Wheels of Fire (Review)

Wheels of Fire

Gary Watkins as Trace
Laura Banks as Stinger
Lynda Wiesmeier as Arlie
Linda Grovenor as Spike
Joseph Anderson as Scourge
Jack S. Daniels as Scag
Directed by Cirio H. Santiago

Mad Max and it’s sequels were a big influence on post-apocalyptic action films. They spawned a long string of imitators, mostly created from low-budget film grinding countries like Italy and the Philippines. Hey, amazingly enough, this very film is a knock-off of Mad Max, and it was made in the Philippines! It’s almost as if I prepared the opening sentences for some sort of reason… Not only is this film a low budget rip-off that is nowhere near as good as the film it is aping, the film has a bonus feature not found in the Mad Max series: It hates women. Brutally. This movie takes women and knocks them around like they were Nazis or something. There is more misogyny in this movie than tea in China. More misogyny than bad films made in the Philippines. Hey, directed by Cirio H. Santiago of The Destroyers and T.N.T. Jackson fame, so it’s got to be….just as sub-par.

It’s the future, all cities are destroyed, and everyone drives around in the desert. What country is this? Maybe it’s Australia, which explained the deserts in Mad Max, but everyone is American, except for the non-main characters, who are all Filipino. So not only did all the cities die off, but the world has become a desert wasteland. This would lead one to wonder where food is coming from, except one is instead distracted from wondering where they get all the gasoline they use for their massive fleets of automobiles. Our hero is a man named Trace, the manliest name in the universe. Mad Trace. I can see it! Wait…I just lost it. Trace doesn’t have the screen presence of Mel Gibson, or even Gary Coleman. Mad Max had the Last of the V-8 Interceptors, while Trace has a late ’70s four-door with some painted plywood on the bumper and a fake Batmobile-style rocket engine on the end.

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The Destroyers (Review)

The Destroyers

aka The Devastator

Rick Hill as Deacon Porter
Katt Shea as Audrey
Terrence O’Hara as Spencer
Kaz Garas as Sheriff
Jack S. Daniels as Ox
Steve Rogers as Reese
Directed by Cirio H. Santiago

The 1980’s were a heyday of low-budget, direct to video action films imported from overseas to sit on the shelves of video rental places, where they enjoyed a brief stay in the sun before they were buried beneath next week’s batch of cheap films, until they got relegated to the corner covered with dust, and finally sold for $3 when the store goes out of business thanks to the new Blockbuster that opened next door and Joe Sixpack’s preference for 400 copies of George of the Jungle instead of the decent obscure stuff the local houses got in. As these films have a good chance of disappearing off the face of the Earth forever when their tapes rot away, it is important to preserve them in our memories before we think it is but a figment of our Alzheimer’s. Directed by the Director of TNT Jackson who eventually became one of the most prolific directors out of the Philippines. The story of Vietnam Veterans wronged and resorting to their flashback ways and gunning down all who oppose them is a common theme in films from the eighties. (For an example we’ve covered before, see The Exterminator.)

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