Raiders of the Sun (1992)

Raiders of the Sun DVD CoverAfter the end of the civilized world, the survivors must start a new way of life! A way of life that involves driving cars with spikes welded on them! A way of life that sees them dressed in black shoulder pads and football helmets! A way of life that forces them to conduct almost all their action inside an abandoned quarry! And most frightening of all, a way of life where the midget population positively explodes!

And into this nightmarish way of life rides one man astride his chopper, ready to brawl with evildoers and romance native gals with access to a potassium mine! Yeah, it’s an apocalypse pretty much like you were hoping for!

Raiders Of The Sun was made by Cirio H. Santiago for Roger Corman. Cirio was pretty much the one man Filipino equivalent of the entire Italian trash movie industry. The titles of his films are a mouthwatering collection of junk that will instantly convert the uninitiated into Cirio fanatics!

Equalizer 2000, Dune Warriors, Future Hunters, and Wheels Of Fire are just a few of the more prestigious of his post-apocalyptic oeuvre alone! That he also shot a film called Bloodfist 2050 but somehow without Don “The Dragon” Wilson only cements his status as “Favorite Director Who Was Not Italian But Should’ve Been.”

At the beginning of Raiders Of The Sun there is some narration explaining how the world ended, but that’s just strictly boiler plate stuff, legally required to get us to the point where nameless groups of poorly dressed extras run around shooting and blowing each other up!

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The Alpha League are the good guys and they’re fighting another group of losers for control of this really awesome quarry. You can tell everyone apart because the Alpha League wear yellow vests and one of the leaders of the bad guys commands his troops while wearing a hoghead, as if he was on his way to an Arkansas Razorback football game when Armageddon broke out.

The film follows the wasteland adventures of Talbot and Brodie. Talbot is a pretty generic guy who thinks the war is finally over and he can go home to his wife. Before he can get there though, his wife is kidnapped by the bad guys thus sending him on a search for her deep into the heart of enemy territory.

Brodie (Deathfight and Not Another Mistake star Richard Norton) is mega cool with his blonde hair, dark beard, black leather pants, and open black leather jacket with no shirt. He rocks some mean kung fu when he has to and always seems to be hauling a giant gun, squeezing off rounds into whatever freak wanders by. He also gets hooked up with a bunch of midgets!

Cirio is obviously going for an epic feel with his almost 80 minute thriller by splitting the story between Talbot’s attempts to rescue his wife, Brodie’s quest for the hidden potassium mine, and the bad guys’ scheming to destroy the Alpha League once and for all.

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There is a concern that perhaps Cirio is trying to cram too much into such a limited amount of time and that the movie might suffer from a lack of focus. Do not panic! The movie is excellent at maintaining its focus on stuff exploding!

Besides, you’ll be wrapped up in Brodie’s and Talbot’s situations in no time. With Talbot undercover in the evil gang, you’ll get to go on raids with him where he gets to see his buddies die, you’ll see him in a deadly rite of initiation that involves swinging on ropes while trying to club another to death, and you’ll see the big jail break where he and his old lady make their dash for freedom!

And don’t think that his old lady is just some piece of white trash arm candy (though she is that, too!) because she gives as good as she gets and manages to run over the guy in the hog helmet with his own car! Let me tell you something, brother – the end times is COLD!

But whither Brodie? After rescuing a native girl and getting shot for his troubles (thankfully not in the leather pants!), she takes him back to her secret village which just happens to be the very same village he was looking for that worships a potassium mine.

Their leader doesn’t want any outsiders because outsiders bring trouble, but Brodie is wise and says that trouble will find them anyway and trains the men in the village in stick fighting. He also has time to bang his new girlfriend and again demonstrates the wisdom of a guy who is getting banged regularly by saying that for the first time he knows what it is to be at peace.

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Nothing is forever though! Especially in this new world where guys in leather pants are our wisest people! The bad guys roll in, steal gunpowder, kill Brodie’s girlfriend, and trap them all in a cave in!

The friendly midgets that Brodie saved earlier from being burned alive appear and dig Brodie and the villagers out of the cave in. Brodie heads back to the Alpha League to assist the final battle with the bad guys and when he gets out of a station wagon followed by about five or six midgets carrying buckets of gunpowder, the power of that scene is self-explanatory.

The best moments of the movie though occur when Brodie goes one on one with the leader of the bad guys. Karate fighting is the order of the day as kicks, punches, kneeings, head bashing, and assorting grapplings are delivered without mercy. That it was done to the chunky beats of the bad ass background music only made Brodie and his leather pants that much more awe-inspiring!

Raiders Of The Sun keeps getting better even as it ends when there’s a little victory parade where Brodie hugs Talbot and is taken through the assembled crowd of about ten people by his midget pals. It was kind of like the end of Star Wars when Han Solo and Luke and the rest were recognized by the Rebellion for their bravery. But with tight leather pants. To state the obvious, I, like Brodie, now know what it is to be at peace.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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