Bobo, Brain Guy, Crow, Future War, Mary Jo Pehl, Mike Nelson, MST3K, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Pearl Forrester, Robert Z'Dar, Runaway, Sci-Fi Channel, Sister Ann, Tom Servo, TV, We've Got Movie Sign!
Welcome to the latest installment of We’ve Got Movie Sign! Continuing my reviews of my all time favorite t.v. show: Mystery Science Theater 3000! As before this one is very accessible (figuratively, and literally as it is currently available on Netflix).
Future War -Episode 1004
Era: Sci-Fi Channel
Host: Mike Nelson
Bots: Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, Gypsy
Special Guest Villains: Pearl Forrester, Professor Bobo, Brain Guy
Summary: A Jean Claude Van Damme knockoff (or kickoff?), credited only as “Runaway”, travels to Earth from outer space from a presumably harsh existence as a slave. Once here, he is found by an ex-prostitute turned nun, Sister Ann. Along with a ragtag group of husky guys and gang members they fight off a couple of cyborgs and a pack of
puppets dinosaurs who are intent on retrieving our “hero.” The local LAPD gets involved, in what probably wasn’t their craziest day back then. There also seems to be an underlying theme of “boxes”.
Host Highlights: Opening where the bots are trying to determine how many “times a lady” Gypsy is. Turns out Mike is 8x a lady. Pearl is conducting “secret” LSD tests that lead to Brain Guy burning his guitar Jimmy Hendrix style. Later, Mike and the bots thank Pearl for never killing them as she is launching a missile to do just that.
Best Riff: “Is this a halfway house for huge guys?” – Tom Servo. Hilarious line that is also what the audience is wondering at this time in the movie.
Overall, the Sci-Fi Channel years are a good time for the jokes. By this, the tenth season, everyone involved knew what they were doing and the pace had really picked up. Not sure if the crew knew that this would be their last season, but here they are making the most of it.
Call Backs: “3 days away from retirement.” and “PACKERS!” Not necessarily callbacks to previous jokes, but ones that MSTies would surely recognize from previous episodes.
Memorable Movie Quotes: “Eeeh. Eeeh. EEEEEEHHH.” -Runaway’s attempts at communication.
“Yeah, I…knew a few pimps in my time.” – Sister Ann alluding to her sketchy past before she found the Lord.
MST Musings: Oh, boy. For a good episode, this is a crap movie. It’s either really hard or too easy to explain what is going on in this movie. Again, the Sci-Fi episodes were usually pretty good just due to the experience they had by this point.
At one point, the creators of the show said that they ran into several late ’80’s and early ’90’s movies that had protracted opening credits sequences. Looking back, this was probably a cheap way for filmmakers to give their movies a more “important” feel and to pad out their runtimes. It is a recurring theme in movies subjected to MST3K and it seems like the writers were getting sick of it by this time. You wouldn’t know it from the quality of the jokes though, they are good throughout. “This is what happens when you deregulate credits.”
At one point in the story, Sister Ann enlists the help of some gang members she knows from her previous life. To explain to the gang bangers about the dinosaurs from outer space based threat they are facing, she tells them there are “Monsters in the Hood.” Now, I’m not a screenwriter, but surely there’s a rule about not invoking a better movie idea in your crappy movie. Monsters in the Hood sounds like a great movie that I now want to see. Maybe the Universal-type classic monsters facing off against a scrappy street gang on their home turf. We got two “Leprechaun in the Hood” movies, so don’t act like this can’t happen.
Future War reeks of the “straight-to-video” trend of the 1990’s. What was surprising though, was the apparent lack of a sequel. This movie was obviously made on a shoestring, so you would think if it made ANY money, they would have made another one. As far as I can tell there never was a Future War 2: Boxing Day, but honestly, I didn’t look too deep either.
Good Thing: Genre super-fan, Forrest J. Ackerman somehow has a cameo in this. Someone on the crew had to know him and he did them this favor. Ackerman coined the term “sci-fi” back in the day. It’s sad to think how he was on the Sci-Fi Channel just a few years before they suffered a brain injury and re-branded as Syfy.
Bad Thing: Robert Z’Dar’s not even Dollar Store, but more like Junk-store-out-on-Route 4-that’s-only-open-on-Thursdays-and-Saturdays knockoff Borg costume. Z’No is right.
4 out of 5 Tom Servos
You’ve Got Movie Sign: If you are interested in viewing this episode Shout Factory released this as part of the MST3K 20th Anniversary dvd set back in 2008.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it is available on the new home of MST3K, Netflix, as of this writing.
It is available for purchase on vhx.tv. If you supported the MST Kickstarter and received digital rewards, you will be familiar with this site.
Amazon video also has this episode for purchase or to rent.
Stinger: His shirt fell off, honest.