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Deathsport
Todesrallye in Helix City / Giganten mit Stählernen Fäusten

USA 1978
produced by
Roger Corman for New World
directed by Henry Suso (= Nicholas Niciphor), Allan Arkush
starring David Carradine, Claudia Jennings, Richard Lynch, David McLean, William Smithers, Will Walker, Jesse Vint, H.B. Haggerty, John Himes, Jim Galante, Peter Cooper, Brenda Venus, Gene Hartline, Chris Howell, Valerie Rae Clark, Archie Freeman
story by Frances Doel, screenplay by Henry Suso (= Nicholas Niciphor), Donald Stewart, music by Andy Stein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It's Earth 1000 years into the future, the nuclear holocaust is long a thing of the past, & now the population is divided into 3 races, the evil Statesmen, the good Range Guides & the very evil Mutants. The Statesmen live in Helix City, &, being evil as they are, want to of course attack Triton City, home of the Range Guides - & they have a sinister weapon to do so, the Death Machines ... which are essentially motorbikes with a jazzed up front.

But since the leader of the Satesmen, Zirpola (David McLean) does not want to send the Death Machines into war untested, he has a few Range Guides captured to fight the Death Machines, driven by local prisoners, in gladiatorgames called (you might have guessed it) Deathsport.

& the Range Guides he has captured to put into the arena are Kaz (David Carradine) & Deneer (Claudia Jennings), while the Statesmen prisoners include doctor Karl (William Smithers) - for having diagnosed Zirpola's brain tumor, caused by radiation poisoning (of course) - & his son Marcus (Will Walker) - who wanted to break his father free.

However, the 2 Range Guides prove far too clever for the Death Machines, elimintating their adversaries pretty soon, but not only that, they manage to steal 2 of the motorbikes, race to freedom, & even invite Doc Karl & son to come with them.

But Ankar Moor (Richard Lynch), an evil guard, is hot on their trail with his soldiers, & when he learns about Zirpola being killed - he is, rather inexplicably, assassinated by a nude dancer (Valerie Rae Clark) -, he is only spurned in his chase - thinking if he brings home the body of Kaz, he will be the new leader of Helix City (don't ask).

Of course, our escape-party, in the meantime, face not only the dangers of Ankar Moor, but also those of storms in the desert they have to cross, & of the Mutants - who for some reason hold a kid hostage they have to rescue.

Of course they succeed in freeing the girl, &, at a fuel base, Kaz singlehandedly eliminates all of Ankar Moor's soldiers. Beaten, Ankar Moor challenges Kaz to a sword duel, which Kaz wins of course.

 

Rather badly made science fiction-actioner, with many impressive motorbike stunts ruined by bad editing, while the plot fails to build up & sustain any reasonable suspence - if the Death Machines are so darn good, why are the Range Guides eliminating them singlehandedly by the dozen, & why do the Statesmen rely on prisoners to drive the Death Machines instead of qualified bikers ? & if the Mutants are so darn dangerous, why can our heroes just walk in & save the girl without even being scratched ? All questions that are not answered but that ultimately bring the film down.

The final duel between Kaz & Ankar Moor though, with the 2 opponents contemplating large parts of the fight in their heads before actually starting to fight, predates similar scenes in Zhang Yimou's The Hero by some 25 years (though I'm rather sure - without proof - this device wasn't used in Deathsport for the first time).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD