Roger Corman, as a cost-saving measure — and in order to pad out the running time of short movies — would often cleverly edit pieces of previous films into current productions. Why film a new explosion, after all, when an old one will do? If one watches many New Horizons films in a stretch, a keen eye will recognize a lot of reused stock footage and VFX.
I mention all this as a matter of full disclosure. As someone who (sort of) worked on “When Eagles Strike,” I am somewhat involved with the production of “Virtually Heroes,” a.k.a. “Virtual Warriors,” a 2013 Mark Hamill film, directed by G.J. Echternkamp. “Virtually Heroes” was made by New Horizons back in 2013, and makes use of footage from “When Eagles Strike,” as well as a few 1980s Corman-produced films like the three “Eye of the Eagle” movies and 1988’s “Saigon Commandos.” The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and, for undisclosed reasons, was never released to the public. One might think Hamill’s star power would be enough to keep it out of cold storage, but it has remained on the shelf for a decade.
According to IGN, on January 17, “Virtually Heroes” will be released digitally by Screen Media. The time has finally come. Although the time for what, I hesitate to guess. “Virtually Heroes,” like “Tron,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” or “Free Guy,” is set inside the virtual world of a video game, and the game’s hero (Robert Baker), a “Call of Duty”-like soldier, is tired of the grind. When kills people, his score appears over their heads. Disputes are settled with “Guitar Hero” tourneys. Enemies have health bars. He laments that he dies constantly.