Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)

Starring Jeffrey Byron, Michael Preston, Tim Thomerson, Kelly Preston, Richard Moll, R. David Smith, Larry Pennell, Marty Zagon, Mickey Fox, William Jones, Winston Jones

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High. With a name like “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn”, it has to be good.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


Pitch your tent and start your fires, it’s about to get campy! Coming off the high-brow 3D horror flick Parasite, Charles Band, never one to rest on his laurels, set out to create another 3D epic for the ages. This time he set his sights on the science fiction genre, specifically Mad Max and Star Wars (Technically, I don’t classify Star Wars as science fiction, but that doesn’t matter for this review). The result is the ultra-camp, ultra-fun Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, and it’s one hell of a film.

Summarizing the plot in any depth would require a re-watch as its intricacies aren’t something I was able to keep up with on the first go-round, but the gist is this: Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) is a space ranger hunting the evil Jared-Syn. Along the way he runs into a girl whose father was just murdered by Jared-Syn. They team up and set out on the adventure of a lifetime amid the arid wastes of some post-apocalyptic planet. That’s the overall, but to look at it in such a way belittles the power of the movie. Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn isn’t about “Plot Point A” leading into “Plot Point B.” It’s about an alien with a retractable claw-hand that shoots out green hallucinogenic acid. It’s about Dogen hooking up with the Han Solo-esque Rhodes (Tim Thomerson) in a seedy alien bar in the desert (nothing familiar about that one). It’s about fucking awesome car chases with vehicles crudely fashioned from scrap metal and old VW parts. The awesome literally never stops in this film, so I frankly could not care less if it all makes sense. It’s a popcorn movie that succeeds handily, and if that’s what Band set out to make, then it should be applauded. Do purely fun goals make a film any less worthy of praise than one with more artistic goals? Not on your sai-wielding cyclops’s life. (Yes, there are a bunch of cyclopes in this too, see what I mean? Nothing but awesome.)

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Ragewar (1985)

Ragewar (1985)
AKA Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate, The Dungeonmaster

Starring Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll, Leslie Wing, Phil Fondacaro, Anthony T. Genova III, Lonnie Hashimoto, Michael Steve Jones, Peter Kent, Paul Pape, Randy Popplewell, Felix Silla, W.A.S.P.

Directed by Dave Allen, Charles Band, John Carl Buechler, Steven Ford, Peter Manoogian, Ted Nicolaou, Rosemarie Turko

Expectations: High. With a title like Ragewar, it’s hard not to have high hopes.

On the general scale:
threestar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Did you ever wear an NES Power Glove when you were a kid and pretend you were pushing buttons on it, affecting the real world? Me too, and boy have I got a movie for you!

The film opens with a short dream sequence in which our hero finds himself slowly chasing after a woman in a red dress. He follows her into a room where she has disrobed and lies on a spotlighted bed. He goes in for a kiss, but shortly after, a bunch of Tusken Raider-like mutants bust through the door, punch him out and take the girl! This has no real bearing on the main story but it sets up the film nicely. Upon US release this scene was removed in order to secure a PG-13 rating and the title was changed to The Dungeonmaster to capitalize on the success of Dungeons and Dragons, despite having zero relation to the classic pen-and-paper RPG.

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