Rough to watch. Canada, our well-mannered neighbors to the north, has given us so many comedy greats over the years. The Kids in the Hall, Trailer park boys, and of course Scott Pilgrim vs. the world. Unfortunately, The Psyborgs cannot be counted among them.
In the distant future of 2004, a small group of psychic/cybernetic vigilantes is all that stands between the galaxy and the machinations of the evil General Blight and his army known as T.O.X.I.N. Blight wants to send tainted sugar out into the world that will nullify The Psyborgs powers and allow him to defeat them finally. Armed with only their gut, their wits, their guts, and overwhelmingly powerful psychic abilities, The Psyborgs (John Carbon, Deutsch, Ricky Blaze, Frank Bladecop, and Rolling Thunder) protect the people of Championopolos and beyond.
“…a small group of psychic/cybernetic vigilantes is all that stands between the galaxy and the machinations of the evil General Blight…”
The Psyborgs seems to be a parody of early 80’s kid’s shows (making fun of the ’80s is so in) but doesn’t really understand how to construct a joke or tell a funny story. Unlike other examples of 80’s nostalgia-driven genre fiction (the FP, Turbokid, Hobo with a shotgun) they seem to take the wrong lessons from the source material. Instead of trying to tell a funny story, they are copying things they saw and thought were funny like bad acting. Or an actor rips off his shirt to reveal that he’s not all that toned. Or an expert “swordsman” who has bad fight choreography. And of course, shitty special effects. The core of the humor seems to be in mocking the source material, pointing out its flaws rather than trying to construct a good joke. Which might work well in a sketch, but isn’t enough to sustain a whole movie.
It isn’t all bleak. The Psyborgs has one or two moments of real wisdom. When our heroes ask Rolling Thunder why she has rainbows on her van, she replies, “Because rainbows are sick.” So true. Rainbows are indeed sick. So very sick, indeed.
“…David Hiatt understands how to frame a scene, and does a credible job in recreating the look of an 80’s kids adventure show…”
All that being said, the camera work in The Psyborgs isn’t bad. Director David Hiatt understands how to frame a scene and does a credible job of recreating that distinctive look of an 80’s kid’s adventure show. And there is an undeniable sense of fun that you get in watching it. But while it might seem as if everyone making the film was having a wonderful time, that feeling doesn’t transfer to the viewer.
But maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not in the right frame of mind. Maybe if I was drunk, and it was 2 am, and I had some friends over to watch this, I might be able to get into it. Let’s put it to the test.
(8 hours, 3 beers, and 1 whiskey later)
Ooh my god, what am I watching? Pfft
(12 hours, 2 Ibuprofen, and a coconut water later)
Well, that didn’t work out great.
The Psyborgs feels like a long-form improv piece that got out of hand, and someone decided to film it. In the end, all they’ve really succeeded in doing is creating one of the greatest movie posters of all time. It is an ill-conceived mess that I can not recommend. Please give this one a miss.
The Psyborgs (2019) Directed by David Hiatt. Written by Branden Brickner, Nick Haywood, and David Hiatt. Starring Patrick J. MacEachern, Troy Cooper, Darryl M. Jordan, Dallas Shaw, and Emma Houghton
3 out of 10 psychic blasts