At least this is what the filmmakers claim at the beginning of Future War. I figure if anyone knows what their movie's about, it would be the filmmakers, and that's good enough for me. "Runaway" is a human bred by cyborgs and played by Daniel Bernhardt, a B-squad Jean-Claude Van Damme. Runaway escapes his captors aboard a high orbiting spaceship, and drifts ashore to a beach in southern California. As he wanders the mean streets of Orange County, he gets struck by a car driven by a noviate nun who is also a former hooker and drug dealer. Sister Anne takes the injured Runaway to her former half-way house, which is manned by the very large men who helped her quit dopin' and whorin'.
Meanwhile, killer dinosaurs from the future are tracking down Runaway. The dinosaurs are actually dinosaur puppets shot in forced perspective, creating the illusion of somewhat larger forced perspective dinosaur puppets. These dinosaurs are also fitted with special collars which cause the dinosaurs to explode and disintegrate if they are harmed. The reason for this isn't clear, but I'm sure the filmmakers knew what they were doing.
Sister Ann helps Runaway elude the tracker dinosaurs. While they run from redressed parking ramp set to redressed parking ramp set, the two form a special bond. While Sister Ann is questioning her faith and her purpose in life, Runaway quotes the Bible to her which really gets her where she lives. Sister Ann has a flashback while she looks at a scrapbook which contains photos of her when she was a streetwalker. I can only guess that her prostitute co-workers were very sentimental and gave her the scrapbook at her good-bye party at Applebee's.
While dinosaurs are after Runaway and Sister Bland, their cyborg masters are after them; and a brusque, poofy-haired police detective is after all of them. The detective jails Runaway and in his cell, Runaway practices Tae-Bo and has flashbacks to parts of the movie we've just seen in order to save the filmmakers money.
Then Sister Innocuous meets with gang members she used to hang with and asks for their help. They ask why, and when she says very seriously "monsters in the hood," they don't even laugh or beat her up. Runaway escapes and battles Cyborg Master Robert "Bob" Z'Dar and they kickbox the hell out of each other. (There was a fight consultant in this movie so I'm sure the filmmakers knew what they were doing). Runaway then meets up with Sister Non-threatening and the gang, and they all go after the dinosaur monsters, who, Runaway informs them, tend to gather near water. The group goes to the reservoir and sets a bomb near the entrance. The group circles the catacombs of the reservoir... and they circle... and circle.... and circle... and circle some more... and circle... Finally they find the dinosaurs and set off the bomb, killing them all. (The dinosaurs, I mean. Unfortunately, the group escapes unscathed).
If the movie led you to believe that Runaway had killed Master Cyborg, hang on. In the last of many denouements, Sister Average is pledging her final vows on the parking ramp cum chapel set. Suddenly Master Cyborg Robert "Chip" Z'Dar comes crashing through the stained glass window, and in a rare scene without background boxes, Cyborg and Runaway fight some more. Runaway's shirt accidentally falls off him and although topless, he is able to give Robert "Bud" Z'Dar a good licking. Runaway and Sister Anne then become counselors at the halfway house, which Sister Ann also has a scrapbook of. The filmmakers knew what they were doing, I tell you.
Prologue: Using a computer spreadsheet program and Diane Feinstein as a baseline, Crow tries to calculate if Gypsy is once, twice, three times a lady. Gypsy is disappointed that she is only 2.7 times a lady; turns out Mike is eight times a lady.
Segment One: Pearl is conducting LSD tests on the robots and monitors their hallucinations. To augment the effect, Bobo and Brain Guy have formed an acid rock band called Narcotic Casserole. Servo has his usual delirium; Crow has a harrowing experience in which he sees a Mike eating a Snickers candy bar, not a Milky Way. Crow is also somewhat surprised to learn that Mike is not a clown.
Segment Two: Tom has made some lumpy, leaden legs for himself and desperately wants to kick-box someone. He challenges Gypsy to a fight, but Gypsy has a singular, misshapen leg of her own and instantly takes out Servo.
Segment Three: Mike, Crow and Servo realize they've never really thanked Pearl for not killing them. They take a moment to thank Pearl, interuppting her attempt to kill them.
Segment Five: Mike has a giant Robert Z'Dar-esque chin. Servo and Crow chide him for insulting the many people with giant prosthetic chins. Down in the castle, Bobo and Brain Guy inform Pearl that Narcotic Casserole is leaving to tour with Moby Grape. Pearl gives them each exploding tracking collars. You can guess the rest.
STINGER: Robert Z'Dar and Daniel Bernhardt kick-box and Bernhardt's shirt somehow slips off.
There's a moment in this movie which is kind of heartbreaking. There's a brief scene where a television news reporter is doing a live remote stand- up. His cameraman is using a pretend card-board camera; it's a taped-up box with a lens apparatus taped to it. That made us sad.
Not since Change of Habit has a single film reawakened my dream of someday becoming a nun. I think that every Catholic girl entertains notions of nundom at least once in her life, even if its only during a commercial break. I considered it a couple of times when I was in second grade, probably because Sister Ann Patrick, my teacher at the time, seemed so darn cool. She could play that "Dominique-nique-nique" song on the guitar. Then I saw Lilies of the Valley: there was glamorous nunhood depicted on the big screen but then there was also Sidney Poitier and he was just so darn... well... grrrrrrrrr! The nun thing never really panned out for me.
When we wrote this last fall, we had no way of knowing that the Sci Fi Channel wouldn't renew MST3K come March. We quipped away in blissful naivete. We wrapped production on April 9, and just as I find myself at a career crossroads, I happen to watch Future War over the weekend. And there's that nun lady in Future War. Maybe someone's trying to tell me something...
- Mary Jo Pehl
(you've been warned)
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