"Oh, and for a little more fun, this movie has Mel Novak, who was in Game Of Death as the assassin who tries to shoot Bruce Lee's stock footage from Chinese Connection."
- American Ninja Man
Future War (1995)
Director: Anthony Doublin
Daniel Bernhardt, Robert Z Dar, Travid Brooks, Stewart Kazja, Ray Adash, Mel Novak, Forrest J. Ackerman
Time: 82 min.
No one is safe in this deadly sci-fi tale of a master race of Cyborgs from the future who abduct humans from the past, breeding them as slaves. Bloodthirsty dinosaurs are trained as trackers, impossible to outrun. But when a human (Daniel Bernhardt) breaks free, a bloody war begins and the Cyborgs are forced to battle against vigilantes, street gangs, and drug lords--in a deadly battle for the future.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
AMERICAN NINJA MAN'S REVIEW: Ah yes, Daniel Bernhardt. That poor bastard sure paid his dues before hitting the big time with Bloodsport, Timecop, Universal Soldier and Hard Target. You might know him as the cultural icon in which he served as a springboard for Hong Kong directors to make their debuts, but i'm sure nobody knew about this embarrassing skeleton in his closet. Oh wait, this just in, that was Jean-Claude Van Damme who became a cultural icon! Daniel Bernhardt was the guy who took over for Van Damme in Bloodsport II, III and IV. He would also go on to be on that Mortal Kombat TV show that nobody watched; and he would play the bad guy agent in The Matrix Reloaded (He was the agent that fought Morpheus on the truck). However, before The Matrix Reloaded he really did live up to MST3K's pet name, "Jean-Claude Gosh Darn. " The poor bastard.
By the way this movie got the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment (From now on we will call it MST3K) and it's here Mike mocked the ever hopeful Daniel Bernhardt by taunting him with such humilating put downs as the forementioned "Jean-Claude Gosh Darn" and a completely gratituous mention of "Van Damme it!" when Bernhardt tried his best impression of Van Damme squeezing out a turd. Talk about viscous.
The movie in question is Future War, and in it Jean-Claude Gosh Darn plays "The Runaway", an escaped slave from an unnamed planet. This planet is tough to live on because cyborgs are cruel masters and enslave humans as tools to do the kind of work a cyborg can't do. (Oh it gets worse) They also brought back dinosaurs and trained them as trackers and so you can pretty much guess how awful this movie is. The entire movie's science fiction angle is pretty much Daniel Bernhardt fighting off cyborgs and dinosaurs while running with a prostitute-turned-nun (Oh how I wish this was a hallucination from shrooms).
The beginning starts off with Daniel Bernhardt, a prostitute-turned-nun and some random fat black guy; they're sneaking around apparently for no reason and then we see the dinosaurs (who vary in size in certain shots) who then send our Van Damme wanna-be and company into a situation where they run from what they were most likely hunting We find out later that this will end up happening later in the movie as it is part of the climax. Wow, this movie is terrible.
We then get spaceship footage with no real connection to anything else in the movie. I'm guessing this is supposed to explain how Daniel Bernhardt got to this planet but things are left to the imagination. However, we do start with an action sequence that is inarguably one of the best fight sequences ever. Daniel Bernhardt is backed up against a wall of boxes and a robot bounty hunter (Or something?), picks a fight and what does our beloved Van Damme clone do? He throws an empty box at the robot! I'm sure at this moment John Connor was wondering why he didn't try this on the T-1000, but I'm not joking, Daniel Bernhardt chucks a box in slow motion (To heighten the overall impact of course!) and our robot bad guy (The actor playing him is named Kazja!) punches the box away. By the way if you notice that the guy's name who plays the robot is named Kazja, the only reason I didn't crack a Kajagogo joke (You know the supergay band that Yi-Long is big on, who sang "Too Shy") is because MST3K already did and this would make me a joke thief and I have no desire to join the ranks of such assheads as Carlos Mencia and Dane Cook.
Anyway. Daniel Bernhardt dispatches said Kazja, with a sidekick, a twirling kick that ends in what I think is a hook kick (Bad editing) which apparently can kill a cyborg. Given the overall lameness of such a cyborg, I'm guessing that the biggest problem on Bernhardt's mind would be the dinosaurs, that was until I saw Jean-Claude Gosh Darn dispatch a dinosaur as if it was a furry kitten. Once again, this is why Daniel Bernhardt took so long to make a theatrical movie in which he had a small role. I mean geez, even Sasha Mitchell managed to sneak into theaters with Kickboxer 2 (Not to mention, the great and underrated Spike Of Bensonhurst).
After his epic box throwing fight (Maybe the producers misunderstood what the word kickboxing meant?) Daniel Bernhardt is hit by a female driver who is a nun. This nun, by the way, used to be a prostitute and she has apparently seen the error of her ways, which is why she still wears revealing clothing and makes sure to wear make up and put her hair up in a way to make her look sexy. She also has emotional baggage as she blames herself for the death of her friend due to an overdose... ZZZZZZ. Oh, I'm sorry, I just fell asleep in the sheer inane plot angle meant to give our love interest a dimension.
Anyway, the nun hides Daniel Bernhardt in her friend's house and after dinosaurs attack, she is on the run with Daniel Bernhardt, with a new robot following close behind. This robot is played by Robert Z'Dar, see this is what must suck about being Z'Dar, MST3K didn't make any jokes about him, they treated him as if he was an unknown despite the fact that this mug was in Maniac Cop 1-3 (As Maniac Cop mind you!), Tango And Cash and of course, co-starring with American Kickboxer 2's Dale 'Apollo' Cook in Double Blast. Z'Dar gets second billing despite the fact he shows up about an hour and five minutes in, and has maybe 10 minutes of footage, oh, and he never speaks. This alone guarantees that the best performance in the cast comes from Z'Dar.
He also has a big fight sequence with Daniel Bernhardt, with Bernhardt taking his shirt off and acting like Van Damme's evil twin brother (Maybe Bernhardt was the other twin in all those Van Damme twin movies?!) and Z'Dar bursts into fire for no reason and they duke it out in church where doves fly. Sort of like The Killer with porn level production values and sub-porn acting. Z'Dar also sports a hilariously gay mustache that makes him a dead ringer for Mr. Slave on South Park and the dinosaurs are so hideous in terms of effectiveness (I'm not even going to call it a special effect) that they shrink in scenes as if they were magic. For instance when the dinosaur is chasing Bernhardt, the dinosaur appears to be 20 feet tall when the dinosaur attacks anyone close up, it's the size of my cat.
Also, if anything else, this movie has the most random dinosaur killings that I've ever seen. Nobody is literally safe from the destruction fo these heartless dinos. From homeless people, old people reading newspapers, kids playing soccer and so many more. Yet nobody does anything and if the dinosaurs are as big as the director's camera says then someone in charge isn't doing their job.
The movie ends with Bernhardt in what would appear be a downbeat ending, with Bernhardt looking as if he died in the prostitute-turned-nun's arms. The ending is even more downbeat then you realize because we find out that our Van Damme wanna be becomes a suicide help operator, which is truly the funniest thing that an action flick with science fiction overtones has ever ended on. I mean seriously, you have saved the world from Robert Z'Dar and his big gay mustache, size shifting dinosaurs and instead of going to Disneyland you become a suicide help operator? Nice. Then again though my theory is that this was indeed no movie footage but rather Bernhardt's real job at the time. It would make sense, since many calls he got were probably regarding his work in Bloodsport III and IV.
Oh, and for a little more fun, this movie has Mel Novak, who was in Game Of Death as the assassin who tries to shoot Bruce Lee's stock footage from Chinese Connection.
And on the disturbing side, according to IMDb, Robert Z'Dar used to be a Chippendale Dancer. Now there's a sight that most likely ensured that women would be going home not in the mood for their boyfriends, husbands or anyone trying to pick them up.
One other thing that is funny? Daniel Bernhardt actually refers to himself as a "tool" twice. Nice. Just peachy.
AMERICAN NINJA MAN'S
RATING: 1.5/10 (10/10 Unintentional amusement)