Copyright: 1978 - New Line Cinema
Submitted by J. Villiard
Kaz Oshay - David Carradine! One of the noble Range Guides who escorts travelers across the forbidden wastelands of the war-torn future. He is forced to participate in the competition known as Deathsport. Also, his mom was a great warrior, and possibly a meteorologist.
Deneer - Female Range Guide who has apparently travelled with Oshay in the past. She is also forced to participate in Deathsport. Any time she gets naked, she gets tortured (NOTE: Yes, I considered having to sleep with David Carradine to be a form of "torture.")
Lord Zirpola - Power-hungry leader of the city-state Helix and organizer of Deathsport. He's got some serious sado-masachistic tendencies that eventually come back to haunt him.
Dr. Karl - Personal physician to Lord Zirpola, he's thrown into the Deathsport for doing his job too well. Gets vaporized.
Marcus Karl - Dr. Karl's son. He tries to break his old man out of Zirpola's prison, but fails miserably. After that, he doesn't do a whole lot to help the cause.
Ankar Moor - The ruthless head of Lord Zirpola's Statemen. He has a grudge against Kaz Oshay due to a run-in he had with Oshay's mother. Beheaded.
Tara - Little girl Range Guide who rides a white pony. She is kidnapped by mutants, so Kaz and Deneer have to rescue her.
The Statesmen - Various motorcycle-riding henchmen who serve under Ankar Moor. Most are blown up on the aforementioned motorcycles that they ride.
Glass swords can slash an armor-plated motorcycle in half.
Motorcycles tend to explode in mid-air for no good reason.
Rabbit cages are highly effective in keeping children locked up as prisoners.
Anything with orange-and-white stripes will explode upon impact (and sometimes even without impact).
Never enter your own electric torture device without turning it off first.
STUFF TO WATCH FOR
4 mins - Your boss told you NOT to engage him. Next time, you might want to listen.
11 mins - Kids, this is why you should always listen to the adults.
12 mins - Did he really just try dropkicking a steel door three times? Seriously? Nice try, Ric Flair. I don't think that's going to work.
15 mins - Wow. Way to reward a guy for just doing his job. You know, if you don't like his diagnosis, you can always just get a second opinion.
19 mins - What happened to the lighting? Are they suddenly under a heat lamp at a fast food joint?
21 mins - My grandma could tell when a thunderstorm was coming by how her knee was acting up. Does that make her "great," too?
24 mins - Nobody in this place seems to show a lot of gratitude for the other person/people who are trying to save their asses.
25 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
30 mins - This must the the Tony Robbins version of the Vulcan Mindmeld.
31 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
32 mins - Kaz totally copped a feel on Deneer while she was falling down the stairs!
39 mins - The motorcycles completely missed each other. Why the hell did they blow up?
41 mins - Come to think of it, why the hell is EVERYTHING blowing up? Where the hell are all of these explosions coming from?
44 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
45 mins - What the hell?!? It's his own torture device! Why would he do that?!? That has to be the laziest way to write a bad guy out of a movie of all time!
48 mins - There's no way they were that close to the cliff where Kaz could've made that stunt work.
54 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
58 mins - OK, I get the doctor. But why did the guy who shot him get vaporized, too?
65 mins - She couldn't get out of there? What is she? A bunny?
67 mins - Nip slip! Might wanna start wearing a bra when you're fighting mutants, Deneer.
69 mins - Dear God, Marcus! You are such a p***y!
75 mins - Obviously the reason why the acting and camera work aren't better in this movie is because they blew their entire budget on David Carradine and explosives. The pyrotechnic guys had to have put in their share of over-time on this flick.
79 mins - That was totally the head of one of those old "Rescue Annie" CPR dummies!
Kaz Oshay - "We'll fire together... one at a time."
Kaz Oshay - "Lead me astray, and I will carve you before I kill you."
Marcus Karl - "And what happens to me if you don't come back?"
Deneer - "You have a hand blaster! Use it!"
Ankar Moor - "You're not as good as your mother!"
In the toilet bowl of Hollywood's lesser movies, this is one of the bigger turds that floating around. I'll get this out of the way, right now: The special effects in this flick are pretty sad. I understand that this is the 1970's, so I'm not expecting anything on par with "Jurassic Park" or "The Avengers," but they're still pretty lame by any standards. And for as bad as the visual effects are, the sound effects are even worse. In fact, they're God awful. They sound like they stolen off of either an Atari 2600 game or an episode of "The Jetsons," and they'll annoy the living hell out of you.
Taking place "a thousand years after tomorrow" (the narrator's words; not mine) after the great "neutron wars," Kaz Oshay, Deneer, and little Tara are futuristic warriors called Range Guides. In separate attacks, Kaz and Deneer are captured by Ankar Moor. During the attack on Deneer, Tara is also taken prisoner, by a gang of mutants who live in the desert. Forget about Tara for now (the movie does). We'll deal with her much later. Kaz and Deneer are thrown into a prison and, under the orders of Lord Zirpola, will to be forced to fight in the Deathsport: a gladiator-esque tournament of tomorrow involving motorcycles, glass swords, and a whole slew of explosions. Once Kaz is imprissoned, it is made perfectly clear to us that there's bad blood between him and Ankar Moor, on account that Kaz's mother was responsible for Ankar being disgraced. Unfortunately, we are never told is exactly how or why Mamma Oshay disgraced Ankar Moor. Did she best him in battle? Was he corrupt, and she outted him to the public? Did she beat him in a dance-off? No clue! What we are told, however, is that the elder Oshay was powerful and could foretell that a "flash wind" was coming days in advance. So maybe she was a really good weatherman, and forcast rain and thunderstorms on Ankar Moor's weekend off. That's as good a guess as any as to why Ankar Moor is angry towards her. At any rate, he plans to enjoy watching Kaz die in the Deathsport.
Along the way, we meet Dr. Karl, the personal physicial to Lord Zirpola. When Zirpola starts experiencing Excederine Headaches #8 through 37 all at once, he turns to his loyal doctor who unfortunately bares him bad news: Zirpola's brain is deteriorating from radiation poisoning. Not only is Zirpola going to die, but he is also going insane in the process. Upon hearing this, Zirpola does what any good patient would do. No, he doesn't go and get a second opinion. Instead, he orders Dr. Karl arrested for treason, and has him cast into the dungeon where Kaz and Deneer are being held. The three prisoners are soon also joined by Dr. Karl's son, Marcus, who attempts to execute an incredibly poorly planned rescue of his father (he figured out how to get himself in, but obviously had no clue how he was going to get everybody out). Needless to say, it fails. All 4 people are recaptured, and it is determined that Dr. Karl and Marcus will now join the Range Guides in the Deathsport. It should be noted that this is the last attempt at heroics that we'll see from young Marcus. After this, he regresses into being little more than a whiney tag-along who Kaz and Deneer have to care for.
After Lord Zirpola has Kaz and Deneer are cruelly (and, in Deneer's case, rather eroticly) tortured, it is now time for the Deathsport!
Kaz and Deneer are thrown out in the middle of a dirtbike track, and Lord Zirpola orders them to do battle against Ankar Moor's motorcycle (ie: "death machine") riding Statesmen. The whole purpose of this competition is to show the people of Helix that the "death machines" are the most powerful weapons in existance, and that riding them will allow them to invade and conquor the nearby city-state of Triton. However, the Deathsport does anything but as Kaz and Deneer hack and slash away with glass swords that cut the Statesmen and their rides to pieces.
Two things are going to become abundantly clear to the viewers at this point. One is that they guy who created this movie obviously hated motorcycles. I mean he LOATHED them on a level completely unpresidented before this. For the rest of the movie, you will be treated to the destruction of more motorcycles than it may be humanly possible to count. If you can listen closely, you may actually hear Harley-Davidson lovers weeping bitter tears in the background. Motorcycles are thrown off of cliffs. Motorcycles are disintegrated. Motorcycles are chopped up by two people with glass swords. Motorcycles are crashed a bevy of objects, including each other. And most of all, motorcycles are blown up for absolutely no good reason, and in huge balls of fire.
And this brings me to the second thing that will be abundantly clear: For as much as he hated motorcycles, the guy who created this movie LOVED explosions. From the moment that the actual Deathsport begins, we are treated to big boom after big boon. It starts with motorcycles blowing up. Then, after the Statesmen are all wiped out, more Statesmen on motorcycles are sent out.... and they're all blown up. Plus, Zirpola flips a few buttons on a control pannel, and suddenly we have explossions occurring everywhere and blowing up everything. Even Zirpola's own prized "death machines" and the henchmen riding them. The whole scene is one big pyromaniac's wet dream. A dream that eventually comes to an end when a motorcycle explodes inside a cement culvert (CLIMAX!!!!!) and causes the forcefields to go down, allowing Kaz, Deneer, Dr. Karl and Marcus to escape. Ankar Moor, however, isn't about to let his chance at vengence towards Oshay escape him that easily. Taking a gang of Statesmen, he sets out to recapture the prisoners by any means necessary.
A quick question: Does anybody out there get motion sickness easily? If so, you might want to pause this movie and grab yourself some Dramamine. Because for as bad as the camera word has been with this movie up to this point, it is about to get a whole lot worse. We now get to experience what life is like when you're riding one of these "death machines" full throttle through the desert. And it gets nausiating. Every twist, turn, and bump at high speed is shot from the first person perspective for an extended period of time. If you went out into the desert where this movie was shot, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if you were still able to find the spots where some poor sap with a camera lost his lunch while filimg these scenes.
In the midst of all of the high-speed vomit-inducing motorcycle chasing, Dr. Karl meets his doom. Marcus is saddened by his father's loss, but can't do anything about it. Kaz reiminds him of this, and urges Marcus to press on. Also in the midst of all of this, Lord Zirpola meets his own demise. It appears that while Ankar was trying to round up the escapees, Zirpola has decided to go down to his S & M chamber of horrors and have his way with another naked female victim, much like he did with Deneer earlier. Who this woman is and why she's being tortured (other than to satisfy Zirpola's kinky fetishes) is a mystery to us. Also a mystery is why Zirpola does what he does next: With the machine still running and zapping this poor woman with jolts of electricity, Zirpola ENTERS THE F---ING TORTURE MACHINE, AND GETS ZAPPED TO DEATH, HIMSELF! That's it! The end of the war-waging city-state leader who is growing increasingly insane and operates a huge gladiator-type tournament that he forces people into comes when he accidently kills himself while torturing an unknown woman! Even if the guy was losing his mind, I can't even describe to you what an anti-climactic way this was for one of the main villians of this movie to die. It is mind-bogglingly bad, and for the life for me, I can't figure out if the writer of this movie just couldn't figure out a better way to get rid of Zirpola, or if he was just too damn lazy to come up with something better. At any rate, when the news comes in, Ankar Moor is pleased because he believes that if he recaptures Kaz Oshay, he will now be made the new head of Helix. At least he's got motivation.
The remaining members of Kaz's party press on to put time and distance between themselves and Ankar Moor's men. They have to because Kaz and Deneer need to rescue Tara. Remember Tara? She was taken by mutants back at the very beginning of the film. Sensing that Tara is alive, the group makes their way to the caves where the mutants live. There they find Tara being held captive in some rabbit cages (which make me wonder how great of a Range Guide she'll be if she can't even escape from those simple things). They free Tara, but in the process, Marcus shows his wimpy-side, again, and gets injured. Kaz has to save the young man's ass, again, because apparently Marcus can't figure out how to kick someone who's grabbing his foot while his lying down square in the face with his free leg. This guy really thought he had a chance at freeing his father from Zirpola's prison. Thank God Dr. Karl died earlier, otherwise he might have killed himself after seeing what a p***y his son has grown into.
Kaz Oshay and Deneer decide to split up. Deneer takes Marcus and Tara and heads for the nearby city-state of Triton where they will be granted asylum. Meanwhile Kaz leads Ankar's Statesmen on a wild ride through some kind of bunker.... where a LOT of explosives are being stored. Here comes the return of jerky first-person motorcycle ride scense, combined with more explosions. Some pyrotechnics company made an absolute s--tload off of this movie. Orange-and-white drums of explosive materials line the roads of this bunker. They're not stored in any special sheds or anything. They're just left out in the open. And the minute they're hit by someone on a motorcycle, they erupt int massive all-consuming fireballs. Eventually, the entire bunker is destroyed in a gigantic blast, killing of most of the remaining Statesmen (and, of course, taking their motorcycles with them).
Ankar Moor watches in sorrow as Deneer's group reaches the safety of Triton. With that, he dismisses his remaining troop (there's only one left, I guess), and turns to fight Kaz Oshay in a one-on-one sword duel to the death. The people of Triton watch from their safety as Kaz and Ankar finally do battle. And finally, Kaz manages to behead Ankar, thus not only bringing an end to Ankar's quest for vengence, but also mercifully bringing an end to this wretched movie.
And with that, I need to clear my mind with a couple of beers and maybe a trip to the local Harley shop to pay hommage to the many bikes that gave their lives in this monument to the detrement of good film.