With a title that sounds like a lost season of Power Rangers, Monster Force Zero follows a team of cosplayers as they unite against mythic forces. Set to a synth-heavy soundtrack, our heroes square off against Gamma Reptilians, Big Foot, and a rival cosplay squad with the personalities of every 80s teen movie villain. The film puts Nerdom front and center as a “ragtag team of outcasts, tech nerds, and sci-fi geeks” fight to save the multiverse.
A.I. (Adam Singer), Kadabra (Dalena Nguyen), and Ammo (Aeon Cruz) are struggling to get their comic book mogul dreams off the ground. The three have struck out at convention after convention. While they proudly dress up as their comic book’s characters, finding a copy of their book in the trash disheartens the trio. Fortune soon favors our down-on-their-luck heroes when they are challenged to the “scrimmage sanctum” by a rival cosplay group, the Destroyers of Destruction. As the team faces off against their nerd nemeses, they soon discover the winner of this scrimmage will gain a much higher honor than the bragging rights as the nerdiest of the nerdy: a chance to save the world.
Throughout their journey, the team meets exotic characters from across the universe and the depths of the geek underground. They partner with Yetiboots (Shale Le Page), who stands as a fun “Silent Bob” and comic relief for all the moments of pulsing sci-fi action. Beyond Yetiboots, the squad meets a host of fun characters ranging from a philosophic janitor (Pat Tanaka) to a furry cosplayer. They even encounter Garrett Wang, who has a cameo as himself/ alien expert, which he may actually be, given his time on Star Trek: Voyager.
“…the winner of this scrimmage will gain…a chance to save the world.”
Monster Force Zero is a fun nerd film, playing out largely as a love letter to geek culture itself. The music is reminiscent of classic 80s sci-fi films; the action is over-the-top, and there is an entire scene in a comic-con themed rave. From the opening credits giving a booth by booth look at a local comic-con to the ending credits coming straight out of a classic video game or anime, the film drips with nerdiness in every frame.
Despite my passion for nerd culture, I ultimately felt this was a tale of two movies. The first half of Monster Force Zero is the battle against Destroyers of Destruction, which is in a game show format to see who gets to help save the multiverse. The rest of the film is our heroes attempting to save the world by defeating aliens, laser-dinosaurs, and Bigfoot. I love both concepts; however, getting half of each felt like I was watching two films crammed into one rather than a fully cohesive story. The film does attempt to unify these arcs at the climax, but overall, I would have rather seen either an epic showdown between cosplay competitors or an enthralling adventure across time and space.
Even though the film has some trouble navigating its narratives, Monster Force Zero still stands as a fun geek-centered story. The costumes instantly transport the viewers to the booths of comic con, and the stylized action throws the audience straight into the fray of combat. Above all, the film’s soundtrack immerses viewers in the perfect mindset for an homage to all things nerdy.
"…puts Nerdom front and center..."