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Film / Megaforce

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A 1982 action movie directed by Hal Needham, starring Barry Bostwick, Michael Beck, Persis Khambatta, Edward Mulhare, George Furth, Evan C. Kim, Ralph Wilcox, Robert Fuller and Henry Silva.

The film follows the titular "Megaforce", an elite multi-national "phantom army", equipped with "the most powerful weapons science can devise" and which mission is "to preserve freedom and justice, battling the forces of tyranny and evil on every corner of the globe".

Led by Commander Ace Hunter (Bostwick) and his friend Dallas (Beck), the Megaforce is sent to help a small (fictional) country in Africa address border incursions from its (equally fictional) neighbor, who has hired an old acquaintance of Hunter's, Duke Guerera (Silva).

No connection to Power Rangers Megaforce.

The film features the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Major Zara... allegedly. She manages to pass Megaforce qualification training, but despite her best desires, doesn't get to go on the mission.
  • Affably Evil: Guerrera and Ace used to be friends and still treat each other as such... a bit too much, really... and at the midpoint of the film they even meet and Guerrera tries to talk Ace into surrendering (and that it's The '80s, good guys don't win anymore) and in the middle of the climactic rush to evacuate Ace takes a moment to tell Guerrera that no, heroes can still win, even in the Eighties.
  • Badass Army: The titular "Megaforce". Guerera's army is apparently one, considering that it constantly makes incursions into the Republic of Sardun and wrecks the place with little problem.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: A lot of the Megaforce's battle dialogue. As a crowning example, one of the Hercules meant for evacuation gets mission-killed by a direct hit from a tank's main gun and needs to fly off, and the pilot takes the time to ask one of the other pilots if he can call the latter's girlfriend.
  • Clown Car: The C-130 "Hercules" transports used for the operation, carrying sixty-plus men all riding a motorcycle, dune buggy or an Awesome Personnel Carrier. Subverted later on in that the mission-kill of one of the planes forces the group to leave behind their vehicles during evac.
  • Cool Car: The Mega-Destroyer dune buggy and the TAC-COM vehicle, both packing significant firepower, including laser cannons and disintegration beams.
  • Cool Bike: The "Delta Mark 4 Megafighter", with triple-barreled machine guns on the nose, multiple missiles, and the ability to fly.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: A collection of dune buggies and dirt bikes outfitted with a lot of guns, Frickin' Laser Beams and a veritable Macross Missile Massacre vs. a really big bunch of tanks.
  • Commanding Coolness: Ace Hunter.
  • '80s Hair: Hunter's mullet. Sweet GOD, Hunter's bandanna-wearing mullet. Dallas's 'do isn't far behind.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Megaforce headquarters, a bunker deep in the Nevada desert built to withstand a direct hit from a 25-megaton nuke, with all the necessary elements for training and maintaining and leading the Megaforce, and with a Cool Garage full of extensive military hardware (and Dallas then mentions that said garage is just the one for the ground vehicles, as well as joking about needing $40,000 worth of mops and brooms to keep the place clean).
  • Faking the Dead: Members of Megaforce have either left their original units or are officially dead.
  • Future Spandex: Megaforce has these as combat gear, presumably as they're using "the most powerful weapons science can devise". They're gleefully derided in the Rifftrax.
    "Well I guess they've all agreed not to laugh when they see him."
    "Are we supposed to wear underwear under these suits? I feel chafing in my sexy place."
    "Do they sell men's unitards where you bought that?"
  • Good Ol' Boy: Dallas is a Southie and proud of it, wearing the Confederate flag on his bike and as a shoulder patch (while everybody else wears their respective countries'). Still pretty much a Nice Guy.
    (Dallas hangs the Stars and Bars from his vehicle) Mike Nelson: 'For Dallas, it's about heritage, not hate. His great uncle, Harry Tage... huge racist.'
  • Handshake Substitute: The forearm clasp version, no doubt compensating for all that Future Spandex.
    RiffTrax: Megaforce — we've never shaken hands before.
  • Impossible Mission Collapse: "Operation Hook, Line And Sinker" manages to go smoothly on its first two steps (demolish Guerera's main ammo depot and go to a designated rendezvous point for refueling and rearming), but the rest of the operation completely goes to Hell when the Gamibian government denounces the ammo depot raid as an act of war and the Sardun government closes its borders, trapping the Megaforce behind enemy lines.
  • It's Raining Men: The Megaforce's vehicles are capable of being air-dropped... while the driver's on it. Yes, even the bikes. This ability is used to put the team on the ground to start "Operation Hook, Line and Sinker".
  • Magical Computer: Megaforce has one on its headquarters, capable of intercepting and insta-decrypting/translating transmissions from all over the world, as well as having a rather thorough Omniscient Database.
  • Mildly Military: Also the Megaforce:
    Dallas: Ranks? Over here the only one with a rank is the Commander, but we call him "Hunter"!
  • The Mountains of Illinois: The entire film was shot on the Nevada Desert, standing in as itself and the desert countrysides of Sardun and Gamibia, somewhere on the other side of the world.
  • Multinational Team: The Megaforce. They explicitly say that all of the firepower they have (that is, aside from what they built themselves) fell off the back of the proverbial truck, with the governments' blessings, and every member is a volunteer.
  • Operation: [Blank]: "Operation Hook, Line And Sinker", Hunter's plan to make Guerera go through the Gamibia/Sardun border and right into the arms of Sardun justice.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: In payback for him stranding them on the wrong side of the border, Megaforce blows up Byrne-White's beloved helicopter.
  • Qurac: Both the Republic of Sardun (peaceful, powerless, asks for the Megaforce's help) and Gamibia (which is more in line with the Cold War "revolutionary" type and has raised a lot of hell on Sardun with Guerera's leadership of the military).
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: The first scene (the latest of the raids from Guerera's army on Sardun) has a Gamibian political officer reading a speech about revolution and liberation... from a college notebook... and reading the punctuation out loud. Guerera gets so fed up that he skips straight to the Stuff Blowing Up part of the raid.
  • Run for the Border: The entire third act. One way or another, the Megaforce is leaving.
  • Running the Blockade: The final battle scene.
  • Shooting Gallery: Our introduction to Megaforce involves several members of the unit shooting down coloured balls with machine guns and missiles while doing wheelies on their Cool Bikes. Not sure what practical use this has, but Megaforce is clearly an organization that runs on Rule of Cool.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: The first time that Hunter and Guerrera meet to talk things mid-mission, Guerrera talks about how things have gone more crap-sack in The '80s and he's pretty much just fighting for the strongest side. During the final battle, wherein everybody in the Megaforce assault team is racing to get on the evac plane, Hunter takes some time to knock on Guerrera's tank hatch Bugs Bunny-style and tell him when he opens it:
    Hunter: (with big grin) Oh, I just wanted to tell you that good guys can win. Even in The '80s!
  • Smoke Shield: The Megaforce vehicles have the capacity to toss out smoke, which they use at the climactic battle to confuse the tank blockade. For some reason, the designers of the Megafighter motorcycles thought it was a good idea to place the smoke projectors somewhere on the bike's handle bar, meaning that when the smoke starts blowing out the first person it affects is the bike's own driver, who gets all of it right to the face.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Dallas' introduction has him shooting a rattlesnake that was going to attack Major Zara and General Byrne-White.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The first act closes with Hunter and Dallas explaining "Operation Hook, Line and Sinker" in complete detail to Zara and Byrne-White (the "Hook" part being ticking off Guerrera by blowing up a munitions depot and the "Line and Sinker" parts being to have Guerrera chase them into Sardun territory for his arrest). It goes without saying that the operation goes completely to hell when Gamibia sues Sardun for the destruction and Sardun decides to close its borders, turning it into "get out any way we can".
  • Video Credits: The opening and closing credits, both of which show scenes from the film (rather than the regular Hal Needham "blooper reel" montage at the finale, and the opening credits use some shading techniques to make the montage look "groovy" and without context you only see guys with bikes racing around).
  • The War Room: The Command Center at Megaforce H.Q., complete with a computerized version of The Big Board.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Tennessee-born Michael Beck's Southern/Texan accent for Dallas is a bit... hit-and-miss.