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
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.
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
Let me start by saying that the trailer posted here does not do justice to the film. The dialogue is clunky, read without any nuance, and the song is not part of legendary Joe Hisaishi’s wonderful score for the film, which goes from orchestral, to sitar + tabla, to 1980s synth masterfully. So, ignore the trailer.
I first saw this film in its dubbed, Americanized version called “Warriors of the Wind,” with over 20 minutes cut from the original, rented, no doubt, on VHS. The cover art for the box, below, shows gun- and lightsaber-toting characters who have nothing to do with the movie, with the main character relegated to the back corner. It wasn’t until 2006 that Disney released the full film in the west, though I’m sure I got a sneak peak through my habit of tape-trading through the 90s.
Regardless, the movie took hold of my imagination like no other. The design of the world, the creatures, the flying machines, and the characters are fantastical yet immersive. You feel the grandeur of the world, but the highly curious and compassionate princess Nausicaa also makes it intimate, with her connection to it.
In brief, 1000 years ago a global war culminated in the “Seven Days of Fire” which decimated human civilization and created the Sea of Corruption–a toxic jungle full of giant insects and deadly spores which threaten to consume the world. Nausicaa lives in a farming community in the Valley of the Wind which keeps the forest at bay. Regardless, her father, the king, is dying from spore contamination. As she tries to unlock the secrets of the toxic jungle, a flying fortress with a deadly cargo crash-lands in the Valley, involving Nausicaa and her people in a conflict between warring nations.
The movie takes enough time that you can appreciate the visuals, the sound design…you can almost smell it at times. You feel the power of the war machines and the giant god-warriors, and the awe, mystery and alien-ness of the toxic jungle and its denizens. Nausicaa has a profound capacity for empathy that connects her with any creature she finds, and which takes her enemies aback, but that empathy also gives rise to uncontrolled rage when turned by injustice and pain. The viewer identifies with her as someone who is just trying to understand the world while getting caught between cold, thoughtless assholes with their power-grab agendas. But even then this movie, through Nausicaa, brings you close to these characters so that you understand their point of view, if not their actions. And when the shit hits the fan in the last act you are with Nausicaa all the way.
The minor quibble I have with the story is the ‘bird man’ prophecy angle, which I feel is unnecessary and tacked-on. Other than that, this movie is, for my money, a perfect piece of art that is filled with heart. 10/10
Based on a manga, this movie is set about 2000 years after machines took control of a possibly-endless city. The humans are running out of food and tech, and have to venture out into the city where the AI that rules sends out “safeguard” killer robots to exterminate human infestation. A group of kids, striking out on their own against the colony’s wishes, encounter a mysterious and reticent stranger – named “Killy” of all things – who is definitely a robot. He is searching for humans with the genetic capability to control the AI, because a contagion stripped humans of that gene 2000 years ago, which seems weird. They bring the stranger back to the village and he detects another robot nearby, which he re-activates, and the village is okay with this, which seems weird. The two robots take the villagers on a journey to a factory which can create food and also a mcguffin that will save the village (in a roundabout, confusing way). Things don’t go as planned.
The cinematography and action scenes are quite compelling, but the villagers all kind of blend together since they have no distinct features to tell them apart, with the exception of the old man. That and the convoluted worldbuilding/plot make this film as confusing as its title.
Tropes: strong silent stranger; cyberspace is a floaty place your body goes to; baddies have creepy masks; food is dehydrated nutrition paste
Another Road Warrior ripoff with terrible acting, dubbing, and cheap…everything. This time from the Philippines. It’s a 3/10 from me, but if you want to watch some ridiculous post-apoc martial arts and gunplay (and very short light saber duel) start at the 53 minute mark.
Tropes: gladiatorial arena, tragic death of family, light sabers, radiation burns, masked villain with disfigurement