Stryker (1983) – By Duane L. Martin

 

In a post-apocalyptic future, water is not only incredibly scarce, but a commodity that both men and women will fight and die for, finding an actual source of pure, clean water is something akin to finding paradise. Either fortunately or unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened, and now the fight is on to see who controls it.

People in this new world have gathered into groups both for defense, and to acquire the resources they need to survive. Stryker is the brother of the leader of one of those groups, and yet he’s more the lone wolf type. He was emotionally scarred by witnessing the death of his wife at the hands of a rival leader after they’d been captured, and ever since then he’s mostly kept quiet and stayed away from larger groups of people. Now his heroism is needed more than ever when the daughter of a friend of his brother comes out of hiding to tell them that they’ve found a tremendous source of clean, fresh water. They actually found it years ago, but her father didn’t keep up his end of the bargain he’d made. Whoever found water first was supposed to find and tell the other so they could all share it, but he got greedy. Now they need Stryker and his brother’s help to secure the water from the evil man who killed Stryker’s wife.`

This movie is cheesy as hell, but that’s not why I wanted to review it. It’s dubbed in a way that will amuse you, but that’s not why I wanted to review it. It’s got tons of gorgeous women, but…well ok, that was probably a factor in there somewhere, but even that’s not the reason why I wanted to review it. So why did I want to review it then? Midgets. Lots and lots of midgets, all dressed up like little midget barbarians, and they’re all friends of Stryker’s, so they end up helping out when there’s fighting to be done, which is nothing short of pure awesome!

There are parts of this film that will feel highly derivative of The Road Warrior, though it doesn’t have nearly as many car chases. There are two problems with this film that are a bit of a head scratcher. First, they never explain where they’re getting all the fuel for their vehicles in this nearly waterless, devastated world. At least in The Road Warrior they had a refinery. Second, they don’t seem to be all that short on ammo, which is also not explained. Did I really expect explanations from a movie like this? No, not really. Actually, it makes it more fun when they don’t explain it. It’s sort of like Herschell and his Elmer Fudd gun the night the walkers drove everyone off the ranch in The Walking Dead. I’ve never seen one man shoot so many rounds out of a standard pump shotgun without reloading. He had no extra ammo on him that was visible, and yet…boom boom boom boom boom boom boom… Twenty-three shots before he finally pulls a few shells out of his pocket to reload. Even a Utas UTS-15 only hold a maximum of 16 rounds, and that thing’s a beast. Don’t even get me started on the fact that they were tossing away empty magazines, or the ridiculous looking tank the bad guys were driving around in. Anyway, I digress.

The acting in this film is exactly what you’d expect from a post apocalyptic movie from 1983. Everyone’s so serious about everything that it makes it even cheesier than it already was. Physically the cast was pretty standard in their acting, but I really want to talk about that, because that’s also a really special part of the film, at least for me.

See, there used to be a midget actor known as Weng Weng. He made a few films where he played the role of a spy / action hero that for those in the know have become some of the most awesome films ever created. I mean, the cheese in those films was just breathtaking. One of his film had a whole tribe full of midgets that helped him and his giant of a partner fight the bad guys at the end. I should have known this film was made there, but I didn’t realize it until just now when I got to thinking about it and looked it up. If you’ve seen one of these Weng Weng films, you’ll kinda know what to expect from Stryker as far as production quality, the dubbing, the acting in general, etc… If you haven’t, just go to YouTube, type Weng Weng in the search, and get ready for some awesomeness. You can even find the full films on YouTube if you want to watch them.

This new blu-ray release from Kino Lorber has a really nice looking transfer, and for special features includes audio commentary by filmmaker Jim Wynorski, and a trailer gallery. I’m also delighted to say that both of the releases I reviewed for this issue from Kino Lorber Studio Classics included subtitles! I’ve been complaining about the lack of subtitles for a long time now, so I don’t know if my tiny little voice out in the internet universe was finally heard, or if they simply decided to do it on their own, but it’s a development that I’m incredibly happy to see. I’m married to someone who has partial hearing loss, so subtitles on a film allow her to catch anything she might miss in the audio, and thereby allows her to fully enjoy the film. It’s a personal thing for me, and I honestly can’t tell you how happy I am about the fact that they seem to be including them as a standard part of the releases now. I guess we’ll see what comes in the future, but good on Kino for doing this.

Anyway, I now know why I enjoyed this film so much. The whole “Made in the Philippines” thing I was talking about before explains it all perfectly. Plus, I just really dig these post-apocalyptic films from the eighties. There was something so raw about them that got lost in the slick production values of the more modern films. It’s almost like they’re able to create a connection with the viewer that the modern films can’t, because they’re too polished.

Can I recommend it? Hell yeah I can recommend it! If you dig these types of films, then you need to order yourself a copy of this one for your collection. You won’t regret it.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out it’s page on the Kino Lorber website here: https://www.kinolorber.com/film/Stryker