25 March 2015

Project Terrible: DREAM WARRIOR + RAGE

Robert (Gaming Creatively / Mondo Bizarro) gave me something which isn't exactly terrible, but also far from being good. At least, it made me check out some other film and eventually turned this one-movie-review into a double feature...


Working Title:
A Man called Rage

USA / Croatia, 2003
Director: Zachary Weintraub


No, this has obviously nothing to do with "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors", and no, aside from following a character called 'Rage' in a post-apocalyptic world, this is no remake of the Italian "Rage" (a.k.a "A Man Called Rage" - see below). "Dream Warrior" is more like a post-apocalyptic version of "X-Men", set in a distant future where mutants with superhuman abilities get hunted and killed by human leader Parish who wants to wipe out everything impure of the planet - until mutant leader Rage comes along
and thwarts his plans...

Doesn't sound too original, huh? Well, as you can guess, "Dream Warrior" is a lame paint-by-numbers low-budget post-apo flick without substance or surprise. I'm not sure what Zachary Weintraub wanted to achieve because "Dream Warrior" clearly fails as both a homage to and reboot of classic 70s/80s post-apocalyptic exploitation films. The story is well-trodden and foreseeable, the plot twists are extremely predictable, the pacing is way too slow and tedious, and Weintraub's direction is just poor.

The movie looks like it was made for TV and nearly all of the filming locations were filmed in a weak and unimpressive way. There's no atmosphere, no tension, nothing that stands out or comes off as impressive or interesting. The few action scenes are all quite mediocre, the few special effects (levitating grenades, electric rays) are all rather laughable and the scenes with the goth queen in the orphanage and the blue-eyed baby were so unintentionally hilarious, I laughed my ass off completely.

The acting ranges from good to really, really bad. Lance Henriksen ("Aliens") delivers a solid performance, yet fails to make a lasting impression. Sherilyn Fenn ("Twin Peaks") and Richard Norton ("The Octagon") are both decent. Everyone else is either meh [especially main actor Daniel Goddard ("BeastMaster") and a highly underwhelming Isaac Hayes ("Escape from New York")] or just plain terrible, especially one-time-actress Zahra Swetz who delivers
one of the worst acting performances I've ever seen, even worse than Dominique Swain in "Fall Down Dead"

Not terrible, but very, very lame.


Original Title:
Rage - Fuoco incrociato

Alternate Title:
A Man called Rage

German Titles:
Rush 2 - Final Game / Rush Part 2 - Final Game

Italy / Spain, 1984
Director: Tonino Ricci
(as Anthony Richmond)


The false rumours about "Dream Warrior" being a remake of "Rage" made me curious, and so I checked out said movie. Well, aside from having a main character called 'Rage' doing stuff in a post-apocalyptic world, and an opening scene that consists of atomic bomb stock footage clips, "Rage" and "Dream Warrior" have absolutely nothing in common - and, as expected, "Rage" is a much better movie!

The story isn't good: a couple of good guys (Captain Strike a.k.a Rage and a couple of survivors) and a couple of bad guys (some guy called Slash and a couple of survivors) both try to optain a stash of Uranium which could help save mankind. That's it. Meh. Gladly, "Rage" delivers plenty of fun stuff that makes this flick a must-see, especially for Italo-freaks.

There's lot gun action and shoot-outs, lots of fist-fights and car chases, lots of fire and explosions There's radioactive zones and forbidden lands, magnetic hurricanes and lands of trembling rocks, gangs of cut-throats and deformed mutants. It's simply impossible to get bored by all these exploitation-shenanigans. Director Tonino Ricci usually was quite a terrible filmmaker (watch "Bakterion" and you know what I mean), but "Rage" surprisingly turned out to be a very solidly directed action romp that entertains from start to finish.

The acting is pretty much exactly what you expect from films like that: far from great, but decent and watchable, especially Ricci-regular Bruno Minniti (a.k.a Conrad Nichols), hottie Taida Urrozola, baddie Stelio Candelli ("Demons") and infamous Austrian genre-regular Werner Pochath ("Laser Mission"). Camera work and cinematography are thoroughly great (Giovanni Bergamini, "Cannibal Ferox") and the score is classic old-school Italo-epicness (Stelvio Cipriani, "Nightmare City") - aside from some bonkers disco music that totally doesn't fit in.

All in all, a super-cool Italo-gem, best enjoyed as a double feature together with "Hands of Steel".


Fun Fact:
In Germany, "Rage" was released as a sequel to "Rush", a movie directed by Tonino Ricci one year earlier, also with Bruno Minniti as the main actor.

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