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In 1979 George Miller changed the dystopian future. Before Mad Max, dystopian movies were overly cerebral sci fi with nihilistic endings—stories that made you want to shoot yourself. Suicide was not to avoid a dismal fate, but to avoid suffering another God awful movie. Now almost all dystopia are set in a desert that’s inhabited by filthy, blood-thirsty circus freaks driving metal monstrosities.
One of the many Mad Maxploitation films is Charles Band’s Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn. I happened upon it in a carwash dollar bin. Though it was priced twice what it’s worth, I needed something for this month’s walk thru. So, fasten your safety belts and keep a sharp lookout for roaming bands of ravagers, we’re going back to the dark times, 1983.
The movies opens with unnecessarily rousing and patriotic music over the opening credits.
Cut to a desert wasteland. Civilization has devolved into a Mad Max dystopia. Our hero, Max Man, roams the dirt roads and rock quarries in his metal minivan, the Mad Max Mobile. Max Man is all over the road. He’s swerving worse than a Kennedy after cocktails. Thankfully the Mad Max Mobile is equipped with enough blifnar and random levers to stay on the road. Not being a spastic driver would work too, but bleeps and flashing lights add production value, and this movie needs all the help it can get.
Max Man makes a gratuitous stop. He removes his helmet and opens his door. Ostensibly he does so in order to receive a communication from Ranger Station, but really it’s so we can get a look at him—and what an eye full. Dirty blond hair from all road film. His skin is shiny from sweat and grease. All this wrapped tight in black leather, which was originally tan. A man’s man in this desolate world. A crack whore anywhere else.
Ranger Command warns Max Man he’s outside the safe zone. Also communications are spotty because of interference from the crystal fields. But most importantly, Max Man’s girlfriend feels they should start seeing other people.
Distracted by the news of his darling’s lost love, Max Man completely misses the Scary Krishna peering from a nearby cliff. (Scary Krishnas are half Tusken Raider, half Hare Krishna, with half their face scabbed over making them half cyclops.) When he drives on, the Scary Krishna pursues Max Man on his hover bike. There’s a moderately expensive looking chase scene, with laser burlets, which is abruptly cut short when a cliff wall sneaks up on the Scary Krishna. Hover bikes don’t respond well to sudden, violent stops. In this case the hover bike blowed up.
Max Man goes through the wreckage and finds a mysterious red crystal.
Meanwhile, in a crystal mine, Blondie and Greystache the Father are hard at work mining for crystals. Crystals are… they do… something, which makes them valuable. Thus far (in life) Greystache has been useless in unearthing any. That’s about to change though. Today he just knows there’s going to be some in this abandoned mine.
Blondie and Greystache use advanced Ghostbusters-styled blinky technology. And, surprise! Blondie uncovers a giant clear crystal. Greystache is so excited that he almost drops the florescent light he was using to bore solid rock. They’re rich. Life is good again. They won’t have to put the cat down because the can’t afford to feed him. Instead, they can euthanize the little bastard because they don’t like him. Hell, there will be enough money to get that personality transplant for Greystache’s frigid wife. Joy and exultation!
Naturally the Scary Krishnas show up and wreck things.
Leading them is Erik Destro, the bastard offspring of the Phantom of the Opera and Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV. He squirts hallucijuice from his metal arm on Greystache. The hallucijuice burns through Greystache’s coveralls, seeps into his skin, and sends him on a freaky vision trip to Jared-Syn. (Jared-Syn is the local villain. He’s got a British accent so he is also a magician or Jeti or something.) Jared-Syn harshes Greystache’s mellow by touching a red crystal to his neck. The crystal must have been really cold because Greystache tenses up then falls over dead.
Jump cut: Max Man drives up just in time to miss the Scary Krishnas completely. (Well played, sir.) Blondie, watching from her hiding spot just inside the mine, sees Max Man walk up to investigate Greystache’s dead body. Despite everything she’s witnessed, i.e. everything that’s happened, she’s furious and ambushes Max Man at gunpoint. She actually asks what he has done to Greystache.
Now that Greystache is dead, and the expensive crystal they found destroyed, Blondie has nothing left. She exercises her prerogative as the damsel in distress to hitch up with Max Man. (Ooooo! Sorry, dude. Should have kept driving.) Completely emasculated, Max Man capitulates quietly.
After an info-dump bit of exposition and planning, their first stop is to see Merchant Man, the crystal specialist. He can tell them more about the mysterious red crystal. Max Man ponders the possibility that Merchant Man might be a spot to dump Blondie, and the Del Taco had for lunch.
Over at Camp Scary Krishna, Jared-Syn feels a new disturbance in the Farze: Max Man and Blondie. Together they are strong, or something. This is bad. Probably. To ease his foul mood he uses a red crystal on some poor shmuck. Jared-Syn brags he is doing this for the Brotherhood of Scary Krishnas. Really it is just an opportunity to monologue about the red crystals for the audience. To wit, they’re Ruby Crystals of Death that collect the Life Farze of the people they touch, which… does something.
Anyhoo, Jared-Syn hands out Ruby Crystals of Death to some of the brothers to collect more Life Farze. (For the weekend’s big Jamboree, maybe?)
Over in Merchant Cave, Merchant Man (a Rent-A-Center Boss Hog) inspects Max Man’s red crystal. After shooting it with a couple different L.I.B.s (laser inquisitation burlets), he discovers the red crystal is a Ruby Crystal of Death. Ruby Crystals of Death collect the Life Farze of the people they touch. Neat. Deja Vu. We already knew this from the Camp Scary Krishna scene just a minute ago, so thanks for nothing.
Now Max Man knows Jared-Syn’s secret plan: collect Life Farze and… something. (Profit?) Max Man absolutely has to find Jared-Syn, but where could he be? Whoa! Guess what? Merchant Man knows a guy at Camp Gypsy who was a Ranger like Max Man back in the old days. Surely He’ll know Camp Scary Krishna’s location. Probably.
Quick aside: someone in the production crew had an uncle who owned a junk yard. Because of this there were plenty of junker vehicles to make up the fleet of scrap metal Scary Krishna Kludge Mobiles (SKKM). What would a Mad Maxploitation film be without all the metal monstrosities, right? So it was only a matter of time before Max Man and Blondie were going to be ambushed by a pack of roving Scary Krishnas lead by Erik Destro.
Time for a crash up derby.
Expendable Scary Krishnas are driven off of cliffs, and explode, or run into dirt walls, and explode, or just explode.
Unbelievably, two SKKMs manage to not explode. They cut off the Mad Max Mobile at the pass. How they managed do so doesn’t matter. What does matter is, rather than just drive around (there is plenty of room), Max Man stops and jumps out. Blondie, too.
Under the cover of nothing, Max Man and Blondie manage to avoid getting hit in the shoot out. On the other side, several Scary Krishnas, safely protected behind and/or inside their vehicles, are picked off like rabbits staked to the ground. Before the Scary Krishnas rout, Erik Destro squirts hallucijuice on Max Man.
Cut to later that night. Blondie is cuddling Max Man. Her lap has Mystical Rejuvenation Powers +2. This buff has thus far kept Max Man from totally tripping balls. Unfortunately he was hit with concentrated hallucijuice. This formula is so strong it not only pulls Max Man into the freaky vision trip to Jared-Syn, but Blondie too.
Good thing. Remember, together they are strong. When Jared-Syn grabs Max Man, Blondie’s lap’s kung fu grip holds him in place. Granted, Jared-Syn could have used the Ruby Crystal of Death on them both, but that would have ended the movie right there. There’s still another 50 minutes of runtime to go, so don’t think about that.
Think about this insead: Max Man starts coming down, bringing both himself and Blondie back to reality, but Jared-Syn refuses to be beaten. He uses his teleportation power to steal Blondie. Yoink!
Jared-Syn has the power to teleport people? I could forgive not using the Ruby Crystal of Death, but all this time Jared-Syn could have teleported one, or both, right into Camp Scary Krishna?
Shenanigans! Charles Band is just screwing with us.
But the Grade-A bull plops don’t stop there. Without the protection of Blondie’s Mystical Rejuvenation Powers +2, Max Man will be easy prey for Jared-Syn’s Blue Crystal Creature.
What’s a Blue Crystal Creature (BCC)? A BCC is the rarest of Pokémon. It is immune to laser burlets AND medium to large sized rocks—thrown, hurled, or tossed. They are easily teleported directly where needed, not just deployed within one’s throwing distance. This is a huge plus for Jared-Syn as he throws like a right-handed sissy using his left hand. Best of all, they have a groovy, blue electrical discharge that’s just swell.
Unfortunately the top speed of the BCC is comparable to a Romero zombie (circa Night of the Living Dead) or a Bela Lugosi vampire. This gives Max Man plenty to time to work out what to do. Just as the BCC is upon him, he shoots the ground opening up one of the many fresh spring veins. Desert fresh spring veins are quite numerous, contrary to popular belief, and are the one weakness of the BCC. When the BCC steps in the crisp and refreshing puddle it dies. Because…
Just because! Don’t pester Metalstorm with your damnable logic.
Back at Camp Scary Krishna, Jared-Syn has completely forgotten about the BCC. He has more pressing matters, namely villain monologuing at Blondie about his big crystal. He stores all the Life Farze in his big crystal. He even lets her touch it. (I get the distinct feeling there’s something more to this dialogue.) After all that Jared-Syn is tired and lights a cigarette, satisfied he’s still the shiz. Between drags on his Kool he realizes his BCC hasn’t returned. No matter. He sends Erik Destro to kill Max Man, because it worked out so well the first time.
Elsewhere, Max Man finds Camp Gypsy. Before heading in he stops the Mad Max Mobile, exits, and takes a celebratory drink of water. Because… Who knows? At this point anything goes so long as it runs down the clock. In my headcanon he does this because it is always best to get out and drink your water in the hot desert sun, particularly before entering a strange Gypsy town. You never know what kind of street urchins will attach themselves to you as the “outsider.” As stupid as that sounds, the instant Max Man sets foot in the camp he is beset by the children. They’ve never seen a real life Ranger. Well, except for Hans Olo, the “guy” Max Man is there to find, but…
Max Man finds Hans Olo in the Rent-A-Center Mos Eisley bar. Here the Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy is the name of the Kenny Chesney tribute band, not a description of the denizens. Actually, they are a nice lot, even if they are in need of serious orthodontics.
Time for some machismo blustering.
Max Man and Hans Olo size up one another’s bonafides. Hans Olo is an old school Ranger: Drunk Class—grumpy and not in it for your revolution, sister. Max Man is a new school Ranger: Metal Shinguards Class—tight leather and all man.
Okay… That killed a few minutes.
Though they’re sort of in the middle of a conversation, Max Man leaves to investigate a noise outside. The townies captured a Scary Krishna and have roughed him up. Max Man saunters over to get a better look at the Scary Krishna. He reminds Max Man of a guy he went to high school with. Turns out he’s not, but the townies aren’t happy all the same. They don’t cotton to no fancy Ranger and his big city educated friends.
Time for a Mexican standoff.
What the townies don’t know is Max Man is also a Ranger: Quick Draw McGraw Class. Max Man manages to shoot one townie. The other townie blasts Max Man’s gun from his hand. As he draws down on Max Man, Hans Olo, in a not-at-all surprising turn of heart, shoots the townie in the chest.
With a twirling flourish Hans Olo holsters his gun and grumbles, “You’re gonna be trouble.”
Aw! Now Max Man and Hans Olo are best friends. Time to head to Camp Scary Krishna.
Cut to the Mad Max Mobile driving up on a small pond. It’s easy to drive around. Hell, it’s shallow enough to drive through. Yet because it’s in front of them, Max Man and Hans Olo get out and walk. They find a stone marker with a tree carved in it, which probably means something, but whatever. They keep on walking.
The fog is thick in this part of the desert, even in the hottest part of the day. This natural camouflage has helped the indigenous burrowing sand snakes infest the area. Sensing easy and mostly digestible prey, the sand snakes follow Max Man and Hans Olo a la Bugs Bunny burrowing his way to Albuquerque. The sand snakes close in while Max Man defiles a sacred Scary Krishna shrine. Inside he discovers the Crystal Face Shield. While distracted by it’s awesome stupidity the sand snakes strike.
To Max Man and Hans Olo’s benefit, the sand snakes’ gums are baby bottom soft. Max Man and Hans Olo are bitten repeatedly resulting in them both feeling relaxed. Mellowed, they almost give into the sand snakes’ Somnambulant Massage Attack. Remembering he is a man, and men don’t get massages from snakes (unless they’re homos), Max Man shoots one in the mouth. Showed them sneaky slack-jawed snakes who’s boss!
Bull Shannon, the Scary Krishna warlord, ambushes Max Man and Hans Olo as they flee the parlor of the sand snakes. Bull is impressed that they sullied the sacred Scary Krishna monument and retrieved the Crystal Face Shield. Yet they shot Fluffy, his beloved sand snake (right in the mouth, too!). This is too much of an outrage to ignore so he calls for koon-ut-kal-if-fee.
The fight proves to be less than impressive. After a few thrusts and parries, Max Man defeats Bull. He doesn’t kill Bull, despite viciously slashing at him with his ceremonial sai. (Scary Krishna keep the round barrel of their ceremonial sai razor smooth.)
Bull, being a mighty Scary Krishna warlord, craps his diaper and cries like a little baby. He’s happy Max Man spared his life. The tears are an ancient Scary Krishna tradition to save face. Thus he lets Max Man and Hans Olo leave in peace.
That is the way of a fearsome Scary Krishna warlord.
For some reason driving past the pond is now possible, so Max Man and Hans Olo continue on their journey. What they don’t realize is Erik Destro’s gang has bivouacked in the middle of the road a half mile from the pond. After crashing the party, literally, there’s lots of driving in circles through the camp, random camp debris crushed, Scary Krishnas running and shrieking, SKKMs rolling over and exploding. In other words, a typical Kappa Kappa Bro fraternity party at Stanford.
Having fulfilled the Three Stooges comedy bit of the film, there’s a proper car chase. Remember, the Scary Krishnas have a fleet of SKKMs to get through. So more wrecks, explosions, driving off of cliffs, explosions, and explosions. One of the Scary Krishnas is so excited he runs a fellow Krishna off a cliff. Yet another explosion. Yay!
The Scary Krishnas pull another blocking maneuver, because it worked out so well the first time. Max Man switches things up by jumping the cars, which is amazing considering there was no ramp nor KITT style turbo boost button in the Mad Max Mobile. Suddenly, because the scene called for it, the Mad Max Mobile has jump power. Yet more unfathomable is Erik Destro’s decision to unceremoniously drop the chase.
Hans Olo exclaims, “I’m getting to old for this stuff.” Indeed. Ten year old boys are too old for this stuff.
It’s right about now that Hans Olo notices that “not so fresh” feeling. Self conscious and cranky, he whinges on endlessly about not being able to find Camp Scary Krishna. Max Man stops at Blue Crystal Water Hole. Blue crystal water is great for flushing sand out of lady parts.
As Hans Olo freshens up, Max Man puts on the Crystal Face Shield ‘cos why not? This causes a vision trip. He’s naked in a cave. There’s a burning tree. He’s carrying an axe. Hey! Axes are used to chop trees. So he gives it a hard whack. The tree starts to bleed. Somewhere a Native American starts crying. If only Max Man had one of Hans Olo’s sanitary napkins.
As Max Man tries to understand his vision quest, Erik Destro walks up. Hans Olo takes a Scary Krishna star to the head, going down faster than Richard Simmons on a musical submarine. This is the last straw. Max Man can take no more. He has lost the girl (he didn’t want around anyway) and the guy (he just met). Having returned the same nothing he had at the beginning of the movie, Max Man finds a power he didn’t know he had. Max Man is the hero this dystopian world needs!
Max Man shoots up the Scary Krishnas, carefully saving his strength for Erik Destro. With a primal scream he rips off Erik Destro’s metal, hallucijuice-squirting arm. And scene.
While Max Man congratulates himself with an extra slice of cake from craft services, Erik Destro escapes. He’s too hurt to notice he is leaking hallucijuice. The trail is bright green and so obvious even Ray Charles could follow it, and he’s dead—and blind.
Cut to: night at Camp Scary Krishna. Erik Destro is worried that they’ve underestimated Max Man. Jared-Syn’s not troubled. They have the Red Crystals of Death. They have the giant crystal of Life Farze. They have the Scary Krishnas. And most of all, they have Blondie. She is the linchpin. She is the bait to lure Max Man into Jared-Syn’s trap of crystals and Life Farze and Scary Krishnas. Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!
Max Man struts into camp like it ain’t no thing, which I suppose it isn’t as he is met with no resistance. Not even a, “Hey!” Thusly embiggened, Max Man starts a battle of wits to win the hearts of the Scary Krishnas.
Max Man calls Jared-Syn a liar.
“Nuh-uh!” retorts Jared-Syn.
So it comes down to an exchange of laser burlets. Max Man uses the Crystal Face Shield to deflect Jared-Syn’s palm lasers. Max Man only deflects a couple before Erik Destro knocks the Crystal Face Shield from his hands, shattering it in the soft sand of the desert floor. This awakens the bloodlust in the Scary Krishna. Well, in one Scary Krishna, Bull. He stabs Erik Destro in the duodenum, his Achilles heel, killing him instantly.
Jared-Syn disappears (yet another power just when he needs it) while all look around stupidly. Max Man snatches a hover bike. Where is he going? Who knows. Maybe he is making a run for it. He couldn’t be chasing Jared-Syn because he just vanished without a trace. So, whatever.
Because Max Man is safety conscious, he straps on a Scary Krishna helmet before taking off. The helmet covers one of his eyes. (Head protection outweighs depth perception when you’re flying.) Only able to use one eye might totally jack with Max Man’s depth perception, but it allows him to see Jared-Syn. Or, that’s what I made up because the movie failed to explain what was happening. So…
Now it’s day. There’s a lukewarm flying chase scene. Animating a good chase was more than the budget allowed. Besides they only needed a couple minutes to pad out the runtime.
Jared-Syn opens the Dark Portal of Set and escapes.
Thwarted, Max Man returns to Camp Scary Krishna. There he tells Bull about Jared-Syn’s escape. Max Man vows that he will follow wherever Jared-Syn goes. To affirm his resolve, he destroys the big crystal (which was the only way to open the Dark Portal of Set, but whatever).
Max Man and Blondie start walking home. Hans Olo drives up and gives them a ride into town. The end.
Hmm. Wait a minute. Isn’t this Metalstorm: the DESTRUCTION of Jared-Syn? Oh well. Nevermind.
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