dealership around this time.
The film’s final “battle” is a joke. IT’s basically let’s see who can get tot he plane faster. Most of Megaforce make it just fine, but somehow Ace is left behind. Luckily, he finds one of their super duper motorcycles nearby and he races towards the plane. But when he releases he’s not going to outrun the bad guys, Ace hits a button and his bike goes airborne.
Well, not really.
You see kids, Ace, and his futuristic motorbike is just in front of a cheap blue screen that must have looked bad even in 1982. This has to be one of the worst special effects ever put on film. It’s so bad, I actually felt bad for Barry Bostwick. He proceeds to do a barrel roll which still confuses me. I mean, Ace isn’t wearing a safety belt on a harness, yet gravity seems to have zero effect on him when he’s upside down.
Suffice it to say, “Megaforce” is one of the cheesiest 80s films I have ever seen. I don’t mind cheesy and campy movies like “Flash Gordon,” but “Megaforce” is on a whole other level of bad.
Frankly, I expected better from a Hal Needham directed film. All his other movies had funny moments, but in “Megaforce,” all the comedy comes from the lack of quality. I guess I should just enjoy this for what it is, but it’s hard to when the leading man is wearing gold spandex.