FOOTAGE FETISHES: THE PASSION OF HAL NEEDHAM

“The good guys always win, even in the Eighties.”
Less a movie than an excuse to finally blow up some tanks, “Megaforce” was also Needham’s first (and last) foray into the world of sci-fi. If you can suspend disbelief, ignore everything you’ve ever learned about plot development, and resist the urge to avert your eyes from an elite military cadre dressed like Solid Gold dancers, you just might appreciate Needham’s well-meaning but misguided efforts. Or you’ll get on your CB radio in a vain effort to form a posse and hunt him down.
Getting around that nagging paranoia about giving the United Nations a standing army, the good and decent nations of the world instead put together what is essentially the best-funded mercenary force – or “Megaforce” – in the Western hemisphere. How, in the age of heat-seeking missiles and satellite tracking, anyone thought that outfitting an army with motorcycles and dune buggies would prove effective against battle tanks and fast attack helicopters (to say nothing of a few long range bombers) is beyond me. Still, they have a really gnarly paint job that reflects black at night and displays a wicked cool lightning bolt effect during the day. What better way to protect your Honeycomb Hideout?
“Megaforce” is also one of the few Needham movies of that era that didn’t feature Burt Reynolds. Burt was spending long hours trying to choose between Sally Field and Loni Anderson (what, Joyce DeWitt wasn’t available?), so Needham got the discount Reynolds: Barry Bostwick. There’s no follicular dilemma with Bostwick, that guy has some of the best hair ever seen in an action movie, which he keeps in place with the same style headband Travolta made popular in “Staying Alive” (because elite military uniforms and off-Broadway fashion are a match made in heaven).
You’ve got to give it up for Barry Bostwick. Here’s a guy who’s never taken his movie career – which includes such epics as “Weekend at Bernies II” and “Project: Metalbeast” – very seriously. In truth, he probably saw the writing on the wall after “Rocky Horror” and made his plans accordingly. As…*ahem*…“Ace Hunter” in “Megaforce,” Bostwick has a refreshingly cheesy time heading up his elite squadron. Henry Silva puts his Henry Silva stamp on Guerera (I guess “Guevara” was copyrighted), the evil dictator that Megaforce must bomb back to the Disco Age, while Michael Beck (The Warriors) comports himself just fine as Hunter’s lieutenant, “Dallas.” And if you think the “Megaforce” writers are crappy with names, you should read some of my short stories. Rounding out the cast is Persis Khambatta, who geeks will remember as “that bald chick from the first ‘Star Trek’ movie.” Khambatta plays Zara, who is a major in the army of the country threatened by Guerera. In spite of her important rank, she does little besides gaze with barely hidden lust at Hunter’s firm, spandex-wrapped buttocks.
I’m pretty sure Megaforce saves the day. If not, somebody needs to explain the horribly triumphant end title song, which sounds like Survivor strangling Kenny Loggins with D’addario guitar strings.
Get the rest of the story in part five of FOOTAGE FETISHES: THE PASSION OF HAL NEEDHAM>>>




Posted on April 6, 2004 in Features by
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