Desert Warrior (1988)

Oh, hell no. Not more Def-Con 4 graphic art fuckery.

A dilapidated bridge. A decaying skyscraper. An eye patch. Armored motorcycle-knights. Mad Max spiked-adorned cars with blowers. Luigi Cozzi-spaceships. Post-nuclear action with Sergio Martino-vibes. Yeah, I won’t be confusing this with Enzo G. Castellari’s The Desert Warrior (1984, AKA Tuareg: The Desert Warrior). No wait . . . I did, actually . . . and I watched it anyway.

(“Poop, poop, poop, poop, I love you,” Sing it, Tina. Bob’s Burgers rules!)

Times were obviously tough for ex-Hulks “two decades after the Third World War” when the world is a twisted jambalaya-tapeworm with Drones, Tyrogs, Zendos, Sterraz Amazonian Women, and Scavengers all bumbling about the Philippine wastelands in this way-too-late entry in the Mad Max rip-off sweepstakes. Lou Ferrigno (who went from this . . . to the CBS Network comedy King of Queensin a clever parody of himself; an acting turn as respect-giving as Jean-Claude Van Damme’s turn in JCVD) stars as Zerak, a gay-leather Snake Plissken-baddy who scours the wastelands for the genre’s obligatory-uncontaminated females. His boss, the obligatory-horny fat slob, Lord Baktar of the Tyrogs (Hey, that’s Kragg! Canux-actor Kenneth Peerless from 1988’s The Sisterhood), wants to make babies à la George “Big Ape” Eastman in After the Fall of New York because . . . well, you know, the only way to save a post-apoc world is by rape. (Why is male sperm always potent in the post-apoc epoch and females are the ones with the bad plumbing? Oh, that’s right: fallout turns men into chauvinistic dicks.)

Anyway, Racela (Shari Shattuck), the bitchy “Princess Leia” daughter of Cortaz (Anthony East, Lord Jar of The Sisterhood!!) and the niece/granddaughter of the bloated, sash-adorned President Antarius of the techno-advanced Drones (Mike Cohen of 1985’s Warriors of the Apocalypse!), is out for a romantic, wasteland drive in a Logan’s Run-cum-super mutant Hot Wheels buggy (complete with vacuum cleaner-SFX engines). So Racela has a tiff with her boyfriend, jumps out, and gets captured by the desert-bandit Zendos for breeding. You know how it goes in the post-apoc Philippines: Zendonians aren’t having any luck raping the female Sterrazs, and the Tyrogs are sterile skank hoes no one wantsnot even The Humongous. Not even the bald Urak dude from After the Fall of New York who gets his eyes gouged-out by a robot claw.

Anyway, love blooms when Zerak the Tyrog rescues Racela the Drone and they become the resident spaghetti western Moses and Zipporah tearin’ up the Exodus sands with a Star Wars (I mean, Star Crash) laser battle assault on the Drones’ fortress—after the usual low-budget/no-budget and off-screen yakity-yak nuclear holocaust. (Oh, no . . . RED ALERT . . . TEXT SCROLL plot-set up . . . lazy-writing warning . . . and, depending on what bogus-title version you see: voice-over narration to back up that text.) Oh, and get this: Zerak and Baktar close this epic with a friggin’ hug: A HUG, and Zerak and Racela stroll into the post-apoc sunset accompanied by the synth-pop ditty, “Love Will Find a Way.” (Dear Lord, we don’t need another hero!)

If you’re looking for something with no holocaust and no acting, with the same ‘ol apoc-props, not-special effects, sets, costumes, and action (Apoc-déjà vu: I swear this film is recycling footage from Cirio H. Santiago’s Filipino films, i.e., Stryker, Wheels of Fire, and The Sisterhood) lacking in plot or point: this is your movie.

If you’re cool with the fact that the bridge and skyscraper, the Mad Max cars, and the spaceships never show up—and you’re okay with a couple of ‘70s-era jeeps with machine guns: this is your movie.

If you find excitement with Star Crash laser blasts, a kiddie thunderdome match, a low-rent Humongous, recycled Roman galea/centurion helmets, Darth Vader warriors, white-clad “New Confederacy” penis soldiers from After the Fall of New York, and an appearance by the TOMY Omnibot 2000 doubling for R2D2: this movie is for you.

The Def-Con 5 caveat: That drippy Drones-mobile takes me back to those Hot Wheels with glass domes (Hairy Hauler, Silhouette, Splittin’ Image) and those ‘70s-era model kit cars and cycles (Monogram’s Cherry Bomb, Revell’s Beatnik Bandit, and the bright-green airfoil “Dragonfly” chopper-trike I can’t track down). I wish that old AMT Interplanetary UFO Mystery Ship, AKA “The Leif Erickson,” made an appearance to make up for the Def-Fuck we got on the spaceship cover tease.

The Def-Con 4 caveat: Filipino apoc-king Cirio H. Santiago did not make this movie. But how we wish pasta-apoc guru Enzo G. Castellari did, so we had some Trash.

The Def-Con 3 caveat: Beware of those bogus alternate titles: Sand Wars (Are you kidding me, Mr. Distributor?), Nuclear War and Kill Count with new artwork (more friggin’ skyscrapers?)—and all references to the country and year of origin removed—so as to dupe, you, the responsible post-apoc buyer, into thinking you’ve discovered some new, lost apoc-poo.

The Def-Con 2 caveat: Turns out that “nobody” director, Jim Goldman, is really a “somebody.” Duck and cover.

The Def-Con 1 caveat: The saga of these contaminated, inert desert bozos is only for the most non-discriminating, post-apoc VHS packrat storing their copies of Future Force and Robot Holocaust in a 50-megaton proof bunker amongst their David Prior and Tim Kincaid Def-Fucked ineptitudes. While you don’t want to, as B&S Movies’ proprietor Sam would say, give Jim Goldman a “David Prior-kick in the dick,” you will want to give Goldman a solid “Tim Kincaid-broadsword thrust into the brain,” so as to spare us video fringe survivors a sequel.

And thank Lord Humungous . . . there wasn’t one. No need to flush the bombers, General Jack Beringer. The video fringe is safe. If we can make it through this celluloid compost, we’ll be able to deal with Wez—no trouble at all. Plus, Jim Goldman never produced or directed another film and screenwriter Bob Davies never wrote another film.

Boom! You’ve been consumed by the mushroom cloud. Learn your Def-Con numbers.

Jim Goldman, AKA John Gale, is Filipina Jun Gallardo gone incognito who, after Bruce Lee’s untimely death, took the 100-odd hours of footage from Bruce’s unfinished final film and “directed” Golden Harvest Studios’ bogus 1974, first version of The Game of Death. Across his 54 credits, Gallardo flushed/dumped the VHS RamboCommando cheese-clones that we love: The Firebird Conspiracy (1984), Commando Invasion (1986), and the BIG KAHUNAS: the Linda Blair-starring SFX Retaliator (1987), and the Shannon “Ms. Gene Simmons” Tweed and Reb Brown (Yor!, Space Mutiny!) non-war epic, The Firing Line (1988). (The Filipina nom de plume of Bob Davies is anyone’s guess. For when you script something this epic, there’s no way you wrote just one.)

At least the Jun Gallardo-connection didn’t kill the career of ex-MTV video babe Shari Shattuck (38 Special’s “Caught Up in You”; Sam, is that you chuggin’ the Bud at the 00:19 mark?), who we LOVE around here at B&S Movies. (Oh, man, I got the VHS shakes!) Amid her 50-plus U.S television and film credits: Shari starred in our FAVORITE piece-o-George Kennedy-fecal matter, the crazy cat movie, The Uninvited, the warped, how-did-it-ever-get-made movie with the asparagus-sex scene, Death Spa (1987), and the Don “The Dragon” Wilson’s wooden Steven Segal-rip, Out for Blood (1992; how have you not reviewed that one, Sam?). She eventually went “legit” with Jack Smight’s (Midway, Damnation Alley) genre-too-late Beverly Hills Cop/48 Hours-rip, Number One with a Bullet (1987), and Steven Seagal’s directorial debut, On Deadly Ground (1994; Shari’s scene/clip). You can catch up with Shari in this interview regarding her most recent film and top-billed role (hopefully, not her last), Scream at the Devil (2015; trailer).

May The Humungous be to your backs and may the radiated sands rise to meet your feet as you watch the full movie on You Tube. All praise Lord Baktar!

You can catch up on the wide array of post-apocalyptic adventures with B&S Movies’ “Atomic Dust Bins” Part 1 and Part 2 featuring 20 mini-reviews of movies you never heard of, along with a “hit list” featuring all of the apoc-flicks we watched for September 2019’s Apoc Month.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.

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