Yep, there's actually a movie called Transmorphers, and it slides into "select" video stores just in time for the theatrical release of Transformers. Some call it copy-catting at its most shameless, some opt to call it fortuitous timing ... and most people will never even hear of Transmorphers, aside from the hardcore movie geeks and the curious 14-year-olds of the world. Produced by the outfit that gave you The Da Vinci Treasure, Pirates of Treasure Island and Snakes on a Train, Leigh Scott's low-low-budget Transmorphers is (of course) unquestionably, obviously and in all ways blatantly BAD ... but here's the key question: Is it any fun?

Everyone has several different definitions of "fun" and one of mine is this: A cheap knock-off turkey that mixes the giant robots of Transformers, the sexual politics (and uniforms) of Starship Troopers, the hero of Pitch Black, the subterranean existence of The Matrix, the post-apocalyptic struggle of The Terminator, a whole bunch of arbitrary emo angst borrowed from Battlestar Galactica, and about fifteen other components from sci-fi flicks as varied as Serenity and Jason X. It's a weird and grungy little concoction, but between the florid bouts of soap opera whatnot and the special effects that fondly remind one of Land of the Lost -- there's definitely enough here to warrant an 83-minute visit, but (seriously) only if you're well-versed in the art of bad cinema. There's enough bad acting, ripe writing and chintzy production design to fill three Uwe Boll movies, but like the works of that particular master, there's something brain-twistingly amusing about the whole goofy affair. Here's what I could make out, plot-wise: Several decades after Earth has been overrun by giant robots, a small faction of thirty-somethings decide they're going to fight back. (Seriously, the oldest person in this movie is about 34.) We have the no-nonsense General who looks exactly like a Gap clerk, the recently-unfrozen mega-soldier who comes complete with Irish accent and a sidekick called Itchy, a bunch of lesbian fighter pilots, a nerdy scientist with a plan, and a sex-doll robot sidekick who wields a mean blaster. Together they hatch an elaborate (and exposition-heavy) scheme: Climb back onto Earth's surface, plant some thingy in a robot's mid-section, and infect the whole damn bunch with some sort of ID4 virus.

Writer / director Leigh Scott does all he can to fill the non-action bits with something approximating character development, but the filler material is entirely sabotaged by lame writing and numerous acting performances that border on the atrocious. (Again, I'll repeat: It's still kinda fun to watch, though.) Why the females are called "sir," why lesbianism seems to have run rampant in a society that would desperately need babies, why the giant robots want our planet and seem to "transmorph" only from multi-gunned robots into giant single-gunned tanks ... these things are never explained. We do, however, get a two-on-two hottie cat-fight in which a quartet of self-proclaimed "aviatresses" knock the holy hell out of each other before the strongest one ends the battle by muttering "I would give my life for any of you pieces of shit in this room!" Yeah, it's that kind of movie.

But hey, if you've just GOT to slap together a Transformers knock-off and get it onto video shelves just in time to catch some of that free buzz, you could definitely make a worse flick than Transmorphers. For all its limited means, stolen ideas and painfully obvious deficiencies, the thing still delivers some good fun for a 2-dollar rental: Pulpy dialog delivered by miscast, unprepared actors; a non-stop barrage of sci-fi concepts you know and love; and special effects that range from "Hey, nice try" to "Oh, man. Ha."

But make no mistake: It's crap.
categories Dvds, Cinematical