Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn
Metalstorm was made during the brief but painful resurgence of 3-D films that occurred in 1982 and 1983. Despite its 3-D status, Metalstorm is still a very cheap movie. Most of the film's budget seems to have gone into to coming up with the title Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, even though the film has very little metal, no storms, and Jared-Syn is neither destroyed nor does he cause much destruction.
On a faraway planet that looks suspiciously like Bronson Canyon, California, a miner and his daughter are confronted by raiders. One of the raiders, a cyborg named Baal (R. David Smith), squirts the miner with green goo that somehow transports the miner into another dimension, or something like that. While there, the miner is killed by Baal's father, Jared-Syn (Michael Preston). The miner's daughter, Dhyana (Kelly Preston), lives through the encounter with Baal and is later found by our nominal hero, Dogen (Jeffrey Byron). Dogen is a "seeker", and dresses like Mad Max.
Dogen and Rhodes ride around in Dogen's dune buggy for a while, get into a chase with Baal's toadies, and eventually find their way to the lost city, which turns out to be more of a clearing than a city. There Dogen confronts Jared-Syn -- sort of.
The biggest problem with Metalstorm is that the hero never does anything heroic. Jeffrey Byron is blandly handsome, but not athletic or charismatic. We once said that James Fransicus was who you got if Charlton Heston was unavailable. Well, if Fransicus isn't around, you get James Byron. Well, Charles Band would get Byron, but we don't recommend it.
Also adding to the tedium of Metalstorm is the 3-D aspect of the production. We've watched other 3-D movies in 2-D, so we're quite used to seeing shots of things being held towards the camera for a beat longer than they would be in regular film. Arms, tree branches, guns, are all thrust towards the camera. But Metalstorm also has numerous long, boring point of view shots from behind the wheel of Dogen's dune buggy. Perhaps these kind of shots would be more tolerable if the dune buggy were driving somewhere more interesting. Instead, we get lots and lots of footage of California scrub land rolling on by.
The title of this film, complete with colon, implies that there were other Metalstorm films that Band intended to make. The film's conclusion is certainly open-ended, as Jared-Syn escapes into another dimension via rocket-cycle. We thought it missed a rather obvious opportunity, though -- Syn could have escaped into 1980's Earth, which means Band could have made a science fiction film with the cost-saving location of modern L.A. With that kind of low-budget opportunity, he could have made a whole series of these films!
Oh, wait, that's right -- he called them the Trancers movies.
Review date: 11/23/99
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