Friday, November 26, 2010

Battletruck (aka Warlords of the 21st Century) (1982)

Battletruck is another Corman produced post-apocalypse action flick that yet again delivers the goods.

This time around it is the Oil Wars of World War III that caused the world wide devastation. Gas and oil are now in extremely short supply and only available to the Government. Society has crumbled and outside of major cities there is no law. Straker (James Wainwright) is a man on a mission. He controls a small army and drives a heavily armored 18 wheeler that is more like a tank than a truck. His only goal is to steal, destroy, control and find more gas.

When Corlie (Annie McEnroe) escapes from Straker's group he sends out a group to find her. Before the group can capture her again a loner on a motorcycle named Hunter (Michael Beck) is able to scoop her up and drive her to the safety of his little compound. Hunter is self sufficient and has the knowledge to turn his chicken's waste in ethanol to fuel his bike. Shortly after arriving he takes Corlie to Clearwater, a village of a few dozen people that Hunter has a small relationship with.

While at Clearwater Corlie is voted in to be accepted into the community. Not long after Straker and his army come barreling through the outer walls, leveling everything in their way. They have no qualms with shooting anyone who speaks out against them or refuses to share information. Straker finds out that Corlie had been staying there, but made her escape before the attack.

This sets up a cat and mouse chase between Straker's army and Corlie & Hunter for the remainder of the movie culminating in a pretty entertaining chase scene between the Battletruck and Hunter in a "battlecar" and his bike.

Filmed on loaction in New Zealand on a modest budget, Battletruck doesn't exactly have epic sets. Most of the film is set in tents/huts or open fields. And on this budget, we don't get crazy special effects, though there is little need for them. There are some nice action sequences with classic explosions. The thing that surprised me most about this film is the performances, everybody does a respectable job with a good performance from Michael Buck and a spot-on performance from James Wainwright.

Will you run out and tell all of you friends about this one? Probably not. Will you be entertained? More than likely. This isn't award winning stuff, but Corman knows how to take what he has to work with and make it worthwhile or even better.


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