Masters of the Universe (1987): Breakdown by Rantbo
Dolph Lundgren is He-Man. A man so manly, He must have Man in his name.
The film opens with an epically nonsensical exposition and while it makes absolutely no fucking sense—it is one of the most awesome God Damned things I’ve ever heard in my life. And it’s followed up by the amazing musical talents of one Bill Conti (ROCKY)(having clearly stolen the theme from John Williams’ SUPERMAN score) making this pre-credits prologue EVEN MORE stellar.
Apparently while the credits rolled, an evil army of darkness lead by the Skeleton of Richard Nixon (Frank Langella), captured Castle Greyskull and imprisoned a Sorceress that lives within. But all hope is not lost, as the Sorceress informs Skeletor (Nixon) that he has not won yet, for He-Man still lives. So the question becomes, who is this man of resistance?—This man that stands with defiance?—This “He-Man”? Well, turns out, it’s a sword-wielding Dolph Lundgren in a leather cod-piece. And the Action Gods have delivered again.
He-Man, together with his good friends; Duncan, The Man-At-Arms (Jon Cypher), Teela (Chelsea Fields) (who action fans might recognize as the stewardess that seats Arnold in COMMANDO) and Gwildor of Thenur (WILLOW’s Billy Barty), travel to Jersey (it’s cheaper to film there than in Eternia) with Gwildor’s personal-sized star-gate device* to stop Skeletor, save the Sorceress and reclaim Castle Greyskull.
*That when turned on can open a rift-like door to other dimensions, by emitting a series of musical tones similar to the ones I hear in my head when I think of Olivia Wilde…
Let me start by saying I LOVED He-Man as a kid. Fucking loved him. I watched the show, I collected the toys (which I still have) and I adored the movie. And even through its many flaws (a ridiculous plot, goofy acting, silly make-up, bad story, lame dialogue) it still manages to kick ass. The biggest thing that went unnoticed when I was a kid though, had to be the blatant, near disgusting rip-off job that the filmmakers pulled from the STAR WARS movies…
– A blond-haired, sword-wielding, pure-heart hero: Luke Skywalker has become He-Man Sparkbleeder.
– A dark, sinister, cloak-wearing creep with lightning powers: Darth Vader and the Emperor have become Skeletor.
– Identical cannon-fodder evil guys: The White Colored Stormtroopers have become The Black Colored Centurians
– The helpful and wise comic relief little person: Yoda has become Gwildor
– There is a light side and a dark side: The Force has become The Power
– The small group of heroic fighters: The Rebels have become The Resistance
– The lame, yet endearing couple that unwittingly gets wrapped up in the conflict: R2 and C-3PO have become Kevin and Julie, an American teenage couple.
– The final battle takes place in a throne room along dangerous ill structured walkways
– The wrinkly old cloaked bastard is thrown over one such walkway
– There are land speeders, laser guns and a ‘hey look we’re all cleaned up and being presented with awards in front of a room full of good-guy soldiers just before the end of the movie’ scene.
And then there is the BACK TO THE FUTURE ties. Not only does this film feature the awesome James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland), there is also this…
[flashvideo filename=videos/BackSlackers.wmv.FLV /]
All is forgiven by me though, as I understand this movie is just a nonsensical fan-favorite kids movie made from a nonsensical fan-favorite kid’s show and lifted popular sci-fi ideas. The point being—it didn’t have to make sense. It was just about entertaining fan service and you know what? It’s all good—I mean bad, but you know—in a good way. MOTU is a fun, exciting, action-packed, unintentional laugh riot. My only real gripe being that there is way too much footage of the Earthling couple and not nearly enough of Dolph. It’s fitting that they dropped HE-MAN AND THE from the title of the picture, as he’s barely in the fucking thing. Still though, I recommend this to anyone that loved the 80s and thinks that the STAR WARS films were in need of more action, more nonsensical plot-lines, more Dolph and way, WAY, more male frontal nudity. Until next time, Good Journey, and may the Power be with you.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Dolph Lundgren is Prince Adam is He-Man
As with most children of the 80s, He-Man was a God to me. He lived inside a castle shaped like a skull, rode a giant tiger and battled a walking skeleton. All of which made him about the coolest thing to have ever existed. At least, to a four year-old. But, who would have thought that 20+ years later, I’d still be watching in awe the man that brought him to life. It’s fitting that this was Dolph’s first lead role, as it’s the one he was born to play. And though he only speaks a precious few lines, Lundgren’s physique is more than powerful enough to sell the character as a man not to be fucked with. Or by, for that matter.
His deep Viking vocals, lumbering walk and combination blade/blaster fighting technique instantly made me forget about what a giant fairy his cartoon counterpart was, all without losing the strong homosexual presence. In short, Dolph was a rare perfect casting for the role and my only complaint was, again, that there wasn’t enough time spent on him and his glorious Swedish mullet.
[THE BODY COUNT: 70+]
Who ever would have thought that a movie based on a kid’s toy would have a personal (meaning one-by-one deaths, not large un-violent catastrophes) body count of this caliber. 99% of the kills are spark-induced laser blasts and metal-on-metal sword cuts, with a few explosions mixed in for good measure. Of course, no one on the good side with a name dies, so the tally belongs completely in their favor. Dolph himself manages a very nice 41 kills by his lonesome and the rest are divided amongst the other named heroes, with several randos going to the evil Spacetroopers in the overthrowing of Castle Greyskull. Not too shabby for a PG kids film, I must say.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
He-Man liberates one of the Spacetrooper’s hover-boards and uses it to take out the rest of the fleet. For most of them he uses his high-ground to snipe the poor automatons with his blaster, but for one special fellow, He-Man unleashes the beast…
One touch of He-Man’s “blade” and the poor bastard explodes into fiery sparks of glitter.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
If you’re gay—or not straight, get ready for a good time, as HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE was without a doubt THE gayest cartoon EVER made and yes that includes THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO. It’s odd that while so much of the cartoon’s concepts, characters and plot-lines were kept out of the live-action adaptation, they still managed to “pack in” the homosexual undertones.
He-Man spends 80% of the film in nothing but a loincloth-cape-boots and shoulder-pad combo and then the rest in just the boots and loincloth. It’s fabulusssss!
As an added bonus, he is almost never seen without his over-sized blade of phallic death. And the small amount of time he actually does spend apart from his magical penis extension, he is in captivity and Skeletor has his bald chainmail-clad minion, Blade, give He-Man a thrashing with a neon colored light-whip. He pretends not to enjoy it.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The film features two main female characters. One, is Meg Foster (that creepy-eyed bitch from THEY LIVE) and the second is a teenage Courtney Cox (The Boss’s music video, DANCIN’ IN THE DARK)
While Meg Foster’s Evil Lyn is an assertive and powerful female character, Cox’s Julie is just a silly, stupid little girl. And I mean, STUPID. Motivated purely by her emotional scars from losing her parents, her every decision is based on making herself feel better. And this backfires, as the moment in which she genuinely feels good, she completely screws herself over.
At the end of the movie, Gwildor does his magic with a restored cosmic key and offers to send the crazy kids back to Earth to any place or time that they want. Me, being a rational thinking male, would have at least given this offer a minute’s thought, but these two just want to go home. The gateway is opened and as they start to walk through, Julie, for some reason, starts to think. “Gwildor! Wait! Send us back before my pare…!” Oh yeah! Her parents died last year. Oops! Guess she should have thought about that shit when Gwildor had said ANY TIME, huh? Of course, even though she doesn’t deserve a happy ending due to her shocking obliviousness, she still receives one and I have one more reason to regard the female brain with contempt and loathing.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
EP-M: “Nobody takes pot-shots at Lubic!”
The moment goes to Strickland as he decides, fuck it. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. After being unwittingly transported to GreySkull, he is fired upon by numerous Spacetroopers and he—gets—pissed…
“All right, freakos, you want to play games? Then Let’s Play!—(clack-clack BOOM! clack-clack BOOM!) Come On, You Mother!” (clack-clack BOOM! clack-clack BOOM! clack-clack BOOM!)
He wastes 4 of the bastards in rapid succession with his boomstick of disgruntled Jersey cop justice and decides, on the spot, that Eternia is the place for him.
Now, while the above is indeed a great line, nothing can out-do the series’ standard and catch phrase of my childhood…
“I HAVE THE POWER!”
Indeed you do, you gorgeous hunk of Swed you.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
“Live the journey, for every destination is but a doorway to another.” And if you find a giant musical television achievement award looking thing in a cemetery, don’t automatically assume that it’s just “…one of those new Japanese synthesizers.” It could end up being an intergalactic key to the cosmos. Or a dirty-bomb. Either way, best not fuck with it.
[THE LIST OF LUNDGREN: 3 outta 5]
[X] Ends The Movie Smiling
[X] Gets Captured
[ ] Screams While Shooting
[X] Shows Off Buffness
[ ] Teaches Values
[THE CHECKLIST: 18 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[X] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[ ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice
Masters Of The Universe (1987) © Cannon Films, Inc. and Cannon International and MGM
Back To The Future / Back To The Future: Part 2 © Universal City Studios, Inc.