Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Lawless Land

   There's no giant birds or Road Warrior vibes in this flick. The Lawless Land plays more like a star-crossed lovers tale set in a post WWIII land. I think an actual apocalypse is required for something to be considered post-apocalyptic, so I guess it's not a post-apoc flick- but it is set in a mildly dystopian future and features the requisite amount of motorcycle riding, gun shooting, nudity, and neon lit bar/brothel dens to keep a genre nut like me entertained throughout.

   The lead actor, Jsu Garcia, is handsome, but rather static in his acting abilities. His character Falco endures some grim stuff though and I suppose he emotes at least adequately. The female lead played by Amanda Peterson is barely in the movie, but she's arguably the best actor in it. It's a shame the movie keeps her and Garcia apart for most of the runtime, because they do have a palpable chemistry when they are together. Leon (Cliffhanger, Cool Runnings) shows up as a vicious bounty hunter named Road Kill, and Xander Berkley (Air Force One) shows up as a crazy traveling arms dealer in a really shifty looking van. How are you not already in love with this movie?

   There's not much more than a handful of action scenes, but they are well done when they do rear their head. The movie is more focused on building atmosphere than anything. If someone took the lyrics to a somber classic rock song and turned them into a movie, it's probably look a lot like The Lawless Land. Dystopian future, check. Young hero who is inexplicably trained in falconry, check. A forbidden romance between two young lovers, check. A scene all about a motorcycle, check. Big guns and war paint, check.

   As a major modern release it would probably leave audiences wanting (and I largely suspect it did the same even when it came out in 1988) but as a quaint little VHS curio that I'd never seen before, I found it absolutely fine. A lot of fun even. It's a low key movie of ridiculous moments and absurd characters. Maybe it's just my nostalgia for this bygone era of DTV entertainment, but I found The Lawless Land to be serviceable if not outright enjoyable. Nothing to get angry over, or excited about- but I'm sure glad I own it. And would you look at this stunning cover art?

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