Desert Warrior (1988)

Desert_Warrior_(1988)‘You and Cortaz will get married so we can have some children who are not contaminated.’

After World War 3, what remains of the Earth is a devastated wasteland, poisoned by radiation. Some scientists have managed to remain unaffected in an underground complex, but the impulsive daughter of one of their leaders becomes a prize fought over by warring tribes out in the wilderness…

A one-eyed Lou Ferrigno saves the world on his motorised tricycle! Yes, it’s the original Incredible Hulk himself flexing his pecs whilst teams of stunt men dive off cliffs and smoke bombs go bang. This Italian cheapie wants so badly to be ‘Mad Max’ but is doomed to fail, not least because the production only has about half a dozen cars, and none of them seem capable of doing much more than 30 miles an hour.

Ferrigno is Zerak, who fights a nasty, oriental man in a tatty, cut-price Thunderdome on behalf of his tribal chief, whose actually more interested in finding an uncontaminated woman to knock boots with. Just for procreative purposes, of course. After all, the future of the human race is at stake, ain’t it? And things are looking up when spoilt blonde Shari Shattuck and her boyfriend quit the scientists lair to travel across ‘The Zone’ (just some desert really – oh, and a quarry!) We don’t really know why she makes him take her on this trip, and he is killed almost at once, but she’s the heroine so let’s just forget about it. It doesn’t matter. Taken prisoner by bandits, she’s rescued by Ferrigno, who sports a nifty eye patch and not much else. The electricity between them leaps off the screen immediately. Well, let’s pretend it does, anyway. In reality, they look at each other a little bit.

Desert Warrior (1988)

Bom To Be Mild

At Science Central, her father petitions the ruling council for a rescue, but they’re not keen. In fact, they make one lame-brained decision after another. The Security Chief has ‘Stupid Generic Villain’ stamped on his forehead and everyone looks like an ice cream man because they all wear white (they’re not contaminated, see?) Next door in ‘The Zone’, lots of smoke bombs go off, and stunt men jump off hidden trampolines and get machine gunned. To a pounding synthesiser score, of course.

Films like this stand or fall on their action scenes, but these are unimaginatively staged and very repetitive. Ferrigno doesn’t bring a lot of presence to the leading role, and Shattuck is an unsympathetic partner. The plot disintegrates over the last half hour into total stupidity, as the chief scientist discovers a treatment for radiation poisoning which he tries out on Ferrigno. This consists of using some kind of hand-vacuum to suck all the gunk off his face. Will it work? Will everyone realise they should be working to together to rebuild the world as brothers, after an ‘inspiring’ speech by our hero? Or will the camera pan slowly across a field of broken corpses because ‘we never learn’? Will Ferrigno and Shattuck walk off into the sunset together for a really, really long time? Or will we be left to contemplate the futility of existence and the inevitability of mankind’s coming oblivion? I couldn’t possibly comment.

This is really quite feeble stuff; a few familiar ingredients thrown hurriedly together to create a dull, generic ‘entertainment’ that trades on the name and reputation of its star without making much of an effort to do anything else.

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