Credentials: 1.5 out of 10 (Imdb.com), Newest movie ever featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1997)
Plot: In the future AND on another planet, humans are bred as slaves to do the bidding of their alien overlords. These evil alien types use an army of mullet-ed and mustachioed cyborgs and Tyrannosaurus Rex of varying size (mostly very small) to keep the humans in line. Then one day, one of the humans (Daniel Bernhardt) escapes and somehow manages to find his way to present day Earth. Once on Earth, the runaway meets up with an ex-hooker/drug fiend turned nun and youth counselor and her band of morbidly obese gangbangers. Together this rag tag group of flannel enthusiasts must fight off marauding T-Rex and kickboxing cyborgs to save the future or something. Or maybe it’s the present they’re fighting for. Or the past? Look they’re fighting for something I know that much.
Why it stinks: I don’t know. I mean “Future War” is basically exactly like “Terminator.” That is if “Terminator” had been directed by Uwe Boll and starred Jean Claude van Damme’s less charismatic, less talented, douchier brother.
Ahhh yeah. That’s it. So basically, “Future War” repackages a ton of “Terminator” staples (police shootout, robots, robot sound effects, robot vision, time travel, etc.) and sort of just craps them all up.
OK so let’s start with the allegedly special effects. The T-Rex in “Future War” are basically small, rubber dinosaur toys. “Future War” relied heavily on forced perspective photography to make these small toys look like huge, menacing prehistoric beasts. Yeah, it doesn’t work.
Half of the time, they look like giant, cheap puppets and the other half of the time they look like toys. This is especially true when the dinos swoop in for the kill and actually get close to a person, the effect is spoiled.
The cyborg makeup is just as bad. The whole movie is a weird hodgepodge of cheap-looking and poorly conceived props and makeup. Heck, there’s a scene in the movie with a news reporter and his cameraman where the camera is clearly a cardboard box with a lens electrical-taped to it. You people are filming a movie, for godsakes! You don’t have a spare camera laying around on set?
Most of the fight scenes go like this: Kickboxing, kickboxing, loud grunting, kickboxing, loud grunting, character hurls an empty cardboard box at opponent, grunting, more empty box play, repeat. It’s truly inspired levels of manic gibberish.
And can we talk about the rampant continuity problems? During one fight scene, the cyborg’s kabuki makeup disappears and reappears every few seconds. During the climactic battle, the runaway has bloody wounds on his chest in some shots and not in others. Nobody on set noticed this? No one!?
We’ve got bad writing, bad acting and a plot that’s overwhelmingly complex and still seems stretched extremely thin. I mean honestly, how can you have that elaborate of a backstory (he’s from the future AND another planet!), and have barely a thread of main story!?
At one point, the nun and the runaway are attacked by a dinosaur at the halfway house she runs, they promptly flee, leaving a small child and two morbidly obese residents to face the dinosaur by themselves. After that stunning act of bravery from our heroes, they hop on board a train, talk for a bit and then decide they should head back. So they jump off the train and then WALK back to the halfway house.
It’s just so much needless filler.
The unintentional humor is enough to keep butts in the seats at least for one viewing, but if you want to watch it more than once, I’d recommend the MST3K version. It’s one of Mike and the bots all time best outings.
Worst of the worst
The train scene is the worst scene in the movie, but the climactic end battle is one of the funniest. Watch as the runaway clearly takes his shirt off, while trying to pretend the cyborg ripped it off. It’s sad.
There it is, “Future War.” Bumblebee tuna.