Imagine you’re a Hollywood studio. Let’s say you’re New World Pictures. You want to ride this wave of post-apocalyptic goodness from Mad Max, but you’re just been hit by the 1981 Writers Guild of America strike. What will you do now?
Go to New Zealand, that’s what.
Also known as Warlords of the 21st Century and Destructors in Italy, this film doesn’t really break any new ground. But it does live up to its title — it has a battletruck.
As it usually happens in thee films, Earth has been wiped out as the result of a thermonuclear war that started over fossil fuels. Now, gas is the most precious of all commodities.
The opening narration that tells us all of this is awesome. That’s because its actor Randy Powell, who also plays Judd in the movie, transmitting a ham radio broadcast in Los Angeles, California to the filmmakers back in New Zealand.
While exploring a compound once thought to be radioactive, Straker (James Wainwright, Killdozer) discovers all the diesel fuel that the world will need. But his orders to kill the owners are ignored by his daughter Corlie (Annie McEnroe, who was in Snowbeast and is married to Edward R. Pressman, who produced Christmas Evil, Conan the Barbarian and all of The Crow movies, amongst many others). On the run and lost in the desert, she meets our hero, Hunter (Michael Beck, The Warriors, Xanadu, Megaforce).
What’s up with all of the heroes after the end of the world getting names like Hunter and Stryker? I mean, I dig it, but their parents really must have all been consulting the same Refinery 29 articles about “What to name your child after the bomb drops.”
Hunter has a bad ass motorbike and lives in the walled city of Clearwater Farm, an actual democracy in the midst of all this lawlessness, but soon Colie’s father finds her and attacks. As her dad’s mercs destroy the city and torture Rusty the mechanic (John Ratzenberger in a post-nuke movie!) to learn the secret location of where Hunter really lives.
If our hero is going to defeat Straker and his battletruck, he’s going to need more than just a bike. He’s going to need an armored car of his own. Hunter doesn’t care about anything, even blowing up all of the fuel just to prove a point. Of course, he’s going to kill everyone in his path, save the girl and then take off into the desert all by himself. That’s how these movies work.
Director and co-writer Harley Cokeliss would go on to direct several episodes of Hercules and Xena, as well as Black Moon Rising and Dream Demon.
You can get this movie on a double DVD along with Deathsport from Shout! Factory. It doesn’t break much new ground, but it’s still a fun movie.