Directed by: Cirio H. Santiago
Starring: Steve Sandor
In a post-apocalyptic world, water is scarce and is the most sought-after commodity in the new desert-like earth. When a woman appears who knows where to get a large supply of water, an evil, Sid Haig-like baddie kidnaps and tortures her for the information. However, only one man can rescue the girl and help spread the agua to the masses – Stryker (Sandor), of course. So because it’s post-apocalypse, everyone puts on their wackiest getup and gets in their junkiest car, and the battle is on. During the “Quest For Water”, which isn’t a sequel to Quest for Fire (1981), Stryker and his babes have to contend with many obstacles, including some Jawa-like pygmies. Will they live to hydrate again?
Out of all the many post-apocalyptic movies that hit video store shelves in the 1980’s, our personal favorites tend to be the Italian ones, such as 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982) and Escape From the Bronx (1983). Italian Post-Ap’s (as we call them) (not really) seem to, generally speaking, have the most verve and pizazz. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for snoozers like Stryker, which doesn’t bring a lot to the table. We’ve probably seen more Cirio movies than anyone, and this ranks towards the bottom as far as what we’ve seen of his to date. He even repeated the formula again with Raiders of the Sun (1992), another Post-Ap slog, but that one at least has Richard Norton (Norton also played Straker – pronounced “striker”- in Crossfire, so they have that in common). Though on the bright side, here we have Steve Sandor.
While Sandor was unforgettable as Ollie Hand in Trained To Kill, U.S.A. (1973), here the character of Stryker has no real definition. We really get no sense of Stryker as a man or as a hero. On a scale for character development that we just invented, for the entire cast, not just Stryker, on a scale of 0-10, the CD scale for Stryker, the movie, is -5. That’s right, negative character development. There’s such a deficit, you end up owing the movie by the time the end credits roll. So in this particular wasteland, Stryker is just a generic dude with a beard.
Or perhaps more accurately, he’s just another supposed action hero in the 80’s named Stryker. Let us remember the aforementioned Richard Norton, as well as Lance Henriksen and Wings Hauser, among others. So you don’t really rally behind Stryker, as much as you might do with, say, Steve Rally. So with the movie as a whole, we’ve really seen it all before, so it’s not very engaging. And that’s certainly true in this case, as Stryker the movie is especially Mad Max (1979)-y. The filmmakers really didn’t even try to hide the fact that it’s a blatant knockoff. But that’s the problem: the lack of window dressing in that sense really hurts, and then boredom sets in. But in the positives column we have a cool score, and some neat violent bits, but those two things aren’t enough to keep it all afloat, unfortunately. The movie is as dry as the climate it takes place in.
So pray the “nuc-u-lar” (as the narrator in the intro part clearly pronounces it) bomb never hits, if for no other reason than it would mean we would be LIVING inside the world of Stryker. And that would be the real catastrophe.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty
Also check out a write-up from our buddies The Unknown Movies and The Video Vacuum!