Battletruck (1982) Harley Cokeliss

Battletruck (1982)
aka Warlords of the 21st Century (1982) 
Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Postnuke
Country: New Zealand | Director: Harley Cokeliss
Language: English | Subtitles: None
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 | Length: 92mn
Bdrip H264 Mp4 - 1920x1036 - 23.976fps - 1.76gb

Following the Great Oil Wars, society as we know it reverts to a barbarous state and gasoline becomes a precious rare commodity. The ruthless Colonel Straker (well played with hard and cruel resolve by James Wainwright) rides around the countryside in his formidable heavily armored battletruck with his vicious gang of marauders. When Straker and his men terrorize the peaceful commune of Clearwater for food and supplies, mysterious laconic loner motorcyclist Hunter (a solid and likable performance by Michael Beck) comes to the commune's rescue.

Director Harley Cokeliss, who also co-wrote the simple, but effective script with Irving Austin and John Beech, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, presents a plausibly harsh and lawless futuristic society in which the fittest and most brutal reign supreme over everyone else, stages the exciting action scenes with real skill and aplomb, draws the characters with a bit more depth than you would expect (sure, the protagonists are quite engaging and the villains are truly hateful, but neither are depicted as one-note cardboard cut-outs), and maintains a generally serious tone throughout along with a few inspired touches of sharp sarcastic humor.

This film further benefits from sound acting from an able cast: the pretty Annie McEnroe makes for a very spirited and appealing heroine as Straker's spunky wayward daughter Corlie, Bruno Lawrence provides hilarious comic relief as Straker's grubby, dim-witted lackey Willie, a pre-"Cheers" John Ratzenberger has a nice sizable role as amiable commune dweller Rusty, and Randy Powell is appropriately slimy as the traitorous and treacherous Judd. The titular battletruck rates as an impressively powerful and imposing monolithic vehicular monstrosity. Cinematographer Chris Menges offers plenty of striking shots of the truck and makes good use of the desolate rural New Zealand locations. Kevin Peek's robust and rousing score hits the groovy rockin' spot. A fun and worthwhile flick.

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