Posts Tagged ‘Joe Lara’

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To celebrate the release of the new Black and Chrome edition of the fantastic Mad Max: Fury Road we take a look at the seemingly endless number of films it inspired: the good, the bad and the ugly!

05.  1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)

Directed by “Italian George Miller” Enzo Castellari this movie takes a peek into distant future (8 years later) where  war is raging between street gangs in post-apocalyptic New York. Amidst all of that is the gayest anti-hero Mark Gregory (who mysteriously disappeared from the face of the Earth) who manages to reunite street gangs and win against evil government agent Hammer (played by Vic Morrow). Fred Williamson also takes roll in this battle.

04. The New Barbarians (1983)

Another feature from mastermind of The Bronx Warriors Enzo Castellari only one year later. This time two mercenaries Scorpion (played by Giancarlo Prete) and Nadir (played by Fred Williamson) help wandering caravans fight off an evil band of white-clad bikers after the nuclear holocaust. In order to achieve this they had to go through a living hell, including Scorpion’s ass being penetrated by gang of gay Templars in this hilarious scene:

 

03. Made by a Pinoy c- movie maestro Cirio H. Santiago and staring our favorite Aussie bad-ass Richard Norton and eponymous. Equalizer 2000 (1987) the movie doesn’t offer much in the way of story but makes it all up with a whole lotta bullets and bombs (one babe too). Also Norton swears that the damned thing could actually work and I’m not going to question him for sure.

 

02. Steel Dawn (1987)

Swayze is most popular when dancing (), or fighting people in bars but in the late 80’s Swayze decided to take a post-apocalyptic vacation of sorts. In this career left turn Road Warrior meets Martial Arts as Swayze plays. Also it’s worth noting that new regions like China are just discovering the Mad Max franchise as evident recent rip- off , the Chinese Mad Shiella. So, I guess post- apocalyptic wasteland won’t stop being a popular destination any time soon.

01. Steel Frontier (1995) places Joe Lara (Legends of Tarzan) in a post- apocalyptic Western wasteland and surprisingly- it works! Actually it’s a good candidate for my favorite Lara film. The plot is your basic Yojimbo/ Fistfull of Dollars thing but if it works why fix it. General is played by always super entertaining Brion James (…) and Lara even goes mano- a- mano with Kane Hodder aka Jason Varhees himself!

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One of the uncommon combos of genre fiction is a Western/ SF combination. Probably because it’s still to be shown profitable for the big companies (see Outland, Firefly or BraveStarr cartoon)
Yet that doesn’t stop the occasional filmmaker from trying and in this case use it as a twist on the tried and true Road Warrior post- apocalyptic genre.

esfrsocyqrabbigHowdy, people!

Long haired lone gunman Joe Lara (Tarzan: The Epic Adventures) finds a dying man in the desert. Inquiring him about his predicament he finds out that he was shot by “Death Riders” (good name for a metal band). He finishes the man off (so he doesn’t have to suffer any more) and sets on his way. On a cool steam-punkish bike of course.

In the meantime we have Death Riders led by General Quantrill ( played by legendary B actor Brion James) pillaging a New Hope settlement (something horrible has to happen when you name it that way). After a massacre General claims New Hope as a United Regime post. No one complains.

Steel  General gets a bit emotional!

Yuma eventually crosses paths with some of the United Regime and it results in some awesome Mad Max racing. They eventually do catch him but he impresses them with his gun-slinging skills enough to get himself hired. He then goes through a grueling initiation process in which he is branded like a cattle and beaten to a bloody pulp.

 

 

 

 

That same night he saves a young and beautiful blonde widow from a dirty redneck with his fantastic poker skills (almost good as his shooting). That doesn’t stop the redneck for trying to rape her the next day but that’s where things get a little crazy. Her kid shoots redneck’s friend disturbed John Lennon looking-dude and he completely loses it. Thankfully Yuma appears and engages in a fistfight that lasts long enough for a widow to grab a gun a shoot the man herself. Yuma doesn’t seem to happy about it but he prepares for the inevitable.

 

 

Death riders figure out that Yuma is responsible for their dead compatriots and after a short staring contest all hell brakes lose. Some of the townspeople embrace this as an opportunity to rebel  against the Union and join up. Giant Death rider played by Kane Hodder (best known as Jason Vorhees) even snaps a random woman’s neck. Using his robot bike (also equiped with Gatling gun) and his uncanny prowess with a revolver Yuma menages to turn the tide in his favor but he still ends up in a fist fight with Hodder and that’s not an easy task for any man.

 

Beaten and bruised Yuma is dragged to the airplane(!?) where the widow lives and there he heals himself with a screwdriver-looking thing.  General Quantrill completely loses his shit when he hears what happened organizes an all out attack on New Hope. In normal case they would burn the town to the ground but Yuma organizes the townspeople and menages to surprise them.It all ends with a drag out chase featuring a school bus!!! After a nasty crash both of them reach of their guns and it ends something like this…

STEEL_FRONTIER_1995.mp4_005725986We’ll all miss you Brion James!

Yuma finally reveals that he is a bounty hunter, he takes Quantrill’s corpse on his bike and rides off leaving his love interest and her son all alone and confused. I guess loner’s got to be alone, right?

Verdict: Like the many movies before it Steel Frontier fallows the blueprint of A Fistful of Dollars/ Yojimbo to a T and this does get boring at times. Still the cool characteristics of Spaghetti Western are all there- wide shots, dramatic close ups and atmospheric soundtrack too (with a distinct mile-eastern flavor for good measure) and for a B movie it’s tight, fast moving and filled with  action and in truth that’s all you can expect.

So if you’re a fan of Mad Max and/ or Clint Eastwood flicks you should give it a shot.

Trivia: Beside being a model and an actor Joe Lara is also a singer/ songwriter and he published his first album album in 2009. You can see the video right here.