Saturday, 6 May 2017


1983, Philippines
dir. Cirio H. Santiago
cast: Steve Sandor, Andrea Savio, William Ostrander

After nuclear war turns the Earth into a parched wasteland, water becomes the most vital commodity. A lone warrior named Stryker rescues a woman who knows the location of a hidden spring from the clutches of the local warlord and turns her over to the rebel group. They form an alliance to protect the spring from the warlord's army, but are soon betrayed and come under siege, leading to a bloody battle that Stryker turns the course of singled handedly.
This was Santiago's first post-apocalypse movie and he established a blueprint he would rarely deviate from with the seven or so films that would follow, all made for Roger Corman's New World Pictures and was working on Water Wars when he passed away in 2008. The films generally involve a taciturn, lone wolf hero, a wasteland setting (usually post war, though some  films would not bother establishing the nature of the apocalypse), a commodity in short supply (water, petrol, gunpowder), a Mad Max inspired look, a cast of hundreds, often including a large amount of vehicles (your money goes a long way in the Philippines and even stretches to tanks in some films), various ill defined factions (you may get some vague back story in some of the films), Amazon Warriors in hot pants and dwarves.
Even if the films are extremely derivative and repetitive, they're always enjoyable, Santiago was a competent director and understood what his audience wants- fights, car chases, and dwarves and never fails to deliver on these fronts. Stryker is one of his better films, if for no other reason that as it was the first, it feels the freshest. It's also got the most blatant steals from Mad Max 2 (a tanker hijack that's modelled on the climax, the female characters costumes are a direct steal of the Warrior Woman).
See also Wheels Of Fire, Equalizer 2000, Future Hunters, The Sisterhood, Raiders Of The Sun, Dune Warriors, Bloodfist 2050, Water Wars.

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