Saturday, 11 October 2014
Warriors of the Wasteland (1983)
This a film that desperately wants to be Mad Max 2, but ends up being more Mildly Irritated Harold.
The Mel Gibson film (known as the Road Warrior in the US) came out two years before this, and the parallels are obvious. The world has been devastated, and in the post-apocalyptic wasteland left behind, a gang of leather-clad men terrorizes and kills anyone who tries to rebuild.
Unlike the Great Humungous's black clad minions, however, these are The Templars, a pseudo-religious society who believe their mission is to bring about the end of mankind and return the Earth to an un-populated state. Their plans are about to hit a snag, however. Scorpion, who was once a member of their organisation, returns to the region and thwarts them from killing a young woman. Then - with the help of the bow-wielding warrior Nadir - he fights off a Templar reprisal attack.
Why Scorpion returns to the area, given the pre-existing bad blood between him and the Templars, is something you might think the movie would explain, but it really doesn't. Revenge or heroism would seem to be obvious options, but neither is really supported by what we see. I think we're supposed to forget about it among all the vehicular mayhem and gunplay.
But alas, that's where the movie falls down. Because the gunplay sequences aren't very interesting and the vehicles ... well, despite what the film makers seem to think, sticking perspex bubbles on your car doesn't make it look cool and menacing. The visual design of the whole film is (apparently unintentionally) camp, frankly, culminating in Scorpion's clear plastic body armour:
Plot-wise, what this doesn't steal from Mad Max 2 it takes from Martial Arts Films 101. Bad guys do bad things. Good guy beats some of them up. But then boss bad guy defeats him. Good guy undergoes training montage and then gets his revenge.
Not even Fred Williamson's typically larger than life turn as Nadir can save this film (which you may also find under the title The New Barbarians) from being a snooze-fest.