On the Beach (1959) Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review

Barely squeaking by as a post-apocalyptic movie, as it chronicles the tail end of the apocalypse. A war has created a lethal cloud of radiation that has done in the rest of the world, and will reach our heroes in Australia in about 4 months. I think only one of the actors is Australian, and it’s not Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire or Anthony Perkins, our main cast. While our hero Commander Towers comes to terms with his family’s death, he gets involved with another woman and then is sent on a mission to investigate a strange signal from America and determine whether or not the cloud is dissipating. Strangely, the streets are devoid of the dead OR their cars. Meanwhile, the government is handing out suicide pills to all citizens, and Anthony Perkins doesn’t know how to handle her wife and new babymama, who is in denial of the whole situation.

Meanwhile, the Waltzing Matilda musical motif is overused to the point of distraction.

A bit long but very well done.

Tropes: unwanted military promotion; weak women

Toren’s Rating: 7.8/10

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Battletruck AKA Warlords of the 21st Century (1982) Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review

Merciless ex-military warlord and his goons drive a giant truck around the wasteland, terrorizing wanderers and settlers alike. The warlord’s daughter, having run away from her evil dad, hooks up with a lone wolf on a sweet motorcycle and they defend a settlement from the BATTLETRUCK.

Better than I expected, this was actually made at the same time as Road Warrior so not sure if it’s fair to say that it’s a ripoff. Though it takes place “in the near future” technology is more or less the same with the exception of some fancy grenades and the advanced console of the BATTLETRUCK. The lead actress is uncharismatic and the lone wolf only slightly better. There’s no real chemistry between anyone in the film but it’s nice to see pre-Cheers John Ratzenberger.

Tropes: damsel has sex with her rescuer; idiot toady of villain; traitor in the good guy’s camp; lone wolf hero rides into the distance because he’s got to be free, lady; vehicles explode for mysterious reasons

Toren’s Rating: 4.75/10

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Stryker (1983) Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review

In a water-scarce post apocalyptic wasteland, a young woman who holds the secret location of an endless spring, and the colony that guards it, breaks out to share it with the world. The evil forces of the warlord Kardis capture her and try to torture (and rape) the secrets out of her, until she’s rescued by a stoic, uncharismatic manly man of few words, Stryker, and his sidekick Bandit. Eventually she and amazon-inspired, pants-eschewing battle maidens lead Stryker and his brother’s clan back to the spring, where a not-so-epic showdown between Kardis and Stryker inevitably occurs.

Cirio H. Santiago relies on his usual post-apoc playbook once again, complete with gangs of sand-dwelling dwarves, a beer-bellied bodyguard goliath and unremarkable desert roads and sand dunes.

The only stand out here is a rare tactical use in film of smoke grenades.

Tropes: flashbacks; villain with hook hand; semi truck full of water; damsel falls for her rescuer; hero dragged behind car.

Toren’s rating: 2.5/10

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Road Wars (2015) Post Apocalyptic Movie Review

A viral plague has caused the apocalypse and a rag-tag group of survivors fend off nightly waves of the rabid, bloodthirsty infected, while at the same time hounded by a gang of raiders. They take in an amnesiac who helps them look for a cure for the virus and things get complicated.

This movie wants to be a lot of things but it doesn’t do any of them very well. There are the titular Mad Max style ‘road wars’ but it’s also a 28 Days Later hunt for a plague cure but it’s also a plucky family survival tale. The characters are cookie-cutter, and an incongruous mish-mash of style – some of them are tarted up like Fury Road rejects while others are just cowboys or dirty mercenary types. The set pieces are fairly decent and the cinematography is fine. The soundtrack by a California rockabilly band Peg Leg Love is par for the course.

Tropes: spiky cars; cocky villain with hat; useless child;

Toren’s rating: 3.5/10

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Existence (2012) Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review

This New Zealand film starring the lady from Eagle VS Shark drew a lot of ire from folks who were, I guess, expecting concrete answers, but I thought it was intriguing enough. The dysfunctional family are living off the land, hemmed in by a poison ocean and an electrified fence. The woman, Freya, has no strong attachment for the father of her children and is openly hostile towards his father, spending most of her time out hunting for food and probing the limits of the fence. Meanwhile, boundary riders who speak their own language patrol the fence and exterminate human ‘vermin’ on the wrong side, until one of them has his interest piqued by Freya.

Even though the electrified fence looked cheap and so did the actors interactions with it, I liked the setting, and I appreciated that the woman did not have shaved armpits. It’s the post-apocalypse after all, and we don’t care about such conventions.

Tropes: crotchety old paterfamilias; dark silent cowboy; hand-made crossbow; mystery zone

Toren’s rating: 6/10

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Molly (2017) Post Apocalyptic Movie Review

Molly, the subject of medical experiments that left her with psychokinetic powers, roams the wasteland with her sometimes-friend falcon. When the minions of an excessively theatrical ringmaster kidnap her new orphan friend in a dinosaur onesie, she makes an assault on their lair. This colorful and ambitious Dutch action movie is a bit of an endurance test, with meandering treks through repeating set pieces and overly-long oners that are valiantly attempted but leave the viewer as worn out as the combatants. There are lots of wonderfully fun and cool ideas in the film, but with a borderline cartoon tone and pulled punches, it’s kind of like watching friends play-fight. Acting choices are made with commitment, but never transcend, and bold cinematography demands your attention.

Ties into 2019’s Kill Mode by the same director (Thijs Meuwese)

Tropes: Villain with hat; keep the child safe; gladiatorial pit fights, psychic powers; falcon companion; feral subhumans; bullets as currency

Toren’s rating: 5.5/10

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Light of My Life (2019) Post Apocalyptic Movie Review

What’s the difference between ethics and morals? Eight years after a virus all but wiped out the female population, An itinerant father has to keep moving to keep his young daughter out of the sights of the dystopian world of men. Luckily they always have an escape plan.

Tropes: bedtime stories; preachy old man; code word; walking away and not answering when called.

Toren’s rating: 7/10

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Scorched Earth (2018) Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review

50 years after the plague-inducing “Cloud Fall,” Gina Carano is a pragmatic bounty hunter who decides to infiltrate a gang led by the criminal with the biggest bounty on his head. She finds herself outmatched and seeks the help of her old mentor. It’s a very Old West style setting including saloons, card games and cowboy hats. And horses of course. The currency in the land is water purification tabs and silver, which is used to make mask filters. Some fun scenes including a raid on a caravan with an armored fighting vehicle.

Better than the imdb rating indicates

Tropes: Flashback to traumatic event that relates to current events, old veteran with leg injury; dragged behind a horse; dragged behind a vehicle;

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The Day (2011) Post Apocalyptic Movie Review

Shawn Ashmore (Ice Man) and Dominic Monaghan (Merry Brandybuck) lead a group of survivors into an abandoned house to dry off and clean up, and maybe find some food. Little do they know they are marked by a gang of cannibals. Their best chance of survival is working together but one survivor’s secret tears the group apart!

Most of the movie takes place in the house, and while there are some interesting ideas and twists, the writing is awkward and trite. Characters’ motivations and allegiances flip-flop and both heroes and villains act in nonsensical ways. The army of cannibals with no ranged weapons come in small waves of 3-5 attackers that the survivors can easily repel from inside the house with their guns, and both groups make terrible tactical decisions. In typical gore-fest fashion the leader of the cannibal gang, in hopes of eating the few survivors in the house, sacrifices five times that amount of his own forces.

The film is shot in muted tones, on the edge of black and white, with rich red blood sometimes gratuitous and other times unrealistically held back. Props to the design team though, everything and everyone looks filthy and worn out. And I enjoyed the hopelessness of dwindling food and bullets. Ashley Bell is a standout as creepy loner asskicker.

Tropes: building traps and defenses montage; clan tattoo; ammunition count

Toren’s rating: 3/10

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Hostile (2017)

A scavenger in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, trapped overnight in her overturned vehicle with a dangerous man-creature roaming around, reflects upon her life choices.

I don’t usually review ‘zombie’ films, but it’s not entirely clear what the creature is, despite the fact that it seems highly resistant to injury, so I choose to believe it’s some kind of viral mutant. Regardless, without the post-apocalyptic monster angle this would be a pretty by-the-numbers tale of a rich man getting involved with a pretty heroine addict.

Tropes: trapped with a nocturnal monster; light stops working; radio stops working; twist ending

Toren’s rating: 6.5/10

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