Arena

Aliens: 6/10

Fight Choreography: 3/10

Awesome Story Idea: 10/10

Let me tell you all a little story about a young, charismatic, pretty good-looking child (it’s not creepy if I’m talking about myself) who had a dream.  Since the early ages of thinking and wishing on a star, he wanted only one thing: to compete in an intergalactic battle royale against alien races of varying strength, size, and shape.  A simple dream, yes, but he was a simple boy, and would spend hours fantasizing about becoming the champion of the universe, fighting the powers that be and becoming a name to be feared(didn’t get outside much…socially awkward, but hey…that’s just in the “real” world…).  Imagine my surprise to find a movie that was basically my dream world brought to crappy 80’s-style movie life.  Arena, where have you been all of my life….

In case you are a little slow (or frequent a short bus…) this movie revolves around a fighting arena where aliens compete to be champion.  I couldn’t figure out if it had been 1000 years or 50 years since humans were allowed to compete (they really don’t explain it well), but it’s been a while.  One man, Steve Armstrong(low points for original name), trained his entire life to compete in the arena, but after a month of trying to enter(a whole month…wow), he gave up and become a jobless wonder on a space station.  His only dream now is to make it home to Earth, but he doesn’t really have the money or the resources to make that happen.  It’s a good thing that his friend, Shorty, has several sleazy connection that raise him enough money to buy him a ticket on the first space-plane home!

Too bad that the money came from the guy who runs the arena and most of the illegal activity in town.  In order to pay him back, Steve agrees to fight(it took some convincing, even when a fight was dropped into his lap), and his first match in the arena is underway.  He fights a thing that looks like Goro from Mortal Kombat mixed with some kind of alien grasshopper, and manages to pull out a win by knocking his opponent out of the arena 2 out of 3 times.  This starts a chain of fights, and Steve can’t stop himself from winning every single time.  As a human, he becomes a crowd favorite, and everyone can’t wait for him to take on the current champion, Horn, who works directly for Rogor, the evil guy I mentioned earlier.

I could kick that guy's ass, no problem.

Fearing his prized fighter might lose, Rogor sends in his female friend to seduce Steve and drug him before the fight.  He also rigs the “Handicapper”, a device designed to equalize each fighter’s strength, to drain Steve’s power and amp up Horn’s.  As you can imagine, the first part of the fight doesn’t go so well.  Steve manages to win the first round, but the second round lands him in a world of hurt, and soon the crowd’s enthusiasm begins to waver.  Steve’s friend, Shorty, investigates the Handicapper, and discovers that it’s been tampered with, so he just breaks the holy hell out of it and hopes for the best.  With his new-found gusto (Don’t forget your second wind!) Steve makes short work of Horn, knocking his ass out for a full 10-count and winning the championship.  It’s a proud day to be a human.

A real fun time, that’s what this was.  It really wasn’t that good of a movie (since apparently that has started to magically matter to me….hahahaha) when you compare it with some of the great sci-fi movies of the 80’s, but it was imaginative and had a special connection to my childhood.  I would love to take a shot at re-writing this script and seeing if I could do any better(or, for a challenge, seeing if I could do much worse), but I know that I’m a very lazy man(I was going to say “busy”, but too many of you know that’s not true…).  I don’t really recommend this movie unless you love the idea behind it, because that really is the only thing that carries it.

Thanks for stopping by kids, hope you have a good time watching bad movies!

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