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theworstbuddhist

Episode 240: Megaforce LIVE from Montreal!

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Tall John, Jason and June try to make sense of the 1982 Hal Needham action classic starring Barry Bostwick, Henry Silva, Persis Khambatta and Michael Beck. This episode was HDTGM's first recorded outside of the US, at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal in 2019. Megaforce is available to rent on Amazon and as recommended in the podcast, if you haven't seen it yet, they recommend listening to the first few minutes of the podcast first to get a taste for it, then watch the movie, then go back to the podcast.

Don't forget that there are some new shirts and other merch at the HDTGM store, including a charity shirt for Feeding America. Let's get that shirt funded, people.

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Am I the only one who thought they were going to go to the bone zone in the middle of the skydive?

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Even for a live episode one was especially visuals-focused.

What I gathered was that Megaforce was created collectively by the the governments of the world basically to enforce the status quo. There was a leftist uprising in Gamibia(?) and the Che guy sells his expertise to lead. He doesn't care about the cause (he doesn't even speak the language), just the money. The heroes of the movie are trying to crush this revolution because leftist revolutions upset the balance of power.

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Once again thanks to my fellow forum-mates who have indulged my passion, I guess is the word? for this movie.

I just listened to the episode - well done, guys - and I wanted to raise the following points in the hopes of clarifying a few things:

1) as someone points out, no one gets killed (or even seriously hurt) in this movie about two battling bands of mercenaries - with the very notable exception of a mortar crew who intend to blow up the command centre van thing. The Robert Forster looking guy in the van notices them and FUCKING VAPORIZES them with some weapon that is never mentioned again. So Jason, not only do they have lasers, they have some kind of Dr. Manhattan particle beam at their disposal.

2) Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out in 1980 I think, two years before Megaforce, starring Persis Khambatta (Major Zara) in the role of Ilia, who is the original version of Counsellor Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is also in an awful movie called Warrior of the Lost World starring Robert Ginty and Donald Pleasance, which takes place in a postapocalyptic 80s setting where the hero rides a super-powered motorcycle.

3) Ace's headband. My theory is that however period appropriate it looked at the time, I think it actually had a practical purpose - to show which person was Ace when he was driving around with a helmet on during the action scenes.

4) Probably the single most useful piece of advice I have ever seen about watching Megaforce is this: think of Burt Reynolds in the lead roles, because it was almost certainly written for him. Especially Duke, the way he talks and jokes around, the cigar work, the silly giggling laugh- Henry Silva does a wonderful Burt Reynolds impression here. Now, why didn't Burt do his pal's movie? Did he get a look at the script and somehow know it would bomb?

5) there was a passing mention of Fast & Furious films but I just remembered making this point way back when we did Hobbs and Shaw: what if the shadowy organization that creates super Idris Elba in H&S is just whatever Megaforce has turned into since 1982, and the mysterious voice in H&S is Barry Bostwick? Just saying.

Thanks as always for a fun episode, I hope that my fellow forum posters enjoyed it too.

[Edited to add point 5 :) ]

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I've spent some time this morning watching 3DO commercials in hopew of figuring out which one Paul might have auditioned for. Fortunately, the 3DO failed pretty early and almost all the commercials were voice over graphics. I can't confidently say this commercial was the one Paul auditioned for, but it seems likely.

 

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2 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

This is the Megaforce army

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Insert your own "this is the America that Democrats want" joke here (except for Dallas, fuck him)

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If you thought the film's confusing central premise was the result of bad filmmaking, you're wrong - it is the fault of the US government.  The original version of this film centered around a private army who went to war to defend Western democracy and protect US interests in the Gulf of Oman.  However, when the filmmakers wanted to use military vehicles for the film, the Pentagon expressed their reservations with the film's message and use of real countries.  A letter written by USMC Colonel Michael Sheridan states, "The basic storyline that a private army exists in the US, available as “the court of final appeal” to besiege free world governments, is rather incredible. The United States Government(USG) has clearly demonstrated that such organizations are illegal and subject to prosecution. However, should an agency of the USG support the film production by providing military equipment, such support might be construed as tacit acceptance of the concept, at least by those who wish to embarrass the USG. Furthermore, when the storyline includes employment of the private army in support of the “only country standing between hostile forces and the straits through which the world’s oil supplies pass” (a relatively clear reference to Oman), the sensitivity of this incredible story is raised. Countries in that region are sufficiently xenophobic and suspicious of US intentions with regard to oil in the region that we would not want to provide even a gratuitous basis for reinforcing their concerns. Therefore, it would not be in the best interests of the USG to support the production of this film."

After several negotiations, the film was changed to have the conflict be between two fictional countries - the peaceful Republic of Sardun and their aggressive neighbor Gamibia.  In exchange, both the Air Force and the National Guard ended up supporting the film, renting out men and vehicles on a ‘courtesy’ basis and charging full rates (the Air Force alone charging nearly $167,000).

Images of all of the official correspondence between the filmmakers and the government can be seen in this article from SpyCulture.

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So did anyone else notice in the first scene the Megaforce is revealed that one of the stunt drivers almost completely bites ass on his bike and crashes? It looks like his front tire hits one of the blown up bits of those balls they were shooting and lost traction to where he almost wiped out on the desert terrain. Also, there is probably now worse way for a weaponized vehicle to have a main attack than by forcing the riders to have to be in a wheelie for their main action of shooting machine guns and missles.Not only is it incredibly inaccurate to fire, but the rider is already doing a bit of work to keep themselves level on a single wheel, so why not make their vehicle more unstable by having the front end of said vehicle launching all types of high velocity projectiles from it.

The movie did have some success though as inspiration for such things like Team America: World Police after Trey Parker showcased his knowledge of the film during a DVD commentary, and the flying  bike would later become a vehicle that could be purchased in Grand Theft Auto 5 Online.

 

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15 minutes ago, RyanSz said:

So did anyone else notice in the first scene the Megaforce is revealed that one of the stunt drivers almost completely bites ass on his bike and crashes? It looks like his front tire hits one of the blown up bits of those balls they were shooting and lost traction to where he almost wiped out on the desert terrain. Also, there is probably now worse way for a weaponized vehicle to have a main attack than by forcing the riders to have to be in a wheelie for their main action of shooting machine guns and missles.Not only is it incredibly inaccurate to fire, but the rider is already doing a bit of work to keep themselves level on a single wheel, so why not make their vehicle more unstable by having the front end of said vehicle launching all types of high velocity projectiles from it.

The movie did have some success though as inspiration for such things like Team America: World Police after Trey Parker showcased his knowledge of the film during a DVD commentary, and the flying  bike would later become a vehicle that could be purchased in Grand Theft Auto 5 Online.

 

Needham and Reynolds are also referenced extensively in Archer, so they probably have a Megaforce joke in there somewhere. But they do mostly concentrate on the movies that Reynolds is actually in.

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Someone on the episode joked about there being a Megaforce Cinematic Universe but if you think about it, a Needham/Stuntman Cinematic Universe could be pretty rad. It could encompass Megaforce, Jackie Chan's stunt team, The Fall Guy, Brad Pitt from Once Upon a Time AND Kurt Russell from 2 Tarantino films. And maybe the F/X films..?

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The pacing of this movie was very stilted in spots. It felt like some scenes and cuts were just allowed to linger a little too long and it undercut the momentum of the film. It felt like Barry Bostwick would say a line of quippy dialog and then the cut would linger long enough so that his smug grin would eventually flatten out.

Like Jason, Megaforce also reminded me of the toy and cartoon series from the 1980's like G.I. Joe (which premiered in it's 3 & 3/4" version the same year Megaforce came out), M.A.S.K., Centurions, Captain Power, Chuck Norris and His Karate Commandos, Rambo (yes, that Rambo!), and every other property wherein a specialized, state sanctioned militaristic force for freedom is designated specifically to take on their centralized polar-opposite evil adversary. The opening info dump at the beginning of Megaforce even sounds like the voice-over from the G.I. Joe cartoon:

"G.I. Joe is the codename for America's highly trained special mission force. Its purpose: to defend human freedom against COBRA; a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world."

More to Jason's point, "Ace" and "Duke" are also G.I. Joe code names (Ace piloted the Skystriker jet, and Duke was G.I. Joe's second in command).

To further tie this movie in with children's toy and entertainment properties, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers also had a Super "Megaforce" designation at some point during their run. The Power Rangers, like Megaforce, also had a member named Zachary "Zach" Taylor (according to the movie's IMDB page, Megaforce's Zac Taylor forewent the "h" at the end of his name, however).

Speaking of Zac Taylor, when Punky Brewster's Dad (PBD) first meets him, Zac is wearing a pair of headphones to which PBD asks him if he's listening to Gladys Night and the Pips, even though he and we can clearly hear the classical music coming Zac's headphones. Zac replies that he's actually listening to Vivaldi, to which PBD then asks which season Zac is listening to: "Winter?" "Spring," Zac clarifies. Soon after, Zac quotes Macbeth, which PBD keys into. Yet, instead of finding commonality, PBD bristles with resentment, doubling down on his simmering colonial-ish racism. Here PBD is, a stranger in a strange land, and he's alienating the one person he has any kind of cultural relationship with because they're black.

After the mission goes south (somehow), PBD and Zara fly in to the war zone (in a helicopter Ace destroys at the end of the film for no inexplicable reason, yet everyone seems cool with, nonetheless) and tells Ace and his team that they can't cross the border for risk of igniting a full-scale war. Okay, so why not fly all--or at least some--of the team out in the very long, two-prop helicopter PBD and Zara just flew in on? We see at the end of the ensuing battle that Megaforce's equipment is essentially disposable anyway, so why risk the lives of his crew when Ace can load up as many Megaforcees as he can on the PBD's helicopter instead?

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On the subject of the "Nazi guy,"  I think it was actually supposed to be a Soviet agent sent to provide propaganda as part of a deal to fund the warlord.  That would be why he insisting that he has to finish reading before the attack.

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2 hours ago, Blast Hardcheese said:

After the mission goes south (somehow), PBD and Zara fly in to the war zone (in a helicopter Ace destroys at the end of the film for no inexplicable reason, yet everyone seems cool with, nonetheless)

Yeah, that is a weird moment that gets kind of buried in the Very Impressive Victory the MFers have just pulled off. When I watched it last night I thought "man, I hope no one was doing maintenance on that helicopter." Hopefully Egg has some really good sensor tech on those rocket bikes.

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22 hours ago, samtrano said:

Even for a live episode one was especially visuals-focused.

What I gathered was that Megaforce was created collectively by the the governments of the world basically to enforce the status quo. There was a leftist uprising in Gamibia(?) and the Che guy sells his expertise to lead. He doesn't care about the cause (he doesn't even speak the language), just the money. The heroes of the movie are trying to crush this revolution because leftist revolutions upset the balance of power.

For me, Megaforce is what would happen if The Avengers actually signed the Sokovia Accords in Civil War.

 

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So at the end of the film when Megaforce is escaping via the cargo plane, everyone leaves their deadly and secretive equipment behind enemy lines?! Wait, What?! 

In fact I would love a scene at the end of the film when they return to base and Egg is just standing there, looking at an empty plane. We have an extreme close up on his face and you can see Egg contemplating suicide, because the only other option is to rebuild all the vehicles AND ensure they are superior to the ones that were left behind in enemy hands.

sGlOcxG.gif

 

Also can we not talk about the fine dining restaurant at Megaforce?! I'm sorry, but why do these Mercs for hire deserve eating at The Four Seasons? If they are spending $30K on brooms and mops, this restaurant must have set them back by $5 Million!

Also what a bunch of pampered divas these hired killers are! And yes, I'll buy that the soldiers and elite scientists can keep this base under wraps, but what about a possibly underpaid wait staff? Surely one will grow tired of the gold latex assholes complaining about their ceviche not tasking fresh and sell them out to the highest bidder! 

FOJrKEN.png

(also love that all the extras were directed to sit there and not act like they are actually eating dinner) 

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Figured this was a solid line for this GIF I created. 

 

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Hey, all, I’m worried about Megaforce. Does it have a charismatic leader, bordering on being an object of worship by the group? Ace Hunter, check. Does it have a process of indoctrination that includes some kind of thought reform? Ace Hunter talks about year-long intensive training to be able to think like “one man.”  Does it require you to leave your family and take on a new identity under the guise of freedom and equality but leads to exploitation of its group members? Hunter, Dallas, and etc. sure aren’t their real names. And they're one and all ready to ride into very dubious battlefield tactics.  

I think Megaforce might be a cult. 😐

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Barry Bostwick and Michael Beck were interviewed at a Florida comic book convention last year and Bostwick claims that he got the part because of Pirates of Penzance.  He said during that performance he would wear a blue bandana that he would throw out to a lady in the crowd.  One night the recipient of that bandana was Hal Needham’s wife who then recommended that he be cast as Hunter.

The full interview can be seen here.

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5 hours ago, pscudese said:

So at the end of the film when Megaforce is escaping via the cargo plane, everyone leaves their deadly and secretive equipment behind enemy lines?! Wait, What?! 

In fact I would love a scene at the end of the film when they return to base and Egg is just standing there, looking at an empty plane. We have an extreme close up on his face and you can see Egg contemplating suicide, because the only other option is to rebuild all the vehicles AND ensure they are superior to the ones that were left behind in enemy hands.

sGlOcxG.gif

 

So according to the wiki page for this movie, all of the vehicles have a self destruct ability that can be activated if it's clear that the rider needs to abandon it or they are killed. I can't remember if that was shown in this movie since it's a blur of total nonsense, but that's the given reason for why they so quickly leave their murder vehicles.

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On 5/22/2020 at 3:50 PM, RyanSz said:

So did anyone else notice in the first scene the Megaforce is revealed that one of the stunt drivers almost completely bites ass on his bike and crashes? It looks like his front tire hits one of the blown up bits of those balls they were shooting and lost traction to where he almost wiped out on the desert terrain.

I noticed this and loved it. I get how retakes on that scene would have been particularly time-consuming and expensive, but there's those kind of flubs all over the movie. My favorite was when Ace obviously biffs the top of his flying motorcycle and gets twisted halfway around on the wires while executing his superhero dismount. 

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6 hours ago, RyanSz said:

So according to the wiki page for this movie, all of the vehicles have a self destruct ability that can be activated if it's clear that the rider needs to abandon it or they are killed. I can't remember if that was shown in this movie since it's a blur of total nonsense, but that's the given reason for why they so quickly leave their murder vehicles.

I mean cool, but how do they not slip that in, in some quick ADR line. Also what a complete waste of money. Think of how many more brooms and mops they could afford if they didn't have to replenish their bike supply! ;) 

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