In memoriam to David Carradine Mise-en-scene Crypt reposts a classic review of a movie produced at a time when rental stores were still looking to fill their shelves with anything they could get their hands on. Warlords is a campy post-apocalyptic farce that casts David Carradine as a knock-off Rogue Trooper character wandering a Mad Max landscape populated by gas mask wearing mutants. This post-apocalypse parable comes complete with a spunky foul mouthed side-kick who thinks she's the lead of the piece played by Dawn Wildsmith, a mad as an hatter who's lost his bag of marbles Sid Haig in the role of Warlord, scream queen Michelle Bauer as the damsel in distress, and a bevy of scantily clad harem girls thrown in for good measure (and the audiences pleasure).
The plot of this shot in a desert back lot with minimal props and a handful of actors post-apocalypse sojourn is threadbare, confused, and barely there.
Carradine is Dow, a clone of a war hero sent into the desert by "the government" to retrieve a scientist. But wait there's a twist, it seems he's really looking for his wife, which makes absolutely no sense since he's supposed to be a clone of a dead guy, so that would mean he's really looking for his original's wife. But why would a clone care? Couldn't he just clone himself a new wife?
While we're asking dumb questions; what government sent him and why are there combat helicopters on the cover of the VHS? There's nary a helicopter in the entirety of this flick!
Speaking of mind-boggling lunacy what in the name of all that's holy is the deal with Wildsmith's character? It's obvious her role is patterned after the "tough girl waif" from movies such as Cherry 2000 (1987) and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983) but it seems like they shot this one so quick that she didn't have time to breathe and figure out who her character was. At least Melanie Griffith and Molly Ringwald managed to bring more to the clichéd role of annoying brat than radioactive bad attitude, but damn if she doesn't do the 'strutting annoying brat with delusions of grandeur' well!
Alas a danse macabre led by a band of rabid pixies would be easier to follow than Warlords contrived plot. Then again one does not watch post-apocalyptic movies because they're looking for scathing social commentary or intense drama, rather it's because the movies are ridiculous and good for a laugh and the better than average chance to see some naked flesh amidst mindless movie mayhem. This is the sort of video camp you will either enjoy for the piece of trash it is or loathe with a burning hatred approaching the scalding vengeance of a thousand exploding suns. It's just that sort of B-movie.
Is Warlords the worst low budget post-apocalyptic movie ever made? No, but then again this sub-genre isn't exactly known for great cinema. Director Fred Olen Ray has managed to tap into the DTV market with a wide array of action oriented ultra low budget genre fare running the gamut from vampire flicks (Beverly Hills Vamp), science fiction (Starslammer), and bizarre horror comedies (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) filled with plenty of gratuitous explosions and other assorted eye candy. Warlords is no exception, though it's sadly a bit light on the sort of delicious eye candy on display in the screen caps above.
Image Entertainment released this on Laserdisc circa 1989 and apparently has recently released a DVD of Warlords (click to view the Amazon page) but the one review on Amazon indicates the release is sub-par. If true that's a real travesty as this is a groovy bit of 80s era post-apocalypse action adventure low budget amusement. Caveat Emptor.
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Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan