Youtube Film Club: Steel Frontier (1995)

The birthday haul

The birthday haul

Thanks to £6 and the local second-hand shop, I am in possession of 13 films. One of them I’ve already reviewed on here (“Ninja Terminator”) and one of them is really good (“Drive”) but there’s going to be some amazing action in there, and you will get to read about them. It’s also sort of close to this site’s original remit (as the Poundland DVD Review).

Anyway, if you want scenes seemingly selected at random from classic Westerns, grafted onto some poorly developed post-apocalyptic background (or “Mad Max meets The Man With No Name”, as IMDB helpfully sums up), then this is the film for you. The small town of New Hope, which survives thanks to a process they have for turning old car tyres back into usable oil, and lots of car tyres, is invaded by a group called the United Regime, although at other times they refer to themselves as the Death Riders. Anyway, they slaughter a bunch of people and enslave the rest, taking over the oil business. The main man, General Quantrell (Brion James, who appeared in so many great films), has a gun so powerful it blows a man thirty feet back…but that’s evidently just a lucky shot, because it’s never referenced again.

Driving through the wilderness is Yuma, played by Joe Lara, who was in scores of dreadful-sounding films from the 90s before seemingly retiring from the business around 2000. He’s just doing his thing until he interrupts the United Regime guys trying to round up people who fled New Hope, and then in a surprisingly exciting and stunt-filled car chase kills several of them before his capture. He decides to join the United Regime guys, but then uses his position to sow discord in their ranks, rescue a beautiful woman from her would-be rapist and generally be a badass, before helping the remaining townsfolk drive them out for good.


There’s lots for the bad film afficionado to appreciate here. Yuma kills some desert creature for food at the beginning, but by the time he’s walked over to the corpse ten seconds later rigor mortis has set in. Most of the bad guys are the most hilarious over-actors I’ve seen in a long time, and they seem to really relish their craziness – along with the desert mutants (called Roach-Eaters) this film is packed full of people who’d prefer to scream their dialogue. The famous scene from “Shane” where a dead body is delivered to the station, is ripped off here by a multiple of 5, and the fact that dead bodies tend not to stand up is ignored. There’s also a rather bizarre LA gang style initiation into the United Regime.

But, I’ve got to say I enjoyed it. This is the sort of film that will never be made again, a B movie with a big budget, where the huge explosions are absolutely real (they must have found an old set, or village that needed demolition doing, because some of the stuff that gets blown up is massive) and dozens of cars and trucks get detonated or smashed to pieces too. No big stars (much as I love Brion James, he’s not a marquee name) and, if I’m being fair, no originality either. It’s not the greatest film you’ll ever see, but it’s plenty of fun and you can play “spot the film they ripped off”, scene by scene.

Rating: thumbs up



6 thoughts on “Youtube Film Club: Steel Frontier (1995)

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