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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cult Film Faves Not On DVD: Stryker (1983) review


Steve Sandor (Stryker), Andrea Savio (Delha), Mike Lane (Kardis), William Ostrander (Bandit), Julie Gray (Laurenz), Monique St. Pierre (Cerce)

Directed by Cirio H. Santiago

The Short Version: One of many ROAD WARRIOR clones only instead of Italy, this one is from the Philippines. It's one of the livelier entries, yet it's no less bone headed. All the ingredients are here for an old school good time at the drive in.

After an apocalypse ravages the Earth, the most valuable commodity is water. A gang of savages led by Kardis are after a woman who knows the location of one of the last natural water resources on the planet guarded over by a tribe of amazons. Stryker and his army of midgets tries to get her there.

What would seem like a great cinematic joke is actually one of the best and most fun rip offs of all time. Resembling one of those holocaust style Heavy Metal videos that dominated the early 1980's, this post synced trash fest is for the ever dwindling cult of drive in exploitation lovers. Steve (BONNIE'S KIDS) Sandor plays our (mostly) silent hero escorting a barely dressed lovely across the desert while a Sid Haig lookalike with a hook hand is in hot pursuit to get his hand (he only has one) on a vast supply of water.

With the thought of a plot not once threatening to get in the way of the action, prolific Filipino filmmaker, Cirio Santiago directs this, his first of many rip offs of THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981). At one time Santiago had a long running association with Roger Corman and also directed some movies for his New World Pictures. Some of his other post apocalyptic excursions include WHEELS OF FIRE (1985), EQUALIZER 2000 (1986) with Richard Norton and the super sexy Corinne Wahl, the enjoyable DUNE WARRIORS (1990) and the boredom of RAIDERS OF THE SUN (1992).

Santiago became known for his braindead action epics whether set in desert locales or in the jungle for a slew of Vietnam War styled pictures. Having dabbled in other genres, too, his action films seem to be the best remembered. They're allmade from the same recipe with the proper exploitation ingredients. Marinade comic book heroes and villains and mix with a dozen or so machine gun battles, car chases and explosions. Add in some big haired beauties wearing either leather outfits, or underwear for spice. Cook for 90 minutes and serve with absolutely no plot.

The dialog is kept to a minimum until 45 minutes in when the fragments of a plot begin to surface. Up to that point, the most profound exchange consists of, "Where's the water!!" There's maybe ten minutes tops of exposition then it's right back to gun battles and explosions sprinkled with some good stunt work. Stryker's army of babbling midgets occasionally get in on the action, too. There dress and appearance instantly recalls the Jawas from STAR WARS (1977). William Ostrander (who plays Bandit) was also one of the punks in CHRISTINE (1983).

This is a really bad movie with an even worse score, but it's a tanker truck full of mindless fun. They don't make movies like this anymore, but if you're a fan of 80's post nuke flicks, heavy metal videos, sexy battling babes and rampaging midgets, you'll get your money's worth from STRYKER (1983).


Samuel Wilson said...

It's not legitimately on DVD, I suppose, but Stryker was included in Videoasia's notorious Grindhouse Experience Vol. 2 box set. It's dumb fun, exactly as you say, and Santiago knows how to keep his films moving. I can't help liking his TNT Jackson and Death Force,either.

venoms5 said...

Yeah, there's no legit disc of this out there that I am aware of unless the title is in a foreign language release. I dropped the disclaimer from past entries, but this column is relegated for select stuff with no legit release in America, or pretty much anywhere else. Since then, past entries like BERMUDA DEPTHS and THE EVIL are either out now on that DVD-R on demand, or are getting ready to come out from Shout! Factory.

TNT JACKSON is supposed to be coming from Shout!, too, Sam. I'm kinda anxious for it as those PD discs of it are in terrible shape and appear badly cut. I'd also like to see his FIRECRACKER come out on DVD, too.

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