Thursday, September 15, 2016

METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN (1983) (Blu-ray Review)

METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN (1983) 

Label: Scream Factory

Region Code: A
Duration: 84 Minutes

Rating: PG
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0, 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Charles Band
Cast: Mike Preston, Richard Moll, Tim Thomerson, Jeffrey Byron, Kelly Preston


Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983) is a sci-fi action film directed by Empire Pictures founder Charles Band (Puppet Master, Trancers) that owes no small amount of pilfered inspiration from the Mad Max movies. Here we have a wasteland ranger named Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) driving through the wasteland in a futuristic vehiclel - or something about as futuristic as something from Roger Corman produced Deathsport  (1978) or Battletruck (1982). Dogen is being pursued by a "skybike", which is sort of like the SkyCutter the Mutants flew around on in the Thundercats animated series. The skybike is being piloted by a mercenary working for the nefarious Jared-Syn, who is the true baddie in the movie, played by Mad Max 2 alum Mike Preston, who played Pappagallo in The Road Warrior. Not only did Charles Band borrow a lot of inspiration from Mad Max but he also snagged one of it's cast to star in this 3D adventure which sort of feels a bit like Mad Max by way of Flash Gordon, but on a budget that would make the Italian Mad Max rip-off Exterminators in the Year 3000 (1983) seems extravagant by comparison. Dogen shoots down the skybike and recovers a red crystal from the dead mercenary, these crystals figure prominently into the somewhat ambiguous storyline. 

Enter an old prospector and his lovely daughter Dhyana (Kelly Preston) who are mining for rare crystals when the prospector uncovers an abnormally large shard of the gem which should make him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. As he begins to celebrate the find Jared-Syn's son, the half-cyborg Baal (R. David Smith) arrives on scene, the hydraulic clamp-handed Baal squirts the miner with some green-goo which magically transports the miner to a weird alternate-reality, none of which is explained to any satisfaction, nonetheless he murdered. The daughter survives and forms an alliance with Dogen, and with the help of a shaman they are told the red crystal Dogen recovered is a storage device that can store human life force, which ties into a larger crystal in the possession of Jared-Syn. 


When Dhyana is later kidnapped by Jared-Syn Dogen seeks the help of a former ranger named Rhodes, played by Tim Thomerson of Trancers fame whom reluctantly aligns himself with Dogen. Together they venture into the wasteland to find Syn and rescue Dhyana. However, the journey is fraught with danger and the pair travel through the territory of the Cyclopean people where they must contend with the race of one-eyed warriors lead by Hurok (Richard Moll). The cyclopean are none too pleased that the rangers have trespassed on their sacred land, through hand to hand combat Dogen defeats Hurok and they are freed. 

The movie is a bit long in the tooth for an eighty-four minute movie, peppered with some fun idea and designs, but the damn thing becomes a bit lost inside it's own mythology, there is so much extraneous stuff happening that I found it all a bit hard to follow, the movie is very unfocused, but if you can check your brain at the door and come into this with some lowered expectations there is a some low-rent science fiction fun to be had, provided you can get past the lo-fi approach, which I was able to to do with out much of a problem, if you love b-movies this should not be a deterrent. . 


It is hard not to have fun with the cast of apocalyptic characters crammed into this one. Dogen looks like he walked right off the set off Mad Max with his black leathers and sidearm, but doesn't have a whole lot of presence. All the baddies could be torn from any of the Roger Corman's produced post-apocalyptic movies and the battle vehicles seem to be made from scraps of sheet metal mounted on VW chassis, everything is wonderfully cheap and cheesy, and I expected nothing less from the movie, and walked away a pretty happy camper. 

All characters are one-note cardboard cut-outs, there's no depth to any one of them, and with only an ounce or two of charisma to share amongst them at least they were cool to watch. They do what they can with the material, which is honestly not much, but at the movie only comes off as confusing, never quite boring. The mish mash of science and magic doesn't make a whole lot of sense either, you really have to check your brain at the door and just resign yourself to how dumb the whole thing is, and I enjoyed it on that level but make no mistake, this is a bad movie. 



Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory on a two-disc Collector's Edition with a brand new HD transfer of both the 2D and 3D presentation, housed on separate discs. Unfortunately I could not watch the Blu-ray 3D version of the movie which is a modern 3D experience, not the old blue-green glasses sort of 3D, they did a modern Blu-ray 3D conversion for it.I could not watch the 3D version but the 2D experience was very nice, the image was vibrant and crisp with some nice depth and clarity. The movie does have an abundance of cheesily composited special effects shots so the grain structure and contrast did fluctuate a bit but overall this is a very pleasing experience in HD. 

Audio chores are capably handled by DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and 5.1 mixes, both are clean and crisp, though I give my preferred viewing option to the stereo track, the surround mix suffers from some spacial artificiality in my opinion, not every movie needs and.or deserves a surround mix. Optional English subtitles are provided. 


The main extra on the Blu-ray includes a brand-new making of disc produced by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures with new Interviews With Director/Producer Charles Band, Actors Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll And Tim Thomerson, Screenwriter/Producer Alan J. Adler, Special Effects Artist Allan Apone, Make-up Artist Kenny Myers And Composer Richard Band. A super in-depth and candid doc that adds some serious value to the disc, even if the movie is only middling b-movie entertainment the interviews make for some great viewing, particularly from Charles Band who lays the production bare, including going into how the movie wound up being distributed by Universal during the post Jaws 3D craze. The piece is peppered with production art, rough sketches, original screenplay notes and other cool goodies. I find it fun one everyone talks about what a showman Band was at the time, dreaming up ideas without a script and selling the idea to distributors based on mock-ups, it certainly was a special time in cinema. Other extras include a radio spot, the original theatrical trailer, and an image gallery. 

Special Features: 

- NEW High Definition Transfer Presented In Both 2-D And 3-D!
- NEW High Noon At The End Of The Universe – Featuring Interviews With Director/Producer Charles Band, Actors Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll And Tim Thomerson, Screenwriter/Producer Alan J. Adler, Special Effects Artist Allan Apone, Make-up Artist Kenny Myers And Composer Richard Band (42 Mins) HD 
- Promotional And Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery (10 Mins) HD 
- Radio Spot (30 Second) 
- Original Theatrical Trailer (1 Mins) HD 


Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983) is a fun low-budget wanna-be science fiction epic loaded with 80s cheese and grandiose ideas executed on a shoe-string budget and it gets by on some 80s nostalgia and cheap action. The disc from Scream Factory looks nice and the extras are pretty great, this is wonderful stuff for the right-minded 80s sci-fi action fan, if you love cheap post-apocalyptic movies this needs to be on your wish-list.  

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