06th Aug2020

‘Monster Force Zero’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Adam Singer, Dalena Nguyen, Shale Le Page, Pat Tanaka, Heath C. Heine, Silvia Taziri, Dmitri Raskes, Heidi Rowan, Greg Farinelli, Leon Welling, Garrett Wang, Aeon Cruz, Aeona Cruz | Written by Michele Pacitto, Nathan Letteer, Tyson Kroening | Directed by Nathan Letteer

From the get-go Monster Force Zero has a real 80s aesthetic – from the typography of the credits to the fantastic soundtrack, the filmmakers behind this film really have captured the vibe of that bygone, fan-favourite, era. It’s also a love letter to the comic con scene – a scene that right now is not taking place thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic – and as such is timed perfectly to be something of a reminder of what fans, like myself, are missing: seeing and supporting attendees of cons across the globe.

Originally crowdfunded on Indiegogo, Monster Force Zero besides harkening back to the 80s, feels like a real labour of love from people who love all things geek. There’s no pandering to the audience, there’s no “fake” geeks here, everything feels real and honest. As real as a crazy sci-fi comic fantasy can be! There’s a great line about A.I. and his friends being “makers” and how the world needs more creators – people that put in the work and make sacrifices for art. It’s like the filmmakers are outlining their manifesto in the words of their characters; again tying into the authentic feel of Monster Force Zero.

A fun sci-fi B-movie, in the greatest sense, Monster Force Zero tells the story of Calvin Cashill (aka A.I.) who, in a last ditch effort to gain exposure for his failing comic book Monster Force Zero, pitches his team of cosplaying cohorts in to an underground exhibition cosplay battle against the infamous Destroyers of Destruction – but cosmic forces are at work, and this battle is just the beginning of an interstellar monstrous ride for the team…

The best comparison I can make for Monster Force Zero is that this film is very much in the same vein as The Last Starfighter. In that film a kid who loved video games, and one game in particular, was thrown into a real-life intergalactic war. Here we get a bunch of comic-creating cosplayers thrown into a real life adventure that could have stepped straight out of the pages of the very book they’re creating. In this case they’re literally turned into the characters they are cosplaying, complete with superhuman powers, and forced into a battle to determine the fate of the universe!

Monster Force Zero is also a film of two halves. Literally. The cosplay battle that sees A.I. and his friends defeat Destroyers of Destruction is – it turns out – actually an episode of an intergalactic TV show and once they win A.I and co. are whisked off into space a la the aforementioned The Last Starfighter and briefed with ACTUALLY saving the multiverse from a mad scientist!

With a fantastic cast, including former wrestler Tanaka in a key role and a standout performance from Dalena Nguyen as A.I.’s cosplaying teammate Kadabra Couture, Monster Force Zero does exactly what it set out to – homage the sci-fi/fantasy films of the 80s, create a love-letter to geeks everywhere and be a damn fun movie at the same time; and as such I can heartily recommend it.

***½  3.5/5

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