Super Mario Bros.

(Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel, USA, 1993)


Super Mario Bros. is one of those frenetic, comic-book style, multi-genre blockbusters that is more puzzling than engaging: watching it is like gazing up at a jumbo jet that has just taken off without you aboard.

Similar in this vein to Howard the Duck (1986) or The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984), the film plunges breathlessly into its very own high concept: the notion of a parallel society that has evolved rather like our own, but more messily and with dinosaurs among the citizens.

Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo try hard to infuse life into their roles as plumbers who stumble into this strange world in pursuit of teen rebel Samantha Mathis. Dennis Hopper – my hero – hams mightily as the grand villain Koopa, clearly a fond homage to Marlon Brando's similar excess in Superman.

Logically enough, for a movie adapted from a video game, the directors of Max Headroom (Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel) have been brought in to give the film a MTV-style pizzazz.

MORE game-play films: Thirteen Ghosts, The Ninth Gate, Mortal Kombat

© Adrian Martin November 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search