Believe it or not, today’s movie could be considered a momentous event, albeit one of a dubious nature. See, today’s movie is honestly the first movie based on a video game, which means it is the founding father of all the awful renditions we have endured for the past 24 years. Now I know some of you might be thinking, “What about Tron?” Well to be fair, that was a game based on a movie but I will delve more onto that subject next year when I review that movie. Anyways, if it wasn’t for Super Mario Bros., we wouldn’t have had such “wonderful” movies like Double Dragon, Street Fighter, or Doom to grace the big screen so let’s all give the appropriate thanks for that.
The plot: 65 million years ago, a meteorite struck the Earth, causing a parallel universe to be created; one where dinosaurs evolved into humanoid creatures. In the present day, a woman drops off a mysterious container at a church before heading back down into the sewers. As she makes her way through the tunnels, she encounters King Koopa, who asks her where the rock is but the woman causes a cave-in, killing herself while trapping Koopa on the other side. Years later, Mario Mario and his brother Luigi Mario, two struggling Brooklyn plumbers, are heading out to a job but are beat out by the plumbing company owned by Anthony Scapelli. Meanwhile, a Scapelli construction company is being held up from working on their project by a court order, granting a university access to the site when dinosaur bones were discovered there. Scapelli visits the site and speaks with Daisy, the student in charge of the dig, and makes veiled threats that she better be finished by the end of the day, commenting on the rash of disappearing girls and saying she could be next. Daisy goes looking for a phone so she can call the university to get more security for the site, unaware that she is being followed by two men, Iggy and Spike. Daisy finds Luigi on a pay phone, who is love struck by Daisy and hands her the phone and a quarter to use. After her call, she thanks Luigi, who offers her a ride and she accepts and they drive her back to the dig site, with Luigi inviting her to dinner after they get there. Daisy accepts and goes to dinner with Luigi, Mario, and Mario’s girlfriend Daniella, where Daisy and Luigi grow closer after learning that Daisy is an orphan and Luigi’s parents died so he was raised by Mario. After dinner, Mario takes Daniella home but when he leaves, Iggy and Spike kidnap her, thinking she is Daisy. Meanwhile, Daisy invites Luigi to the dig site to see the fossils they uncovered when they see two of Scapelli’s men breaking a water main to sabotage the dig site. Luigi heads home to get Mario and the two work on fixing the pipe but once they are done, Iggy and Spike knock them out and grab Daisy. When they come too, Luigi and Mario go looking for Daisy and see her being dragged into a wall of rock. Luigi manages to grab her necklace and follows after her, with Mario accidentally following after him. The two end up in the parallel dimension and see Daisy getting carried away but are unable to follow her. Meanwhile, King Koopa learns that Iggy and Spike captured Daisy but when he hears that the Marios have the necklace, he issues a reward for their capture. Mario and Luigi are about to get mugged but are saved by a woman named Bertha, who takes the necklace and uses a pair of stompers to jump to the other side of the road and walks away. As the dejected brothers try to figure out their next move, a street musician named Toad tries to cheer them up but he ends up being arrested and when the cop notices that Mario and Luigi are plumbers, they end up being arrested as well. The Marios are taken to the police station and Koopa, pretending to be their lawyer, asks them about the rock and when they refuse to tell him about it, Koopa decides to have them devolved. He takes them to a the devolution chamber, where they witness Toad being devolved into a goomba but when it is their turn, Mario and Luigi manage to attack their guards and trap Koopa in the chair, where he is temporarily subjected to the devolution process. As Mario and Luigi make their way out of the police station, Luigi notices the fungus appears to be trying to give him something but Mario pulls him away before he can grab it. The two steal a police car and make their way out of the city through the tunnels but when they exit the tunnel, they almost crash off a cliff but are saved by the fungus that had ensnared the car. Back at Koopa’s tower, Daisy is in the holding cell with Daniella and the other kidnapped girls when Lena, Koopa’s assistant, takes her and explains that Daisy came from their world and her father was the king before Koopa devolved him and took over. Koopa takes Iggy and Spike to the devolution chamber and has them evolved to make them smarter, then sends them out to find Mario and Luigi. Iggy and Spike locate Mario and Luigi but the Marios capture them and ask them about Daisy and the rock. Iggy and Spike explain that the rock was a portion of the meteorite that separated the two worlds and once it is joined with the meteorite, the two worlds will merge. Mario and Luigi explain that the rock was stolen and Iggy and Spike says they know where Bertha can be found. The 4 manage to sneak back into Koopa City and head to the club, where Mario is able to get the rock from Bertha. Lena and some goombas arrive at the club to arrest them and Lena manages to get the rock but the Marios escape with Bertha’s help. As they make their way through the city, Luigi spots another object in the fungus and grabs it this time. The two head into Koopa tower, where they turn off the heat to the building in order to freeze up the goombas. Meanwhile, Daisy befriends Yoshi, the royal pet dinosaur, and the goombafied Toad when Lena, upset that Koopa is casting her aside, tries to kill her but Yoshi saves Daisy but gets stabbed in the process. As Daisy runs, she encounters Iggy and Spike and they take her to see her father, who has been devolved into the fungus that has been spreading across the city. Daisy locates the Marios and directs them to her, where she introduces them to her father, then tells Mario about Daniella and the other girls so he heads out to rescue them. Koopa learns that Daisy and Luigi are in the King’s chamber and that Lena has apparently betrayed him so he orders her arrest and heads down to capture Luigi and Daisy. Mario reaches the girls and knocks out their guard, then they use a mattress to make their escape through the air ducts, dealing with the goombas that were following them. Their mattress bursts out of the air ducts into the city, where it crashes into the goombas escorting Daisy and Luigi. As Daisy and Luigi go check on them, Koopa prepares to shoot them but Mario uses a stomper boot to knock him off the rail and into a metal bin. Mario goes after him and causes him to drop the rock, which Lena grabs and heads into the tunnels. Luigi, Daisy, and the girls go after her while Mario continues to face off against Koopa. When he pulls out the object Luigi grabbed, Koopa and all the other people recognize it as a Bob-omb and react in fear. Mario activates it and sends it after Koopa but it ends up falling when part of the walkway crumbles and Koopa smiles as he prepares to kill Mario. In the tunnels, Daisy and Luigi send the girls through the portal while Lena places the rock into the meteorite but the forces from the meteorite propel her into the wall with enough force to skeletonize her. Daisy realizes why Koopa needed her and asks Luigi to help her get the rock from the meteorite. Meanwhile, Koopa, Mario, and some goombas are transported to Earth and watch as some of Brooklyn’s buildings merge with Koopa’s world. Koopa tries to use a devolution gun on Mario but misses and changes Scapelli into a chimpanzee. He attempts to attack Mario but Mario uses a mushroom to block it and then uses it to disarm Koopa. Daisy and Luigi remove the rock, causing the worlds to separate again and Mario, Koopa, and the goombas are taken back to Koopa’s world. Luigi and Daisy encounter Toad, who hands them some devolution guns, and then Bertha hands him some stomper boots, which he uses to get to Mario. The two brothers use the devolution guns to attack Koopa, just as the Bob-omb, which had continued moving, makes it underneath the walkway and explodes, sending Koopa back into the container. He emerges transformed as a dinosaur but the Marios continue firing the guns at him, devolving him into primordial ooze. The people cheer at Koopa being dead and the king is transformed back into his human form. Daisy escorts Mario and Luigi back to the meteorite and uses the rock to open the portal and allow them to head home but tells Luigi that she can’t go back and the two kiss before Mario and Luigi head back home. Three weeks later, Mario, Daniella, and Luigi are preparing to eat dinner when Daisy shows up saying she needs their help and Mario quickly grabs his and Luigi’s tool belts as they get ready to help her.
Super Mario Bros. was heavily panned by the critics, holding a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty.” John Leguizamo has stated that both he and Bob Hoskins hated working on the film and knew it would turn out bad but made the best of it. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $20.9 million off of a $48 million budget.
Yeh, this is not a good movie in the slightest sense of the word but it does have a couple of entertaining moments. The acting was ok, with Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo doing decent jobs in their roles. I also liked Samantha Mathis (Daisy) but thought Dennis Hopper made for a pretty lousy Koopa. The story was a real mess, as it honestly couldn’t seem to figure out what kind of movie it wanted to be; a family friendly one or a more serious, adult movie. I think this was probably the biggest fault with the movie as if they had stuck with one format over the other, it could have made for a better movie. The special effects were ok but I felt that they could have been better, though I did think it was funny that the devolution guns were really just painted up Super Scopes for the Super Nintendo. A trend setting theme for Hollywood but unfortunately, the trend pretty much kept going down hill.
Rating: 2 out of 5