Cirio H. Santiago
Cirio H. Santiago
‘Future Hunters’ is kind of like those Transformers toys where all the little robot toys can be combined into one larger robot. It's cool in theory, but in practice the end result is kind of stiff and looks a little silly. So imagine, instead of Devastator, the Constructicons all leaping together to form a Filipino action movie/kung-fu/time travel/comedy with the head of the T-1000.
It’s 2025 and the Earth has been devastated by nuclear war. One man, Matthew (Richard Norton), drives around in the now traditional post-apocalyptic black muscle car with spikes all over it on his quest for the head of the spear of Longinus. Luckily for him, it’s just sitting out in the open in an abandoned church. Unluckily, a caped warlord shoots the place up with a bunch of tanks. Mathew is transported back to 1986 where he’s mortally wounded fighting a biker gang, but not before giving the spearhead to college student Michelle (Linda Carol) and her lunkhead boyfriend, Slade (Robert Patrick). Michael tells them they need to find the rest of the spear to prevent the awful future he’s from and one of the people who can help is (gasp!) Michelle’s professor at college.
Michelle and Slade set out to find Professor Hightower (Paul Holmes), a journey which takes them to Hong Kong where they witness a pointless kung-fu battle between a taxi driver (Bruce Li) and someone who stepped out of a wuxia film from the 70’s. Later they end up in the jungles of Southeast Asia, helping out a tribe of dwarves and later falling prey to a village full of amazon warriors. Hot on their trail are a group of polite Nazis who would like the spear for themselves.
I think ‘Future Hunters’ is trying to be an over the top pastiche of various action films, it has some ‘Road Warrior’ (1981) at the beginning, there’s just a touch of ‘The Terminator’ (1984) with the time travel plot (although it’s forgotten about almost instantly), and plenty of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1982) type adventure and globetrotting. I say I think it’s trying to be a pastiche, but I’m not certain. It’s either a sly straight faced comedy or completely bonkers. Judging by Santiago’s body of work (‘TNT Jackson’ 1974), ‘Equalizer 2000’ (1987), and ‘Caged Heat II: Stripped of Freedom’ (1994) to name a few), I’m leaning towards bonkers.
It’s a fast paced film that changes genres every twenty minutes so it’s rarely dull, although the jungle raid with the tribe of dwarves does feel like it drags on way too long. The plot is just short of incomprehensible. The action is passable but never great. There are plenty of scenes of Robert Patrick in his underwear, if that’s your thing.
If you ever wish you could watch four or five movies at the same time, ‘Future Hunters’ might be the one for you.