Johnny Barrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Still stands as one of the most baffling and improbable movie adaptations of....anything? Knowing now that this comes to us from the creators of Max Headroom puts a lot more of this in context, with studio interference filling in the rest. Even though I find this movie fascinating, I'm not gonna pretend it's any good. The script is the main culprit, being really the barest skeleton of a plot that's put into movie length with adventure scenes and hijinks. While Leguizamo was a weird choice (Hopper I don't even know how to feel about his appropriateness), no one will argue that Hoskins was the absolute perfect choice for this role. Every guttural line he delivers is perfect and I wish his efforts were put to a better movie.
What makes this watchable and engaging is the insane, dense and completely tonally wrong production design. With the disgusting fungus draping every corner of the world, the best framing for a Mario Bros. movie would be: a gritty techno-punk world based around lizard people where the cars look like something out of Mad Max, sparks fly everywhere constantly, and there are Goombas.
Man, don't get me started on the Goomba designs. As a young lad, I was disgusted and uncomfortable around these things. However, now as an adult with a different perspective I love them to death. Everything about their design is coordinated to be bumbling and stupid, from the wee heads to the weird lips to the big overcoat. If I were to re-edit this movie we'd get 60% more Goomba screentime and possibly a spinoff where it's just clomping around and grunting at each other the whole time. So with that Goomba knowledge known, despite this movie being a ill-conceived mess I'm happy it was made just to have been made. We'll probably never see a movie like this reach theaters again, but I hope to god we do.