Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)

In the far future, the world has descended into chaos! It is a time of sorcery! It is a time of flying motorbikes and laser guns! It is a time of mutants! And most mind-shatteringly of all, it is time of people walking around! And standing around! And talking! And driving! This is the grubby, dull and economically budgeted world that Jared-Syn wants to rule!

But there is one Ranger, a Finder (whatever that means!) named Dogen, who has the guts (and leather pants) to hunt Jared-Syn down in his mountain fortress and talk all the guys with deformed faces out of naming Jared-Syn as their new chief. (Admittedly, Jared-Syn doesn’t help his cause much when he claims Dogen is lying about him just being all about the power and making everyone his slaves when moments later he announces that he is their master.)

Dogen is hunting Jared-Syn in the wastelands when he encounters Dhyana who’s been digging for crystals in a cave with her father. Jared-Syn’s son Baal attacked them, killing her father while she hid in the cave and escaped a similar fate. Dogen has a crystal he got from a battle he fought with Jared-Syn’s men and Dhyana knows a guy who might be able to identify what the crystal is for.

The crystal is a storage device for a person’s lifeforce and this is part of Jared-Syn’s scheme to is kill folks and steal their souls to power up a massive crystal in his hideout. Jared-Syn’s powers remain unexplained and predictably wax and wane as demanded by the plot. While he has the ability to transport Dhyana to his location and send a crystal/electrical monster to fight Dogen (he just maneuvers it into stepping in a puddle to short it out), he also just stands around with his thumb in his ass and lets Dogen waltz into his camp and give a speech trashing him! Only after Dogen is finished turning the mob against him does Jared-Syn seem to remember his crystal powers. (Whoops, I guess I should have been trying to zap this douche. Dammit.)

None of what is happening is ever explained or placed in any sort of context for the viewer to make sense of. The film has the misplaced confidence to assume that the audience will just go along for the ride due, presumably to how derivative it all is. Leather stud cruising in his rusty war wagon in the wilderness fighting savages? Oh, so this is a Mad Max situation. But with some sci-fi mixed in. And the evil guy is scheming to take over everything. Don’t worry about the details, right?

And we wouldn’t if awesome stuff was happening, but outside of the occasional vehicle chase that resulted in some clunker or other blowing up, half-hearted fight scenes and uninspiring and awkwardly staged laser battles (Dogen stands for what seems like an eternity during one waiting to get shot until Tim Thomerson finally decides to save him by shooting the other guy), it was all one big Metalsnooze.

The film is further hampered by both Dogen’s character being a rather uninteresting piece of particle board and actor Jeffrey Byron’s colorless presence competing with the homely villain prone to silly melodramatic theatrics while decked out in even sillier padded armor to make this as painful experience as possible.

Thomerson (Trancers) is a pro and a welcome presence as Dogen’s wisecracking sidekick and is the only one in the film who doesn’t act like he’s abusing prescription tranquilizers. Baal is the only other part of the movie that’s worth mentioning. With his messed up face, metal mask and telescoping robotic arm that spews green acid, he at least looks the part of a bad ass and Dogen ripping his arm off is by far the best part of the movie. (The less said about how Baal ran away like a big wuss right after it happened, the better.)

Low budget legend Charles Band (Crash, Parasite, Trancers) shot this in 3-D as part of the early 1980s attempt at reviving the gimmick. While there are a few shots that were clearly aimed at showing off the 3-D, at least it’s not an overwhelming and distracting presence like you see in other 3-D movies from the period such as Treasure of the Four Crowns or Comin’ at Ya!

This was also an early effort from him which hopefully explains the overlong shots, terrible pacing and numerous other questionable choices (for instance the last chase scene was a spectacular mix of terrible special effects, boring editing and slow-speed POV shots through canyons which resolved nothing) that make what should be a quick 84 minute space adventure into something that threatens to put you into suspended animation for eons.

© 2019 MonsterHunter

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