Blog Archive

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013) - Review

There is no shortage of films about the movie industry, from Bill Wilder’s film noir Sunset Blvd to Robert Altman’s satirical The Player to silly films like Hal Needham’s Hooper, we as viewers are fascinated by that celluloid world. Now, in Shion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? we get the bloodiest look at the passion and the desire to make a movie.

Why Don't You Play in Hell?

In today’s culture anybody can be a director, you don’t even need talent, you just need a camera and the drive make your dream happen. In Why Don’t You Play in Hell? we are introduced to a group of kids that call themselves The Fuck Bombs and what they lack in talent they more than make up for in passion. The ringleader of this cinema club is Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa) who leads his merry band into any dangerous situation if looks like it could result in a cool shot. What’s great is that his friends are as equally nuts as Hirata is. They are just so damn happy to be filming anything that consequences don’t even come into play.

We are The Fuck Bombs!

This movie isn’t just about cinema lovers, it also has a nasty turf war between two Yakuza clans; Ikegami (Shin'ichi Tsutsumi) leads a group of hitmen to kill rival Yakuza boss Muto (Jun Kunimura) at his home, but instead encounter his wife Junko (Megumi Kagurazaka) who could possibly be more dangerous than an entire ninja army. While bleeding on the kitchen floor Ikegami encounters young Mitsuko (Nanoka Hara), daughter of Muto and Junko who walks in on the bloody aftermath. Ikegami is entranced by her as she is the star of a toothpaste commercial with an infectious jingle that has captured the nation’s heart. Unfortunately, Mitsuko’s mother goes to jail because apparently you can’t claim self-defense if you chase your attackers down the street with a butcher’s knife.

If she had been tried in Florida I’m betting she would have been cleared of all charges.

The movie then jumps ahead ten years and we find that passion does not necessarily lead to success, as The Fuck Bombs have only managed to make a three minute trailer for their martial arts masterpiece. And on the Yakuza side we learn that Junko is getting out of jail in ten days, this is a problem for Muto because for the last ten years he has been lying to his wife about Mitsuko’s (Fumi Nikaidô) successful movie career. When she gets out she expects to see a movie starring her daughter. In reality Mitsuko has only landed bit parts over the years and is now totally disillusioned with the whole business and no longer wants any part of it. Muto is so in love (or possibly in fear) of disappointing his wife that he even kidnaps his own daughter to force he to star in a film that he will somehow get produced in ten days.

The lovely Mitsuko.

To complicate matters further, Ikegami, who now leads his Yakuza clan, has decided to break their ten year old truce and orders an attack on Muto’s people. Much carnage ensues which allows Mitsuko to escape and run into the arms of Koji (Gen Hoshino) who she offers 100,000 Yen if he will be her boyfriend for the day. Muto’s men eventually catch up with them and Mitsuko is only able to save Koji from being murdered by her father by telling him that Koji is a director. Thus the last piece moves into place.

Yes, I’m totally a director and not just saying that so you don’t disembowel me.”

Koji of course has no clue how to go about making a movie and is only “rescued” when the “Movie Gods” lead him to The Fuck Bombs. With the help of Hirata and his gang of intrepid movie lovers they will film an actual raid on Ikegami’s people that will somehow star Mitsuko. What makes it even more insane is that Ikegami actually agrees to participate in the filming of the attack because he has been obsessed with Mitsuko all these years.

This may be creepy, but also the least insane thing so far in this film.

This movie is crazy and most of the characters in this movie are clearly certifiable, and just trying to follow these disparaging groups of oddballs could drive you insane, but more likely you will just be laughing your ass off as often as I did. This is a blood soaked adrenaline fuelled dark comedy of epic proportions, and when the shit hits the fan I dare any viewer to not walk away with a huge goofy smile on their face.

This would make for a reality show I'd actually watch.

Director Shion Sono has created a surreal and wild world full of glorious carnage that he then populated with some of the goofiest yet likable characters that you are ever going to come across. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? is for fans of Hong Kong action flicks and is basically a love letter to cinephiles everywhere. Well, a blood soaked love letter that it is.

Warning: Some elements of this film may break your brain.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Many Faces of Superman

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman!” There is no character more iconic than Superman. You would have to travel to a very obscure and isolated spot on this Earth to locate someone who couldn’t identify The Man of Steel, and today we will take a journey through some of the major highlights in the many incarnations of Superman.

Superman the icon

When Jerry Siegel and Joel Schuster put pen to paper and created their story of a baby launched from a dying world to become the world’s first superhero, they could never in their wildest imaginations have dreamt of what their brainchild would one day become. Hell, certain aspects of the current Superman differ so greatly from the one that first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938 that Siegel and Schuster of the day would have had a hard time recognizing him.

Superman 1938 
This costume is similar but there is a lot of differences under the hood.

Superman has evolved more than almost any other comic book character with his powers, abilities and origins constantly being changed and revamped so often that if it was finally revealed that he was a creation of the fifth dimensional imp Mister Mxyzptlk, I wouldn’t be surprised. When he first graced the pages of Action Comics he was “Faster than a speeding bullet” but certainly not fast enough to break the speed of light and travel through time, he was “More powerful than a locomotive” which is a far cry from being able to move the moon around, and he was “Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” but he definitely could not fly.

He was a “super-man”, godlike powers would come much later.

Superman’s first foray out of the four colour comic book was in The Adventures of Superman, a radio serial starring voice actor Bud Collyer, where three times a week Superman battled various shadowy organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan. It was during the run of this serial that kryptonite was first introduced so that Collyer could get time off for vacations while Superman was incapacitated.

Radio Show 
It contains five nutritional minerals including kryptonite.”

Then came the Max Fleischer Superman Cartoons produced by Paramount from 1940 to 1943 and to this day are still considered some of the best moments in Superman history. Though only the first nine cartoons were produced by Fleisher Studios, all 17 cartoons are lavish big budget productions that rivaled anything Disney or Warner Brothers was doing at the time. In these cartoons Superman battled numerous types of enemies; mad scientists, Japanese saboteurs, dinosaurs, mummies and of course giant robots. These amazing cartoons have all fallen into public domain so if you want to see some exciting action with great animation they are only a YouTube away.

 Before television became the media juggernaut it is today everyone went to the movies, and at least once a week, and for 24 cents you not only got a movie but also a newsreel, a cartoon and your weekly chapter of the latest serial. Serials dabbled in such genres as westerns, crime fiction, science fiction but some of the best serials were the ones based on comic book characters.

Superman 1948 Serial

The first actor to don the Superman costume was Kirk Alyn for the 1948 Columbia serial. This serial provided the standard origin story but sadly due to budget constraints, a problem live action Superman vehicles will suffer for decades, his main opponent was a criminal underworld type called “The Spider Lady” and not a giant robot or dinosaur. The most interesting thing about this incarnation of Superman is the technique they used to simulate Superman flying, Columbia studios decided to go with animation. Kirk Alyn would run behind a rock or a tree and then turn into a cartoon Superman to fly around, and then the cartoon would land behind another rock or a tree and out would step the live action actor. It’s kind of neat that this technique is often used today only now with CGI.

George Reeves is Superman!

Superman and the Mole Men (1951) is considered by many to be the first theatrical version of Superman, but that’s if you discount the serials, as this “movie” was only 58 minutes long and I myself can’t do that as it basically is just a pilot for the upcoming television series…

adv of Superman 

Both the “movie” and the series starred George Reeves as Superman and though he may have used some muscular padding to play the Man of Steel, his version of Clark Kent is still one of my favorites. Siegel and Schuster based Clark Kent on the hard hitting news reporters of the day and that is what you got with fedora sporting George Reeves. He may have been called “mild mannered” but at times good ole Clark was known to sock a crook in the jaw without rushing off to phone booth to change into Superman first. Reeves was originally teamed up with Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane but she had to leave after just one season and was replaced by Noel Neill who just so happened to have played Lois Lane in the Kirk Alyn serials. This version relied on George Reeves to dash into a closet or nearby alley to change costume and then to run out, hit a springboard and then launch himself into the air followed by footage of him in front of a rear projection screen as he flew around Metropolis. Still no giant robots or dinosaurs, or even a sign of Lex Luthor for that matter, for once again he spends most of his time taking on the shady underworld types that a television budget could afford.

It's A Bird... It's A Plane... It's Superman. (1966)

One wouldn’t think a comic book character of the likes of Superman could be easily adapted to a live stage musical production, and one would be right. Of course this didn’t stop Charles Strouse and Lee Adams from giving it a shot. The plot centered around a Nobel Prize winning scientist who is bitter about his brilliance being dismissed by the public, so he decides to destroy the ultimate symbol of goodness. As one would do. Though it opened to fairly good reviews it never really caught on with the public, but has been revived many times since its initial run and even got a television special. A really terrible television special that ditched any charm the Broadway production had.

The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1970)

These animated cartoons produced by Filmation where the first attempts at animated Superman since the Max Fleischer cartoons in the 40s and they are abysmally poor even by television standards. On the plus side, he was finally tackling such foes as Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Toyman and Mister Mxyzptlk, and he was hanging out with members of the Justice League. What was most damaging to the Man of Steel was that this caused grassroots organization “Action for Children's Television” to protest the violence portrayed on a show aimed for children which resulted in the show being cancelled. This shift in “Standards and Practices” for television would lead to…

Super Friends! (1973-1986)

This long running animated series had many incarnations with an ever changing roster of heroes and villains, but front and center of all of them was Superman. Unfortunately, due to the protests from parent groups, any kind of action-related violence such as punching was not allowed. This mostly affected Batman and Robin as punching is kind of their thing, but even Superman was limited to wrapping the villains up in steel bars or gently dropping them in jail. Worse is the fact that they were forced to team up with idiot kids Marvin and Wendy along with their dumb dog and then later the Wonder Twins who were basically an ad for alien inbreeding. The early seasons even had sympathetic villains who were just misunderstood, and it wasn’t until 1978 with The Challenge of the Superfriends that our heroes faced off against classic supervillains such as Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, Bizarro, Solomon Grundy just to name a few. Most episodes ended with the Legion of Doom’s nefarious plans being thwarted but then escaping because Superman kept forgetting he could just fly after them.

superman the movie 
Superman: The Movie (1978)

You will believe a man can fly.” This tagline changed everything because when Ilya and Alexander Salkind teamed up with Warner Brothers they made it their mission to create a believable version of Superman that kids and adults alike would enjoy. With director Richard Donner at the helm that is exactly what we got, but for me what was more important than all the advances in special effects was the casting of relative unknown Christopher Reeve as Superman. Now I’m not a huge fan of the bumbling Clark Kent persona but Christopher’s portrayal of Superman is bang on perfect to me. He just oozes sincerity out of every pour; there is no winking at the camera at all. The first two movies of this series were filmed back-to-back and pretty much give you everything you want from a Superman movie; epic yet touching origin story, Gene Hackman as the brilliantly evil Lex Luthor, Superman heroically battling the effects of a manmade earthquake, and a Time Square smack down with Kyrptonian Supervillains.

zod and friends 
Kneel before Zod!

The third and fourth installment in the series was not so much a drop in quality as it was a complete abandonment of what made the first two good. In Superman III (1983) our title character finds himself co-starring with Richard Pryor in a slapstick comedy that forgets to be funny. The original idea for Superman III had to do with Supergirl, Mxyzptlk and Brainiac but Warner Brothers vetoed that and instead we got stuck with Pryor's Gus Gorman computer genius and his super computer that he builds for Robert Vaughn.

not brainac 
So not Brainiac then?

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse Canon films picked up the rights to the Superman franchise and the reason Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) looks like a bad television show is because Canon funneled much of the film’s budget to other projects of their own. Crappy effects aside the story is also atrocious, as Superman basically declares himself “World Dictator” and disarms every nation in the world of its nuclear arms. Gene Hackman is back as Lex Luthor and is clearly in paycheck cashing mode here, but along with him is a terrible Jon Cryer as Luthor’s idiot nephew and then to top it off there is the cosmic clone Nuclear Man played by Mark Pillow but dubbed by Gene Hackman. Unlike Superman III, this movie is so bad it’s entertainingly awful. I’ve probably watched Superman IV: The Quest for Peace more times than Superman II.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997)

This series starred Dean Cain as Clark Kent/Superman and Terri Hatcher as Lois Lane. As the title implies, this show focused more on their relationship and not so much the super heroic deeds of the Man of Steel. This version of Clark Kent dispatches the clumsy incarnation made popular by Christopher Reeve and was more in keeping with what was going on in the comics at the time during the John Brynne era. The first season took a page out of the George Reeve Adventures of Superman with most of the criminals being members of the criminal underworld, often working with Lex Luthor (John Shea), but later seasons the show got a bit goofier and revelled in throwing in supervillains of their own making. This was a solid show that maybe went on a season too long. Speaking of going on too long…

Superboy (1988-1992) and Smallville (2001-2011)

These two shows are not technically Superman vehicles but they do deal with the early years of young Clark Kent, and while the Superboy show starring Gerard Christopher embraced the comic book character, the creators of Smallville had a strict “no tights, no flights” policy which certainly limited some of their storytelling ability and made the ten year run harder to pull off believably. When Clark Kent (Tom Welling) finally donned the Superman costume for the shows last episode everyone in Metropolis would immediately assume correctly that Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same. That is unless he kiss/mind wiped everyone on the planet. Smallville had a fairly decent budget with really decent effects but what worked best was the early relationship between Clark and Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) and not the kryptonite caused villain of the week. On the other hand, we have the Superboy show that had little to no budget and featured Superboy refereeing Hockey games and working secretly for a government organization that investigated unusual and paranormal disturbances. Though Superboy did meet the odd supervillain.

And I do mean odd.

When Bruce Timm launched Batman: The Animated Series 1992 it forever changed the look of animated television shows, and one of its more successful spinoffs was…

superman the animated series 
Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000)

This is easily my favorite version of Superman, and creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini are personal idols of mine for all they have done for superhero shows. In this series they beautifully blended elements of the classic Silver Age Superman but with the powers and abilities more in keeping with the John Byrnne reboot from his Man of Steel run in the late 80s. The voice cast is equally brilliant with Tim Daly as Superman/Clark Kent, Dana Delany as Lois Lane, and Clancy Brown as my all-time favorite Lex Luthor. In this series he tackles almost every Superman foe you could imagine and with some interesting new origins for some of them. The work they did here and later in The Justice League cartoon still hold up as some of the best Superman stories ever told.

Superman Returns (2006)

This film is in my opinion basically a failed love letter to Richard Donner's Superman. Director Bryan Singer earned great cred among comic book fans with his X-Men movies but lost a little when he created this version which has a deadbeat dad super-stalker as the film’s protagonist. I like Brandon Routh, and he does a fairly good impression of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, but along with Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane they are both way too young for the parts they are supposed to be playing, especially if this is a sequel to Superman II. This Lois Lane looks like a college newspaper intern and not a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the Daily Planet. Kevin Spacey seems to be the only one really having fun with the part, taking what Gene Hackman did and then making it his own. The effects are of course fantastic but the story makes no sense, especially if you consider it a sequel to the Donner films, and Luthor’s plot to create a continent is beyond moronic. Who the hell would want to live on his shitty rocky hellscape?

Man of Steel (2013)

The success of the Chris Nolan's Batman movies certainly made an impact on the genre and even greater of an impact among the executives of Warner Brothers who seem to think this is the only way to make a comic book movie these days. I’m not saying you can’t have a dark and gritty version of Superman, I’m just questioning why they think we need a dark and gritty version of Superman. In this movie Superman (Henry Cavill) causes the death of countless people in Metropolis, billions of dollars in damages and then murders General Zod. This is not the Superman I know and love, but what is most terrible about this is that it is in keeping with the character we are shown in this movie. Director Zack Snyder gives us a Superman who was raised by a Jonathon Kent (Kevin Costner) who instills in him the belief that he is more important than the people around him, that it’s okay to let a bus load of kids drown because gosh darn you are here for a purpose. I myself always thought Superman’s purpose was to save bus loads of kids from drowning, but what do I know? Once again there is no knocking the visual effects here as they are simply stunning, but sadly they are in service of a story I just can’t get behind.

false god 
I’d tell Zack Snyder to lighten up but I think I’m too late.

This is far from the end for Superman, and looking back at all the different take on Krypton’s sole survivor I feel confident that we will get many more; some will be good, some will be terrible and some I'm sure will be full of sheer awesomeness.

Tarzan and the Great River (1967) - Review

In Tarzan and the Great River everyone’s favorite jungle man continues his globetrotting adventures as he heads south from Mexico and the Valley of Gold to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is the sixth Tarzan film by producer Sy Weintraub and once again he uses great locals as backdrops for these adventures.


This outing finds Tarzan (Mike Henry) flying to Brazil on behest of an old friend The Professor (Paulo Gracindo) who works at the Rio de Janeiro Zoo. It seems a nasty Jaguar Death Cult is making trouble up river beyond Marakeet and The Professor would like Tarzan to look into it. The head of this Jaguar Cult is Barcuma (Rafer Johnson) who leads his followers on raids against villages up and down the river; burning, killing and recruiting or enslaving all they come across. The cult’s trademark weapon is a club topped with a jaguar claw that is dipped in poison. All the investigators they have sent into the area have never returned. The Professor tells Tarzan that, “You are the only man I know who can track down this terror, the one man who can find Barcuma and crush him.

Are Doc Savage or the Phantom not available?

Before Tarzan sets off on his investigation he tours the zoo and I’m disturbed to report that Tarzan apparently donated a bunch of animals including his chimpanzee pal Cheeta to the Rio de Janeiro Zoo. I just can’t see Tarzan being the sort of person who would be okay with caging wild animals in a zoo.
Tarzan is a dick to his jungle friends.

While Tarzan is visiting with his lion friend Baron, and I’m assuming spending much of his time explaining to Baron how living in a concrete enclosure is so much better than the jungle, all the animals suddenly go crazy. Tarzan senses that something is amiss and runs back to the zoo’s head office only to find The Professor dead, killed by the Jaguar Cult club.

Tell Mary Ann and Gilligan that The Professor will not be coming to dinner.

So not only does Tarzan have to investigate this dangerous cult, but he now has to avenge the death of his friend. My only question is, why in the hell was the curator of a zoo in charge of investigating jungle death cults? I’m not sure how law enforcement works in Brazil but I doubt this kind of thing is handled by zookeepers. Man of Action Tarzan worries not about these kinds of things and races off to save the day but not before changing into his trademark loincloth and freeing Baron and Cheeta so they can be his jungle back-up. I guess a lion and a chimpanzee may turn out helpful, though they actually don’t do much of anything in this movie, but they certainly aren’t ideal conversationalist so we are introduced to a riverboat crew consisting of Captain Sam Bishop (Jan Murray) and his partner and youthful ward Pepe (Manuel Padilla Jr.) who you may recognize played Ramel in Tarzan and the City of Gold.

This scene was later completely ripped off by Spielberg for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Tarzan saves the two from a group of the cultists in a pretty awesome display of hand-to-hand combat including standard fisticuffs and a little jujitsu. Captain Bishop agrees to take Tarzan up river “free of charge” because not only is it nice to have the added protection of Tarzan but he was also going that way anyway as he is to deliver badly needed medical supplies. The medicine is for Dr. Ann Philips (Diana Millay) who needs the medicine to inoculate the Brazilian natives from a pretty nasty illness.

Dr. Ann Philips, this movie’s “Totally not Jane.”

Barcuma gets word that a man from Africa has been sent to interfere with his operations and dispatches more cultist to take care of the Ape Man. When Tarzan and friends come across a dying native who escaped the clutches of the cult, they learn that Barcuma has those he has enslaved mining for diamonds. Captain Bishop gets it in his head that Tarzan’s mission is all about the diamonds and wants to tag along to hopefully get a piece of the action. This river trip with Bishop, Pepe and Tarzan’s menagerie results in much attempted comedy, and sadly not much of it funny.

My mission is to make it up into Cambodia. There's a Green Beret Colonel up there who's gone insane. I'm supposed to kill him.”

There is some really cool action in this movie; Tarzan swims under canoes containing cultists and tips them into the drink where they are eaten by alligators. Tarzan himself has to wrestle one of the gators and killing it with his knife, he rigs a trap with spilled gasoline in the river that he ignites with a flaming arrow that blows the crap out of a bunch of cultists, and the final fight between Tarzan and Barcuma is just fantastic.

Damnation Alley (1977) - Review

Hollywood loves a good disaster movie and one of the popular sub-genres of that is the post-apocalyptic film where heroes must survive in a topsy-turvy world after some natural or man-made disaster. In the case of Damnation Alley they decided to adapt a novel by science fiction author Roger Zelazny that dealt with life after a nuclear war. To call this movie a loose adaptation is being kind.

Damnation alley poster

The heroes of our story are airmen 1st Lieutenant Jake Tanner (Jan-Michael Vincent) and Major Eugene Denton (George Peppard) who share ICBM silo duty at an Air Force base in the California desert. Denton does not like Tanner and plans on having him transferred as soon as possible, but before he even has a chance to file the necessary paperwork the Russians launch a full scale nuclear attack and the world as we know it ends.

mushroom cloud 
We'll meet again. Don't know where, don't know when.

The movie jumps ahead two years and we are told in text, “The Third World War left the planet shrouded in a pall of radioactive dust, under skies lurid and angry, in a climate gone insane. Tilted on its axis as a result of the nuclear holocaust the Earth lived through a reign of terror, with storms and floods of unprecedented severity. When this epoch began to wind down, the remnants of life once more ventured forth to commence the struggle for survival and dominance. This is the story of some of them.

Brady Bunch 
Here’s the story of a lovely lady…

With that kind of opening one might expect a serious film along the lines of On the Beach or the Andromeda Strain but instead we get jaunty adventure tale that takes through an atomic wasteland populated by giant scorpions and irradiated rednecks.

giant scorpions 
The special effects of the irradiated rednecks look slightly better.

At some point in those two years Tanner has quit the Air Force, along with ex-airman Tom Keegan (Paul Winfield), and spends most his time riding his motorcycle to the nearby cities looking for action. When a careless airman falls asleep with a lit cigarette results in a fire destroying the base and all within it it’s up to Tanner and Keegan to join up with the only other two survivors, Denton and Lieutenant Tom Perry (Kip Niven), who were in an underground garage bunker when the explosion happened.

tanner and denton 
I still don’t like you.

What Denton and Perry had been working on in the garage when the base exploded were two amazing “Landmasters” which are huge articulated armored personal carriers that travel on rotating tri-wheels that make it capable of climbing 60-degree inclines and operating in water. To say these are the coolest RVs in the history of RVs is a vast understatement.

I give you the Landmaster.

Denton is set on heading to Albany, New York as that is the source of a lone automated radio transmission that they’ve been receiving over the last two years, and though there is no proof that there is a live person in Albany it’s as good a place as any to go. Landmaster One and Landmaster Two hit the road with Denton’s route taking them between the heavily irradiated zones, a route he calls “Damnation Alley.”

damnation alley desert

Unfortunately for Perry his character simply exists to be the first person to demonstrate how dangerous this trip is going to be and is killed when Landmaster Two is flipped over during a massive storm, a storm that Tanner drove through against Perry’s advice. Denton won’t admit that Tanner made the right call, as staying put is what got Perry dead, because Denton is a huge dick. What is surprising is that on board the destroyed Landmaster was Keegan and he gets off with just a banged up leg which is pretty amazing considering he’s a black guy in a science fiction movie.

damnation alley crew 
I've got a good feeling about this trip.”

Tanner, Denton and Keegan pull into Las Vegas because one does not drive through Nevada and not stop in Las Vegas. It’s just not done. Tanner and Keegan have fun playing the slots and even Denton seems to be lightening up.

las vegas 
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

The whooping it up at the slots draws the attention of Janice (Dominique Sanda) who was having sex with her boss in the hotel bomb shelter when the nukes hit. What’s most interesting about her character is one would assume her and Tanner would hook up, and though she does ride on the back of his bike during a shopping excursion in Salt Lake City no sexual tensions ever develop between them. Speaking of their stop in Salt Lake City, this is when they run into a mass of mutated flesh stripping cockroaches.

eaten alive 
Well Keegan, you lasted longer than we expected.

Poor Keegan is replaced by Billy (Jackie Earle Haley) a teen-age boy they find living alone in the desert who ingratiates himself into the group by pelting rocks at Tanner. This new family unit run into more trouble when they stop at a roadside diner for supplies and encounter some crazed irradiated rednecks that want the Landmaster and Janice. Before things can get too rapey Billy proves his worth by taking out the lead redneck (Robert Donner) with a well thrown rock and is able to get a gun to Tanner.

Damnationa alley jan-michael vincet 
Go ahead, make my apocalypse.

It’s at this point that the screenwriter seems to have lost interest and the film wraps up rather quickly; they stop off in Detroit to get parts for the Landmaster’s damaged drivetrain. It’s while rummaging through a junkyard that the world decides to shift back on its proper axis. A massive flood engulfs the Landmaster, but because of its amphibious nature they are able to continue along to Albany where they are greeted by joyous populace.

in the water 
Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat.

The episodic nature of this movie makes one wonder if it would have made a better mini-series than a movie and then would have had a more satisfying conclusion than Tanner and Billy just riding up into a group of happy people… roll credits. This movie did not do well; between the poor script and the embarrassingly bad special effects it really didn’t stand much of a chance, not to mention it followed Fox’s other science fiction movie that year Star Wars.

Director Jack Smight did a serviceable job with the budget and materials at hand but aside from the badass Landmaster there isn’t much to recommend to viewers and no surprise that author Roger Zelazny is no fan as it has almost no similarities to his book.