What the Hell Were They Thinking?!

This film’s obsession with flannel and cardboard is at an all-time, unhealthy high. Daniel Bernhardt, Travis Brooks Stewart and Robert Z’Dar star in Future War.

Future WarCast of Characters:
The Runaway – Daniel Bernhardt
Cyborg Master – Robert Z’Dar
Sister Ann – Travis Brooks Stewart
Cyborg – Kazja
Fred Burroughs – Andre Skruggs
Capt. Polaris – Ray Adash
Otis – Mel Novak

Director – Anthony Doublin
Screenplay – Dom Magwilli
Producer – Dave Eddy
Rated PG

An advanced race of cyborgs have traveled back in time and kidnapped humans to be their slavers. Then they traveled even further back to the late Jurassic period where they captured obviously animatronic-looking dinosaurs as their “trackers”. During a revolt, one of the slaves (Daniel Bernhardt) escapes back to Earth and crashes in the Pacific Ocean. Since most of his knowledge of the English language comes from what he’s read in the King James Bible, he believes Earth to be Heaven.

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth…

It’s safe to say he didn’t land in Compton.

The “Runaway” finds refuge with Sister Ann (Travis Brooks Stewart), a nun whose past involved drugs, prostitution and a severe addiction to flannel. When the dino trackers are sent out to find the Runaway, he, Sister Ann, her token black friend Fred (Andre Skruggs) and a street gang – yes, a street gang – team up to fight back against the Cyborg Master (Robert Z’Dar).

You know, me explaining the complexities of Future War’s plot does the film no justice, so it’s best if Sister Ann explains all that takes place…

“Four days ago, a fire fell from the sky and it brought a man who’d change my life forever… but also came a pack of dinosaur-like creatures, in various ages, shapes, sizes, and its masters. For all the questions I had about the heavens… all it brought was hell on Earth.”

Shapes? Rectangletops? Circledactyls? Trapezoidosaurus Rexagon?

Believe it or not, more of Sister Ann’s journal entries, those left out of the final cut of the film, were eventually discovered…

“At long last, just when I thought this extraterrestrial Jean-Claude Van Damme knockoff was too imbecilic to utter even the most simplest phrases, he finally speaks words – albeit slowly like JCVD recovering from a massive stroke – from the Good Book… the Word of God.”

“He was so honest. I explained it to him about the heavens. I was studying to become a nun, but now I’m having second thoughts. When I was younger, I ran away and I have a past that I’m not proud of. I found a church and they helped me. But just recently a friend of mine died of a drug overdose. I blame myself for her death. I don’t know. I feel so responsible.”

“Now he needs my help, but what good am I? ‘Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.’, he says. His optimism knows no bounds. If only he knew just how much a mess his ‘Heaven’ really is. Is it even worth saving? ‘Greater love hath no man than this… that a man lay down his life for his friends.‘, he says. Was there really no other books up in space for him to read? ‘And God saith unto them, be fruitful and multiply.’, he tells me. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’, I think to myself. ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’, he says once again. Where the hell is all this coming from? ‘And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.’, he says while groping my boobs. ‘Oh my God!’, I cry out loud, pushing him off me. Dammit, I forgot my rape whistle too.”

“He then reaches into his pockets and goes to pull something out. I swear he fiddled around in there a little longer than needed. The pervy grin on his face didn’t help his case any. I bet you this little simpleton act of his is just a ploy to get in my pants. He pulls out a wad of cash and hands it to me, mentioning something about being just like Mary Magdalene. Disgusted, I push the money away and remind him that part of my life is long in the past, and I’m a novice nun. That’s when he responds, rather confidently I might add, that I just got done telling him I was having second thoughts about joining the sisterhood.”


Future War really is a peculiar little film. It’s not set in the future, and can the war really be considered a war when most of the locals seem completely oblivious to what’s going on, and the so-called battle lines are drawn between a scrawny wannabe Jean-Claude Van Damme stand-in for the Village People’s construction worker, a former-whore-turned-nun-turned-crisis-of-faith-turned-nun-again and the cyborgs by day/Toby Keith roadie crew by night?

Ohhh, Robert Z’Dar! You, your chin and tacky party store cyborg outfit never cease to amaze me.

You know your film might be bad when your big “special appearance” is Mel Novak.

Don’t know who he is? Exactly my point.

This film just might have the biggest deus ex machina that I’ve ever seen. Village People JCVD, Sister Ann and token black friend Fred (Guess which one of the three dies first?) need weapons to take down the cyborgs and dinosaurs (’cause Runaway’s skills with a knife and martial arts must not be enough). None of them have any money, and last I checked, the black market isn’t into the charity business. Of course, Runaway has no money; Sister Ann became a nun and is no longer pulling tricks on the street which means her source of income’s dried up instantly; and Fred has no money ’cause he’s black.

Just kidding. He donated it all.

So how do you solve their financial situation? Well, the most obvious and logical step for writer Dom Magwilli to take is to have Sister Ann fall back into the trade and suck a couple dicks for some easy cash. Bam! Dick sucking = money = weapons. Easy as one-two-three.

Or you can have some random guy show up and give you money. A former customer of Sister Ann’s? Who the hell cares? Problem’s solved!

I can’t even begin to describe to you just how bad the production design for this film is. Forget the script; this was released in 1997, and it still looks worse than a shitty home movie from 1967. Sure, as amateur and nonsensical as the story is, it was probably written with children’s ABC fridge magnets, and riddled with atrocious spelling errors on top of that, but the script’s like the 500th thing wrong with this movie. Not even a script collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and Christopher Nolan could save this film’s appalling cheapness. How cheap exactly?

  • Cyborg outfits that look like plastic costumes you could pick up at K-Mart (you could kill two birds with one stone by getting Sister Ann a slutty nun costume).
  • To hide the fact that the big locations take place in what looks like a warehouse, director Anthony Doublin just piles the area up with cardboard boxes… lots and lots of cardboard boxes. How that’s supposed to spruce up the set, I have no idea.
  • Lots and lots and lots of cardboard boxes.
  • Sock puppets would’ve made more believable dinosaurs.
  • Seriously… there are enough cardboard boxes in this film to eradicate homelessness worldwide.
  • Unless my eyes were playing tricks on me during one scene, I swear the cameraman for the local news joint was using a camera that was pretty much a cardboard box with a lens attached to it.

This explains why customers always keep asking for cardboard boxes at work. They too are making their own Future War, and all this time I’ve been enabling those hacks.

Future War makes as much sense as a freshly painted Jackson Pollock piece left out in the pouring rain, and has the production craftsmanship of a half-assed blanket and – no surprise – cardboard box play fort constructed by a preschooler. Between the tacky religious themes that make even the lousiest Pure Flix offering seem comparable to Ben-Hur and acting stiff enough to give the entire cast chronic pain, we all better get on our knees, much like Sister Ann’s done on multiple occasions for multiple reasons, and thank God James Cameron wasn’t as high as these filmmakers were when he made The Terminator.

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