Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher


Half Captain America, half Tales from the Crypt, all cheesy action. When the world is threatened by the evil machinations of Dr. Mortas, it’s up to Matthew Blackheart to save humanity from an army of artificial monsters.

You freaking humans and you’re damn desire to destroy what you consider the forces of evil. Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, we all seem to be on your list of things to kill. We aren’t some kind of damn big game hunting for your amusement you know. Do you know what it’s like to be hunted everywhere you go, to be a constant target for uptight assholes with a hard on for big weapons? Well, unless you’re the dickhead writers from Lost, I doubt it. Let me tell you, it sucks; it sucks fat, swollen, hairy, diseased donkey balls. You go to a party and there they are. You go to the movies and there they are. You stop off to murder some innocent victim for your hunger and there they are. What the hell is up with that?

Our comic book romp begins with a man who looks something like a cross between Indiana Jones and Ash from Army of Darkness walking into a comic book store and immediately berating the creator of a certain comic book for making a joke out of his life. The story’s creator (Jay Baruchel) tells the man (now identified as Matthew Blackheart) to chill out and actually read it before getting so upset, and that’s exactly what this hero does. It’s here that our movie truly begins as we go back into the recent past and watch Matt stumble around New York City after being frozen for fifty years. The grumpy hero struggles to remember his past as bits and pieces flood together into his head, things he is happy to narrate for us with all the charm of Jean Claude Van Dam as Guile in the Street Fighter movie. It appears Mr. Blackheart was created in a lab from the DNA of the best soldiers the US Military had to offer with one intention in mind, to defeat the evil Dr. Mortas, a mad scientist creating an army of zombie monsters for the Nazis in World War 2. During a battle in Argentina in which Dr. Mortas’ entire complex is destroyed, Matt ends up frozen, waking 55 years later for no reason in particular (does this sound like Captain America too anyone else). As the confused Matt wanders around the city with little whispers of his life coming back to him, he finds that his archenemies Dr. Mortis is alive and kicking and worse yet, he is creating a whole new army of zombie monsters, something he needs in his quest for world domination. It’s up to Blackheart to stop the fiend from succeeding before he plunges the world into his own image of hell, and there is no way that Matt is going to let something like that happen to the good ole’ US of A.


{Personally, I’d be ecstatic to be a comic book character}

I’m still not sure what possessed me to pick up a movie with the title Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher. It’s that last bit that you would think would have tipped me off that this was going to suck, a name that literally screams corny, corny, and corny. It’s not Monster Slayer, not Monster Hunter, not even Monster Destroyer…Monster Smasher. Really guys, someone had to be asleep on the job for this one, how else could they have let that slide. Still, even with a crappy name, there is still a half decent movie underneath that won’t wow you, but will still give you an enjoyable one time watch that will make you remember those fond moments of bad comic book storylines with great characters (for my fellow undead nerds anyways).


{Apparently the face of a Monster Smasher}

I think the number one thing that the viewer will catch is how many things he or she just has to accept as fact without any reason as to why. I mean literally, within the first fifteen minutes of the movie you will start picking out things that are suddenly shoved at you with no reason as to how they came about. There are so many examples it’s ridiculous, and I can actually give you a few without ruining the story (which would be hard to do anyway) and trust me, as the story goes on, these things become more and more prominent. Here are three less than perfect moments just for your entertainment:

  1. How in the hell did Matthew Blackheart get all the way from Argentina to New York after waking up in a blown up lab that has been abandoned for 55 years…never explained.
  2. How did he wake up in the first place after being frozen for 55 years in a tube that kept him alive the whole time, but was located in a building where all power was supposed to have been destroyed…never explained. Neither is why he woke up so randomly, nor why his tube kept him frozen when the whole place blew up and shut down.
  3. How is Mortas still alive and more importantly how did the U.S. Government know so much about him during the 40’s but completely forget about him after World War 2 ended? He was one of the United States greatest enemies and someone they were terrified of, but they just forget he plans on letting an army of monsters loose on the world as soon as Mr. Blackheart disappears…never explained.

The sad thing is that these are only a few of the plot holes you just have to accept as having happened without any explanation of why. It gets worse as the movie goes on, but I don’t want to give too much away because I do hope you watch this flick since as cheesy as it is, and it is extremely cheesy, it really isn’t that bad. There are a couple of things that save this one from being a B Movie Bottom Feeder and the biggest one is the film’s hero, Matthew Blackheart.

He isn’t the greatest hero television has been graced us with, but he is still a fun character with a smart ass mouth, and yet an always polite attitude. The best way I can describe him is the thing that would come out if you magically fused Captain America (sorry, I know I’ve said it a couple times now, but there are a lot of comparisons between the two) and Ash from Army of Darkness, not the Evil Dead 2 or even Evil Dead Ash, but the Ash that rocked the third installment of the series. I personally thought it was a fun character, and the combination of the two character elements worked for me. He has a super patriotic desire to protect America, but a smart mouth that accompanies this and gives him large and often hilarious cases of “Footeritus Inus the Mouthist“. The actor portraying the character does a great job of projecting Matthew Blackheart’s moral, patriotic standing coupled with his sardonic and dirty minded nature. What’s great is that Matt isn’t the only one played by a great actor. Dr. Mortas actor Christopher Heyerdahl does a great job as well. Previously all I had seen him in was Stargate: Atlantis and a few other guests spots on various shows, something he did amazing jobs in no doubt, but I had just never seen him in anything else (still haven’t see the Twilight flicks though I noticed he seems to play a part in those), and I sure hope this isn’t the last thing I get to see him in either. I have to admit to laughing when I first saw Tropic Thunder’s Jay Baruchel (guy with the Buddy Holly glasses if you don‘t recognize the name), though even he does a good job for his part as chatty friend to Blackheart and personal (though not by choice) cab driver Jimmy. In fact all of the film’s major players are portrayed by really good actors, but unfortunately the minor players, the guys who just get beat up, do a really bad job, this was a definite weak point for the film. It made the fight scenes poor, I’m talking Power Rangers poor; it seemed that some of these actors didn’t even want to be there. All the other characters are portrayed excellently, but the film’s cannon fodder came off as very lazy and totally without emotion and it hurt the movie‘s superhero feel. This leads into the next section of this review…the comic book styling.


{The look of a Monster Smasher unsure how broken his story is}

Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher could have just as easily been a comic book; actually I think it would have worked better as a comic. The movie is actually presented almost as a graphic novel, and it keeps that feel all the way through. Mr. Blackheart could easily be the next paperback hero, and I think people would very much enjoy it, but on camera it only half works, going back and forth between overly cheesy and just cheesy enough to make you smile without bursting into hysterics. It’s a character that is easy to love and even with the other talent it was only Matthew Blackheart that kept the movie from being a complete disaster. No matter how bad it got, our hero managed to make it interesting even at the film’s worst and I can’t thank him enough for that. If they had not made Blackheart such a lovable, comedic, and yet heroic character I would have had to sit through a very bad movie that would have had me cursing low budget cinema for years to come.

The story is kind of weak thanks to the missing chunks that were left out but for a movie of this ilk, it doesn’t completely destroy it; it’s not deep, it doesn’t make sense, and it seems to have been written by a twelve year old who ate a lot of sugar before reading through both an old Weird Tales comic and a copy of The Avengers in under five minutes. Still, it works for the film; it’s definitely not going to impress anyone and it will most assuredly leave some viewers disappointed, but the movie does keep itself together just enough to let you enjoy the film’s title character who is the only glue really holding what would have otherwise been a piece of crap together anyways. The effects are in the same category as the story, bad, but redeemable to an extent. Any stunts or computerized effects are terribly done, but the makeup is good and worthy of a pat on the back, so while the effects might disappoint at least the makeup is done well enough to help you forget.


{Kind of forget anyways}

In the end, this one is going to be a tossup for horror fans no matter how you feel about low budget cheesiness. Some are going to like it, some are going to hate it, but I think all will at least get a good laugh out of it.


The Undead Review


Directed By: Erik Canuel (Being Human {TV}, Cadavers)

Starring: Robert Bogue (Guiding Light {yes, the crappy TV Soap Opera}, Old 37), Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder, Fanboys), Christopher Heyerdahl (Stargate: Atlantis {Todd the Wraith}, The Twilight Series {I know, I just threw up in my mouth a bit too}), and Karen Elkin (Dead Awake, Xchange)

Released By: Telescene Film Group Productions

Release Year: 2002

Release Type: Television Movie

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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