Thursday, January 6, 2011

Battletruck (1982)

One of the great things to come out of the eighties was the post-apocalyptic action film.  Great flicks such as The Road Warrior and...Well, mainly The Road Warrior delivered outlandish characters and high octane action with just a hint of commentary regarding nuclear war, assuming the filmmakers weren't too busy getting random actresses to doff their tops and reassuring stuntmen that "You can't go too over the top here, trust me!"

Battletruck, also known as Warlords of the 21st Century is a rather pedestrian entry in the genre, though even with that it does have its merits.  Released by Roger Corman's New World Pictures, it tells the story of a loner (80's flavor of the month Michael Beck) ends up having to defend a bunch of peaceful survivors (one of whom is John "Cliff Clavin" Ratzenberger)from the deranged Straker (James Wainwright) and his huge tricked out truck that's the easy highlight of the movie.

That's pretty much as deep as the story gets.  beck rides around on his motorcycle, the bad guy's daughter (Annie McEnroe of Howling II) ends up siding with the good guys and of course there is one survivor who turns on the good guy because...Well, he's just one of those characters who's disagreeable just for the sake of being a jerk.  Every movie needs one.

The action, when it comes it actually pretty good considering the budget director Harley Cokliss no doubt had to contend with and all of it involves the titular truck.  The highlight is probably when Beck jumps his bike and lands right into the roof of the damn thing.  A very impressive stunt no mater what era the film is from!

Unfortunately, the truck is about all the movie has going for it.  It's big, huge and impressive but at the end of the day it's simply a gimmick to keep the audience awake.  It's like those huge clamshell VHS boxes you'd see in the video store with some cool looking implement of destruction on the cover only to find upon watching the actual movie that it payed a rather small part in the movie.  This film doesn't do that quite as blatantly as some others but it does fit into that category.

The film is worth seeing once but be ready to forget most of it within a half hour of watching it.

Battletruck is currently available as part of Shout Factory's Roger Corman's Cult Classics line, packaged with Deathsport, a much worse but also much more entertaining movie.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.