The title refers to a curly haired soldier (Matthew Kennedy) who awakens in the future, post-Hell Wars, to find himself rebuilt as, yes, part man, part machine — a Manborg, if you will. Dr. Scorpius (Adam Brooks) has created him in the hopes of besting the evil Count Draculon (also Brooks), who feeds upon humans: “They taste so much better when they still have hope.”
It’s a quick-as-lightning, joke-a-minute foray into gladiator games and escape plans and a tiny hobo, and damned if it doesn’t work like … well, like a Manborg should. As directed by Steven Kostanski, the laugh-aloud film is a marvel of stop-motion animation, DIY effects and good ol’ ingenuity. He used the obvious budget limitations to the movie’s advantage, and really, you wouldn’t want to see this kind of project made for millions. It would lose so much of its feisty, smart-ass charm, which it has in spades.
Over and done with after barely an hour and some change, like a good grindhouse feature should, Manborg ends with a faux trailer for Bio-Cop, an uproarious bit of morbid humor and plentiful goop. Astron-6 excels at these “coming attractions” — you need to buy the whole two-disc package of them — but now the team goes two-for-two in the features department as well. It doesn’t matter to me which format they choose to play in more, so long as they just keep playing. —Rod Lott