BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Well, how neat-o is this, B-movie lovers?! Mad Max meets lasers … in 3-D! That’s the best way to describe this low-grade attempt to cash in on one of the most epic action flicks of my youth, The Road Warrior. Directed by Empire Pictures founder Charles Band (Parasite, Trancers), his spin on the apocalyptic western, released as Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, finally gets rescued from Universal’s deplorably cropped DVD release by the well-dressed hooligans over at Scream Factory and remastered for 1080p 3-D cheesiness.
Yes, back in the early 1980s, 3-D was having a sort of revival. It was short-lived, of course, as folks got tired of pointy things being thrust at the camera but, damn, if the opening title sequences in these films weren’t heroic as hell. And Metalstorm’s opening sequence – full of reversed storm cloud footage billowing this way and that way - is fantastically realized. Against this unsettling backdrop lightning suddenly strikes and the glass screen breaks, pieces float toward you as the metallic embossed title comes together. METALSTORM!!!! Hell, yeah! Fists in the air!
The opening sequence on the desert planet of Lemuria (but really an uninteresting desert in California) features a slow moving armored-plated vehicle doing battle with a man in glider of some sort, a skyrocket to be specific. The man behind the wheel shoots piercing lasers at the camera and one of them finally hits the target, causing the alien in the glider to lose control and smash into a rock wall.
Of course, those few moments are as exciting as the b-grade picture gets. That’s what happens when your villain’s main weapon is some sort of crystal that burns you to death. This is after, of course, his largely mechanical son preps you for the process by ejaculating green slime at the camera from his arm onto your body. There are some interesting dimensional travels sprinkled throughout the flick but they go largely unexplored and happen only conveniently. And to knock a b-movie for being a b-movie is ridiculous, so let’s just groove with what we have: Mad Max beyond BEYOND the Thunderome (and slightly poorer).
But, damn, if the cast didn’t include Tim Thomerson (Trancers, Near Dark) as the cranky “finder” who assists our hero, the leather-clad Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) in his mission to save Dhyana (a young Kelly Preston) from the clutches of evil warlord Jared-Syn (Mike Preston of The Road Warrior), then I’m afraid this galactic junk-heap of a movie would be a complete waste of time. Thankfully, at a quick 86-minutes, the film is a breeze. Momentum is barely sustained by all the lo-fi 3-D effects, fight scenes, and hilariously slow vehicle “chases” through the desert, however, so BE WARNED.
Thomerson saves Metalstorm time and time again from being completely eradicated by its own stupid-seriousness and while he isn’t in the film enough, he makes a good impression on a relatively low-key cast. Even they seem relieved when he’s sharing the screen with them.
The same can be said of Richard Moll (Night Court) in his role as a Cyclopean chief named Hurok. He also wants Jared-Syn dead. Hurok and Dogen are enemies at first, but they learn to put away their differences when a battle to the death is foiled by forgiveness. He is essentially the Indian to Byron’s rugged cowboy in this updated western and the two – because that’s how cinematic friendships work – compliment each other nicely. The two actors – and their roles – would make a cameo in 1985’s The Dungeonmaster, also directed by Band, that’s how well they worked together.
As slow and as clunky as some of the stunts are, Metalstorm is still an entertaining – albeit silly – glimpse at the 3-D obsessions of our past. It’s cheesy space age shenanigans complete with horrible special effects that couldn’t, wouldn’t, and probably shouldn’t harm a flea. Fans will be delighted by Scream Factory’s handling of this b-movie.
MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime: 84 mins
Director: Charles Band
Writer: Alan J. Adler
Cast: Jeffrey Byron, Michael Preston, Tim Thomerson
Genre: Adventure | Sci-fi
Tagline: The Destruction of Jared-Syn
Memorable Movie Quote: "Then he lives. You do not."
Distributor: Almi Pictures (TV)
Release Date: August 19, 1983
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 13, 2016
Synopsis: On a desert planet, warlord Jared-Syn is trying to convince a tribe of mutants that he's their messiah and gain unlimited power hidden in a crystal. Ranger Dogen and explorer Dhyana, who's father was murdered by Syn, must stop him.
Available on Blu-ray - September 13, 2016
Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a DTS-HD MA 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Blu-ray 3D
Region Encoding: A
Presented in 2-D and in 3-D with a 2.35:1 ratio, Scream Factory corrects the aspect ratio errors Universal committed in their we-could-care-less pan-scan dump of Metalstom: The Destruction of Jared-Syn. The NEW high definition transfer is vibrant, strong, and definitely worth owning. Clothing is tight, ribbed, and full of textures. Colors are saturated and black levels are strong. Contrast is good. Grain is also strong, never dipping in quality. There’s no disappointment to be had with the visual upgrade efforts. There are two standard audio tracks - English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio tracks (this being the preferred) – but it is more than sufficient for the release.
The new retrospective attached to the release contains a lot of great information. Running about half as long as the movie, the featurette has new interviews with director/producer Charles Band, actors Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll and Tim Thomerson, screenwriter/producer Alan J. Adler, special effects artist Allan Apone, make-up artist Kenny Myers and composer Richard Band. Honestly, we don't need a commentary with this much information about the making of the movie. Good job, Scream Factory.
- High Noon at the End of the Universe (42 min)
- Promotional Still gallery
- Radio Spot
- Theatrical Trailer