The Film (3/5)
The Earth has turned into a giant desert after a deadly nuclear war. The world’s water supply is now at a record low, and is more valuable then gold, to the survivors. As a woman drives away with the secret of an underwater river in a cave, she is attacked by bandits. She is rescued by a stranger loner named Stryker (Steve Sandor), who may just be the last hope mankind has.
In 1979, Australian filmmaker, George Miller, rocked the global drive-in movie scene, with his lean and mean action revenge film, MAD MAX. While it takes a little inspiration from A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975), MAD MAX was a shocking and entertaining action epic that completely thrilled the world, quickly starting a new genre of action film, the Post-apocalyptic adventure. This genre completely grew after the release of MAD MAX 2 (aka THE ROAD WARIOR, 1981), which somehow topped the first film with break neck pacing and mind blowing stunts. The genre was an easy one to piggyback on, thanks to the basic needs for production. All you needed were cars, a desert, and plenty of angry people in leather.
The Post-apocalyptic genre spread throughout the world, with most of the movies coming from Italy. Not one to turn down a new tread, Roger Corman produced and released some entries in the genre from the Philippines. STRYKER (1983) is one of these Filipino mini epics. While not well made by any stretch of that word, the movie makes up for its sloppy presentation, with lots of action and energy. Director Cirio H. Santiago (SAVAGE, TNT JACKSON) keeps this near pointless film, going strong and fast, with some half way decent action. Most of these set pieces barely rise above aping THE ROAD WARRIOR, there still never the less fun.
STRYKER does take some bizarre turns. During the climax of the film, the hero is aided by an army of dwarf actors, which gives off a hilarious left turn refence to the then recent STAR WARS RETURN OF JEDI (1983). Also, to ape on the popular one an army action movies, Stryker gets a few scenes to single handily take down 40 men with a large machine gun. The soundtrack by Ed Gatchalian, is very out of place for most of the film, but features enough synth beats to make it forgivable.
Kino does another fantastic job giving this movie a lovely sound mix and transfer. The 2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio mix is fine with no hiss or problems. The score is a little over loud in parts. The sound effects are the big standouts. Each one is clear and sounds great on my Home Theater set up. Easy to read English subtitles are included.
The 1080p HD transfer is above average, with no major problems. There’s some minor film grain and a few moments of softness. The black levels are smooth, and most of the picture has a good hard focus.
The main extra is a commentary with director Jim Wynorski (LOST EMPIRE, CHOPPING MALL), who did odd jobs on this film. Wynorski has a lot of insider stories to tell and comes off as a nice and charming guy. Rounding out the set is a trailer gallery featuring: STRYKER, WHEELS OF FIRE, EQUALIZER 2000, THE SISTERHOOD, and DUNE WARRIORS.
STRYKER is nowhere near being a good film. With its numerous bloopers and off the wall editing, it fails to work as an action epic. Luckily, the film is quick and silly enough that it turns into a good MST3K type movie, to thrown on with drunken company. Kino does a good job rescuing this obscure Post-apocalyptic with a good A/V mix and a fun commentary. Recommended.