Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)
Hi all, Nate here. So, I find the weirdest shit on the internet these days. Maybe it's because there's just so much insanity in the real world, but it seems in the last few years the sheer amount of strange things lurking in the dark corners of the internet has skyrocketed. That's good for me (and for you?), because it allows me to find an excellent 1080p movie (this one in particular) uploaded to, of all places, a Polish Air Force fighter squadron pilots' wives association forum. Rocking the title Cosmic Storm, it's dubbed in Polish, with unhelpful German subtitles, but you just can't walk away from a free Hi-Def 1080p sci-fi/post-apoc b-movie, amiright? Of course, this is actually an American movie released under the stupid title of Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, which sounds like a weakass Iron Maiden tribute band. Cosmic Storm just rolls off the tongue better, don't you agree? I don't care if you agree.
So, keeping in mind the obvious Star Wars and Road Warrior influences, let's venture off into the far distant reaches of known space to a planet that looks shockingly just like Southern California (sigh). It's always amazing to me, as a budding astronomer, just how many alien worlds in distant galaxies have the exact same rock formations as Bronson Caverns State Park outside of LA. Weird coincidence, eh? The population of hardscrabble miners are all dressed in raggy ponchos and earthtone Jedi robes (of course) and seem to be one step from starving to death at any minute. Every single person lives in dank caves in rocky cliffsides or under tarps in the middle of the sandy ravines in the blazing sun, despite the fact that in wide shots you can clearly see verdant, watered hills and forests in the background. Hey, maybe you all should live in the pine forest by that river instead of sharing a dirt hole with the lizards and scorpions? Maybe? Fine, you be you.
Do you have a zoning permit?
Onto this godforsaken Tatooine rip-off drops Space Cop, hot on the trail of an escaped bad guy (Evil Guy, duh). Space Cop is dressed exactly like Mad Max from Road Warrior, with Han Solo's haircut and the vacant dead eyes and solid oaken thespian style of virtually any cheap, 1980s two-bit, grade-z acting school dropout to be found hanging around the parking garages of studio lots, begging for any passing exec to just give them a shot, man.
This being that kind of movie, Space Cop comes equipped with his own vehicle, which befitting the post-apoc theme, is little more than sheet metal plates welded onto a stripped-down Jeep chassis. It looks shoddy and terrible, and sadly gets more screentime than most of the human characters. Seriously, it's in probably 80% of shots in the movie's first two-thirds, making me wonder if the director took it home afterwards and drove it around his off-Hollywood neighborhood until the Johnsons across the street called the cops on him because it was an eyesore and had no muffler.
Checking the hampster wheel.
They need a girl to prove that Space Cop isn't one of the gays so future Mrs. John Travolta Kelly Preston enters the scene. Despite just seeing her own father murdered by bandits not five minutes ago, she and Space Cop have an Insta-Love Connection with a swooning music cue and everything. Fawning looks and timid hand-holding are the order of the day, perhaps they will have some sloppy, dirty humping later (or not). Their mutual hesitation to get naked probably stems from the obvious fact that neither of them has had a shower in weeks and Space Cop's hair is all greasy as fuck. Nasty.
This is how I met my first wife also.
Coming home from her mother's house.
They are now ambushed by raiders, led by a rejected Power Rangers villain I'll just call Cyborg. The raider team gets their asses kicked but Cyborg manages to spray Space Cop with some putrid green gooey LSD spunk. This works-on-contact chemical causes Space Cop to visit an acid trip dreamworld Astral Plain where he meets the Evil Guy (who can travel here?) who tries to suck his soul into a crystal. We actually saw a version of this earlier with the girl's dad, but it looks super dumb here. Despite the fact that he's known this girl for all of ten minutes, Space Cop's mortal soul is saved by the power of love (awwww!). Does any of this make a lick of sense to you? It does? Are you on acid? Because if not I got a cousin in Novato who can hook you up, bro.
Dry ice fog? Check!
Love in the wastelands.
The Evil Guy then teleports Kelly Preston to his basecamp (whaa, people can teleport but everyone still drives cars around?). Why seems obvious on a third watch, because he wants to mess with Space Cop's head and also so he can have some chick to leer at. Oh, and, yes, Evil Guy has a basecamp in the desert where he's set himself up as a Messiah-like leader of the huddled masses, probably by promising them he'll build a wall on the Mexican border and bring back coal industry jobs. All of his followers (though not him) have gouged out one eye in a show of loyalty. I would have maybe suggested matching t-shirts or maybe even tattoos for the hardcore types, losing an eye for your leader seems a bit Putinistic to me.
Evil Guy's collar is high.
She's his now.
Because Evil Guy doesn't want Space Cop to be lonely, he helpfully teleports in an angry, murderous Energy Monster as a replacement. The “special effects” for this creature are howlingly bad, but certainly passable for the budget and the two-week shooting schedule. Space Cop kills the Energy Monster by lasering a rock, from which spews water, into which the Energy Monster unwittingly steps, causing him to short out and die. Ok. Hey, how come we never see this again? Seems like a good idea for Evil Guy to teleport Energy Monsters all over the place, really shake things up, maybe it was a one-shot sort of thing?
He uses a Skylander toy?
Drawn on the negative?
Space Cop needs to find a Crystal Mask in the Lost City to defend himself against the Soul Crystals. I wish to hell I was making some of that up but I'm not. To find it, Space Cop has to go to a local village (maybe the only village?) to find an old Comic Relief Guy to guide him to the Lost City. The funny dude is a down-on-his-luck former soldier who looks like a Crocodile Dundee cosplayer and doesn't seem to realize this movie will kill his acting career. Time will show that this character is so under-utilized and poorly-written that they could have edited him out of the film completely and it wouldn't have effected the plot one bit. It's not like he and Space Cop make a great team, or have jaunty lockerroom banter together, both actors seem to genuinely hate each other and I'm sure someone got their stupid drunken face punched one night before wrap because they wouldn't shut the hell up about how they once saw Cher naked at a party in Malibu. And for the record, that wasn't Cher, that was a transvestite hooker, so shut the hell up.
Just hanging out in Mos Eisley.
So many feelings.
The Lost City is actually pretty east to find, for being a “Lost” City and all, it's just a short drive through San Bernardino County to a gravel pit that would rent by the hour. The Crystal Mask, despite being touted as a “Lost Relic”, is just lying there on the ground in the open ('the fuck?). They do get attacked by some Dune-esque sand worms/sock puppets, and I'm sure they got a bit sunburned, but for the most part their trip to the Lost City was pretty blah.
That looks plastic.
And that looks rubber.
On the way back to town, they are ambushed by some of Evil Guy's henchmen, captained by Richard Moll from Night Court. His one-eye make-up is fantastic, especially in the bright sunlight, though his Mississippi trailer court rattail is distracting. After hostage negotiations go south, Space Cop is forced into a one-on-one combat to-the-death with Richard Moll. Yes, yes, this is where Kirk fought the Gorn, yes, we know. Space Cop wins, of course, but he spares Richard Moll's life, also of course, and has won a friend and ally for life, duh. Just once in these movies when this cliched thing happens I want to see the loser instantly stab the winner in the back as soon as he turns around, that's how you make up for being beat in the first place.
Bull the Bailiff, the early years.
Make some gunpowder!
For some reason, Space Cop and Comic Relief Guy now decide to pick a fight with Cyborg and his raider henchmen, driving into their camp and starting a car chase across the desert. There's a surprising amount of reused footage from earlier in the movie, but overall this chase sequence is pretty cool. At some point they get away and Space Cop puts on the Crystal Mask and is transported to the LSD Dreamworld. This time he's shirtless and holding an axe, with which he chops at a burning tree that screams in pain and bleeds. I don't understand anything about what I just watched.
What the hell?
Since they stopped running, it's no surprise that Cyborg and his gang have caught up to them. Space Cop rips off Cyborg's arm, tosses it to the side, and screams randomly into the sky like a drunken Comanche warrior in a 1970's disco western. It's in slo-mo, too, of course. During the fight Comic Relief Guy is gravely injured (his blood is bright, censor-approved candyapple red) and looks to be a goner.
Life is rough in California.
Leaving his partner to die in the dirt, Space Cop follows Cyborg's green blood trail through Bronson Canyon, across the dirt road behind the gas station, and all the way to Griffith Park's public use area to where Evil Guy's camp is set up. It's nighttime now and Space Cop saunters into the camp and there's a dramatic verbal showdown between two scenery-gnawing community theater actors who both just learned that their payroll checks bounced. There's also a Giant Crystal here, maybe, not sure why. Space Cop gets the crowd's attention eventually and outs Evil Guy as a lying snake-oil salesman who stole the election by appealing to hillbilly idiots and disenfranchised manufacturing sector workers. The Crystal Skull is broken, Richard Moll turns sides and murders Cyborg, Kelly Preston's hair and make-up girl is in-frame for a second, and shit gets real in the desert.
”Make FakeTatooine Great Again!”
The Evil Guy flies away on a Speeder Bike and Space Cop gives chase on another one that was just parked over there, gassed-up with the keys in it, just waiting for some plot-relevant Hero to come along and jump aboard. The green screen work here is simply abysmal, this scene would have looked tons better in shitty 240p grainy tape transfer, you need to be able to hide the element transitions better. In bright, clean Blu-Ray quality it looks like something Kelby could do while drunk(er). Just when it looks like he's going to be caught, the Evil Guy opens a wormhole portal that looks like a broken kaleidoscope crossed with an 8-bit vector line program and disappears. And, seriously, these are Imperial Speeder Bikes from Return of the Jedi, which is kinda weird as that movie was from 1985 and this one was released two years before that. Has George Lucas ever admitted to stealing the Speeder idea from this movie? I know he “borrowed” a lot of elements from other movies, who is to say George didn't catch this on VHS one night and said, “Hey, I could do that!”.
He seems happy.
Bet that looked worse in 3-D.
So, Evil Guy has escaped (to his trailer to negotiate his salary for the sequel) and Space Cop is pissed. But he's done some good, I guess, the miner revolution has been crushed, the crystal subplot has been forgotten, and former murderous brigand Richard Moll is now in charge of the whole planet, which won't end badly for anyone, of course. Space Cop and Kelly Preston are free to go off hand-in-hand to hopefully take a shower and maybe change into something that doesn't reek of stale cigarettes and gaffers tape. The stinger is Comic Relief Guy, back from the dead, stopping to give them a ride in Space Cop's truck, which is funny because there's no room for more than two people in there so I'm guessing Kelly Preston had to ride on the tailgate.
Where are they walking to?
Three things, firstly, no matter how hard they tried to set this up for a sequel, it didn't happen. Why? Who knows, but most likely because this movie was a miserable sack of infected donkey balls that made so little money that the director had to sell his house to cover the last of the production bills. One shudders at the thought that the continuing adventures of Low Rent Space Cop might exist in some parallel universe.
Is he going to be in the sequel, too?
Secondly, typed words can never do justice to just how bugged-out Space Cop's eyes were the whole movie. I don't know for sure, but I went to a lot of frat parties in the '80s and I'd bet a testicle that that dude was on mountains of coke the entire shoot. Here, tell me that's not some high-quality Colombian blow right there.
I can quit anytime!
And lastly, and I cannot stress this enough, Kelly Preston does not get naked at all in this movie for reasons that completely escape me. What sort of high-concept, general-audience, artsy-fartsy movie did they think they were making here? With the crappy script, the cheapass sets, and the lack of chicken fingers on the craft services table, did the director really think he was going to end up with anything other than a forgettable, direct-to-Blockbuster b-movie? This film sucks in every way, so you might as well give us some boobies, right? Right?
Lucky bastard (him, not her).
Written in April 2017 by Nathan Decker.
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