Picks and Pans Review: Warlords of the 21st Century
Just to prove they're not perfect Down Under, director Harley Cokliss' similar futuristic epic from New Zealand looks as if it cost about $50 to make. Here the Oil Wars have laid waste the planet. It's a machine-eat-machine world, dominated by a desperate search for gasoline. The main vailain is Battletruck (originally the title of the film hybrid garbage wagon and Trans Am, with large cannons peering from slits in its side. James (High Plains Drifter) Wainwright, its megalomaniac megalomaniac commander, terrorizes what's left of the countryside, and sends his daughter, Annie (The Hand) McEnroe, into the arms of Michael Beck. You know he's a good guy because he has a wholesome solar-energy-powered home where he makes methane out of chicken manure to power the motorbike he rides like a charger. Beck eventually gets himself an improvised tank, which looks like Herbie the Love Bug Volkswagen in a bad mood, and unhesitatingly challenges Battletruck. He shows the same cool with which he walked through The Warriors and danced through Xanadu. McEnroe is sensitive enough, despite a grating voice. And Wainwright makes a serviceable meanie. As B movies go, this one provides a passable 91 minutes, but it's hardly one worth bringing in from 7,000 miles away. (PG)
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