After nine years of blogging and 99 podcast episodes, it’s time to take another look at the movie that started it all: MEGAFORCE! In this episode, I take a look at the 1982 Hal Needham film, which stars Barry Bostwick as Ace Hunter, the commander of a super-elite international military unit. I give a summary of the movie, talk about my Megaforce origin story and re-evaluate my opinion of it.
In some ways, I think that my fascination with the odd, often terrible things in popular culture starts with Megaforce. I get the feeling that few people know about this particular film and if there are people who do, I would be hard pressed to find some serious fans. It was a total misfire of a film when it came out and hasn’t at all better with age.
I first saw Megaforce on television when I was a kid. Well, to be honest, I saw the last ten minutes of it. Megaforce was one of those movies that netowrk affiliates would show when there was a hole in their schedules on a weekend afternoon because someone else was airing a baseball or football game and we weren’t in the era of all-golf, all-the-time on Saturdays and Sundays when Notre Dame isn’t playing. Saturday is still kind of a wasteland, but back then it wasn’t half bad because you could every once in a while come across The Breakfast Club or Better off Dead on WPIX if your mom hadn’t chased you out of the house already.
It was fine, anyway. Most of my Saturdays were spent at friends’ houses or having them at my house to play Nintendo until mom threw me out of the basement with some sort of speech about playing outside. And if she wasn’t effective, the television was effective because this wasteland of programming would bore us enough to death to cause us to go outside and play wiffle ball in the backyard, eventually getting half of our balls caught in our huge elm tree.
The first time I remember seeing the end of Megaforce was on one of these random Saturday afternoons. Tom Hackett and I had just switched off the Nintendo and rapidly turned the knob on the cheap Sharp Linytron television to see if we could find what was on the ten or so channels my house actually got. The images flashed by very quickly with a thip-thip-thip-thip so I don’t know how we saw the movie but we wound up landing on channel 7, WABC, and spent the next few minutes watching this guy on a soupe-up motorcylce. He was being chased by bad guys and tring to board what looked like a huge cargo plane. His compatriots were urging him on, and after a few moments, he figured out how to work what was obviously an experimental flying feature on the motorcycle, then flew through the air. Overjoyed, he hooted and hollared until he landed on the plane.
We sat dumbfounded. The credits rolled. Then, the guy who was obviously the villain came on the screen and that hero uttered one of the best lines in movie history: “I just wanted to say goobye and remind you that the good guys always win. Even in the Eighties.”