The "Citizen Kane" of cardboard box movies!
Richard Goddard | Hillsborough, NJ | 03/04/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Apparently, Ed Wood was still alive as recently as 1996 using the alias "Anthony Doublin" while directing the completely INSANE "Future War". Right away, one would assume that this film somehow involves some sort of warfare, taking place in some latter time period? Well, no, because by making that assumption, one also mistakenly assumes that sensible people wrote, directed, acted, or even catered this production. Actually, this film takes place in present-day Los Angeles.
I learned a lot from this film. Having not been to L.A. in decades, I was rather surprised to learn that the place is now largely deserted and dominated by cardboard box storage houses. Either that, or this film was funded by the Georgia-Pacific company. Also, judging by the title, I've learned that a "War" is not limited to armies of thousands, but can also be defined by a couple of overweight guys in leather and facepaint with some styrofoam dinosaurs chasing a guy that likes to stretch his eyelids and lips to their limits whenever possible.
Daniel Bernhardt (a poor man's Van Damme!) is a human slave who escapes his cyborg captors and winds up in the empty part of L.A. The cyborgs aren't going to let him go, so they go down and chase him around with their quite non-agile dinosaurs (I'm not sure if the cyborgs owned the dinosaurs or stole them from a miniature golf course). Luckily, it takes little effort to defeat these dinosaurs in combat (Bernhardt probably had to pull his punches and kicks, since styrofoam can split quite easily).
And on to the legendary fight between Bernhardt and a cyborg played by Robert Z'Dar (the film's best and most accomplished actor!). Bernhardt runs past some empty cardboard boxes... Z'Dar powerfully breaks through that mighty barrier; Bernhardt in an incredible display of strength and dexterity, heaves a box at Z'Dar, who is equally up to the challenge! Man, if an empty cardboard box can't bring him down, what can? Bernhardt runs through more boxes and... and... well, I leave the rest of the fight to your imagination, I don't want to spoil it.
The bulk of the film has to do with Bernhardt meeting a groovy nun and a couple other people and avoiding more cyborgs and police officers played by actors and scripted to act pretty much the opposite of how actual police officers act when faced with a dinosaur (which alternates between 6 and 25 feet tall depending on the take) or a nun and a dopey guy. I'm not entirely sure how the movie ended, my DVD spit it out before that. I think it was because the previous DVD I had in there was "Raging Bull", and the resulting massive shock from following it up with "Future War" caused a malfunction.
DANIEL IN THE DINOSAUR'S DEN
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 01/13/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Oh, my, this is one bad movie. Martial arts hero Daniel Bernhardt is simply awful as a "runaway" from the future who comes back to Earth, which his people think is really "heaven." There he joins up with a renegade nun and some hood boys to take on dinosaur trackers and cyborgs who have come to take him back. Special effects are atrocious, the whole cast is terrible and this movie is a complete waste of time. Avoid at all costs."
Come for the dinosaurs, stay for the laughs!
hvfisher | Rockwell, NC, United States | 09/04/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film was featured in an episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," and one viewing will show you why. The plot is simple: a runaway slave (Bernhardt) escapes from a spaceship to Earth, pursued by his cyborg masters and their dinosaur trackers. On the way he (literally) runs into a novice nun who is a former prostitute and drug addict. She helps him hide from the hunters, and he helps her sort out a crisis of faith. Along the way there are bad special effects, cheesy forced-perspective dinosaur puppets (held close to the camera, they seem massive), and diabolical acting. In spite of it all, this movie manages to transcind itself and become funny. The fight sequences are a riot, and the special effects are as good for laughs as anything "Dark Shadows" or the original "Star Trek" ever produced. And all in all, the storyline isn't any worse than that of "Jurassic Park" or "Star Wars"; the biggest failing is the low budget and too much reliance on fight scenes to carry the action. If you're looking for a film to pass the time or entertain friends, this one will do the trick ... especially for fans of the "Soap Opera Game" or Mystery Science Theater watchers who want to see the original movie uncut."
Phantosmos13 | Corpus Christi, TX | 09/07/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Have you ever seen this movie on television before? I saw it on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I pray that this where it shall only be seen. Why do people produce movies like this? Of course, there exist a few known answers to this question. One is money, another is the intentional stupidity on the part of the filmmakers, i.e. trying to make it ridiculous. But "Future War" doesn't seem to belong to these two branches. No audience will be satisfied by this, not even Action movie buffs, so the prospect of monetary gain can be thrown out the window. It can not be intentionally stupid either, for those kinds of movies are absurd from the first scene to the last, and this movie seems to have scant attempts at human drama. So what is the excuse? An Accident? Good intentions that went horribly wrong? A bad experiment in trying to connect [bad] science fiction with other genres like Action and Drama? I suppose the best answer is that there isn't one. If you don't take my word for it, just listen to the brilliant story, such as it is: A man aptly named Runaway (Daniel Bernhardt), who looks, speaks, fights, and growls like actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, escapes from his desolate "future", accidentally finding solace in our modern era. He is befriended by a former-prostitute-turned-nun who helps the poser learn English. She then listens to Runaway's bizarre tales, primarily concerning his "futuristic origin". Naturally, she does not believe Runaway at first, but it is rather difficult to dismiss his claims after being chased by what can only be described as Dinosaurs with exploding metal collars. The duo join forces with what can only be described as the local gang and set out to demolish the Saurians once and for all. This proves to be quite simple, until Cyborg Master (Robert Z'Dar from "Return to Frogtown") arrives to show Runaway what pain truly feels like. Fighting ensues, it thankfully ends, and one is left confused and speechless. Like another film I reviewed entitled "Neon Maniacs", which is easily on the 10 Worst Films ever made, the driving question of "Future War" can strangely be summed up with one word: Why? Why did Runaway have to depart from his "future"? Was it really "the future"? If Runaway is from our "future", then why does he point to the sky when talking about his origin? Is Runaway trying to grunt the idea that he is from the "future" of another world? Why is this never fully expounded upon? Why does Daniel Bernhardt happen to be a blantant clone of Jean-Claude Van Damme? Why does Bernhardt speak like Van Damme? Also like Van Damme, why does Bernhardt make angry growls after every single punch and kick he bestows upon his enemy? Why is there a subplot involving a reformed prostitute-turned-nun? Why is there a single attempt at character development in a film that otherwise has none? Why is the acting so atrocious? Why does actor Robert Z'Dar always appear in horrible movies? Why are Dinosaurs pursuing Runaway? Once again, which "future" is Runaway from anyway? If Runaway is from Earth's "future", then why do Jurassic organisms follow him from it? If Runaway is from "elsewhere", are the Dinos supposed to be Space Saurians? Was Robert Z'Dar responsible for giving the cute Dinos those nasty exploding collars? Why didn't the T-Rex from Jurassic Park appear to show those Saurian puppets what a REAL Dinosaur looks like? Why does the local gang help Runaway combat the futuristic menace? Why not the horrid metal band GWAR instead? Would it make the movie any less incomprehensible? There is absolutely no meaning to this garbage. It simply goes nowhere. I am shocked and amazed that Van Damme hasn't sued Bernhardt for stealing his image on every level. Yet again, as described before, what audience would ever consciously make it to the end of this mess? The best choice is to leave this smoldering heap on the video shelf. It would be best not even to touch the box, as it may wear off on one's hands and cause 3rd degree burns. So, watch out for that Runaway! Daniel Bernhardt has lost his self-respect, and he's out to [get] yours! You have been warned.FINAL RATING: 0 (Zero) Stars out of 5
FINAL GRADE: F
*Dishonorable Mention: Worst Action Star Clone - Bernhardt*"