September 9, 2013

Sci Fi Invasion: Future Hunters

When approaching a massive box set, like the Sci Fi Invasion set, you have to be prepared to sit through a large number of stinkers. Through the first few disks of the set I have sat through some movies I would not wish on my worst enemy. Why do I do it? Why should anyone do it? For the experience, of course. Every movie adds to the experience and you have to believe that something interesting is going to come along. Fortunately, I have stumbled across something interesting. Not good, mind you.

The movie is called Future Hunters and was released way back in 1986. It was directed by prolific Filipino director/producer Cirio Santiago. Santiago was a big part of Corman's exploitation empire on the 70's when he was making movies with people like Jonathan Demme and Joe Dante. He is probably best known for directing the blaxploitation film TNT Jackson. As for this movie, it features the feature film debut of Robert Patrick, who a few years later would go on to star opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in, well, you know the movie.

Future Hunters is an odd mash of a variety of genres. Rather than picking just one and following it through, Santiago and writers Anthony Maharaj and J. Lee Thompson chose to work the story through a variety of styles. I guess you could look at it as a journey through the career of Santiago. The end result is a weird mash, but if you are into B movies like this, you will probably find something to like.

The movie starts with Richard Norton as a Mad Max-esque rogue warrior in a post apocalyptic landscape. He is in an armored car being chased by a bunch of goons ad a couple of tanks. He is searching for the spear used to pierce the side of Christ on the cross. Fortunately, it is sitting in an abandoned church. Out hero retrieves the artifact and is promptly transported to 1986 where he is mortally wounded by some random bikers.

Before dying, he hands the spear tip off to Michelle (Linda Carol) and her boyfriend, Slade (Patrick). They take up the mission to join the tip with the rest of the spear. The reason? Well, it will supposedly prevent the coming apocalyptic war. Or something like that.

The journey of our newly minted heroes takes them to southeast Asia where Slade teams up with Bruce Le (incorrectly credited as Bruce Li, who is someone else altogether). We get a kung fu sequence as they take on a traditional, white bearded Kung fu master. We also have pursuing Nazis looking for the spear. We have a traditional action sequence. There is a jungle segment with a tribe of little people. Not to mention a tribe of Amazon women.

With Future Hunters, you have to work to keep up with the shifting genre targets. The story ultimately goes nowhere and the ending does not signify anything. Forger anything else related to time travel or the future world, it is left behind as soon as the spear is handed off.

I have to admit, I was entertained by this movie. I liked the crazy shifts of style. The random Kung Fu element may not be quite as random as the one in Pieces, but it is crazy nonetheless. Robert Patrick's character is funny as well, going from the worthless jock type to the professed Marine action hero.

Future Hunters is one of those diamonds in the rough so far in this set. I will admit that it will be a good movie to a select audience, it probably would not play well to the mainstream. For me, it is a winner. It is goofy, silly, nonsensical, and fun. Just what I wanted.


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