Steel Frontier

  • 1995
  • Movie
  • R
  • Action, Science Fiction

This havoc-filled ripoff of MAD MAX admits up front that it's just a western with a sci-fi veneer, but self-awareness doesn't sweeten the movie's hackneyed blend of brutality and banality. Sometime after "the Boom," when civilization collapsed, former military man Gen. J.W. Quantrell (Brion James) seeks to establish his own "United Regime" by invading scattered...read more

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This havoc-filled ripoff of MAD MAX admits up front that it's just a western with a sci-fi veneer, but self-awareness doesn't sweeten the movie's hackneyed blend of brutality and banality.

Sometime after "the Boom," when civilization collapsed, former military man Gen. J.W. Quantrell (Brion James) seeks to establish his own "United Regime" by invading scattered settlements with his band of sadistic thugs. They easily conquer the fuel-refining community of New Hope, and cruelly rule

over the place. Yuma (Joe Lara), a taciturn drifter, arrives from the wastelands to join Quantrell's crew. Because of his amazing prowess with a shooting iron (Yuma loads his revolver and fires faster than an opponent can draw), the stranger is accepted as a recruit. When townsfolk finally strike

back against Quantrell and his men, however, Yuma sides with the rebels. Finally, Quantrell personally leads his armored-car cavalry against the remaining citizens of New Hope. The bad guys are surrounded and picked off like Custer at Little Big Horn. Yuma reveals himself to be a bounty hunter; he

hauls off Quantrell's body for the reward money.

Viewers are unlikely to shout "Come back, Shane!" as the hero rides away, because Lara's whole act is cardboard cut-out Clint Eastwood. Dual directors Paul G. Volk and Jacobsen Hart don't add up to even half a Sergio Leone as they fill the frame with spaghetti-western tight closeups of grimacing

varmints and their blackened teeth. Bo Svenson comes closest to committing a performance, as the villain's battle-weary lieutenant.

The town in the film is one of those action-movie locales in which the ricketiest of rusted ruins can suddenly explode into huge fireballs for the big fight scenes, but abundant stunts and pyrotechnics were constrained here by the film's low-budget, resulting in a direct release to cable-TV and

home video.(Excessive violence, substance abuse, excessive profanity.)

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  • Released: 1995
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This havoc-filled ripoff of MAD MAX admits up front that it's just a western with a sci-fi veneer, but self-awareness doesn't sweeten the movie's hackneyed blend of brutality and banality. Sometime after "the Boom," when civilization collapsed, former mil… (more)

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