Home Video Hovel: Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, by Chase Beck
Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn is a 3-D film directed by Charles Band. It is set on a distant desert planet in the far future. However, the details of this setting might elude the viewer as they are only spelled-out in detail in the trailer. As an audience, we are thrown directly into the action, such as it is. The film, a sci-fi western heavily influenced by The Road Warrior, incudes long stretches of slow, poorly choreographed, automotive action. The main character, Dogen (Jeffrey Byron), a leather-clad, gravelly-voiced ranger (as if that means anything in this setting) drives around in an all-terrain vehicle looking for Jared-Syn. While Dogen’s vehicle might have looked cool in 1983, today it comes across as a car with an aluminum shell welded over the top of it. Along the way, he encounters mutant cyborgs led by a pre-Night Court Richard Moll, the beautiful miner Dhyana (Kelly Preston), glowing soul crystals, sand pits, dog-faced snakes, slow-moving monsters, murderous locals, and much more. Oh, so much more.
Jared-Syn’s (The Road Warrior’s Mike Preston) plan is to steal people’s life-force by pressing a crystal against their neck. Once they’ve been transported into an alternate dimension by a viscous, green fluid projected from the tip of the prosthetic arm of his half-human/half-cyborg son, Baal (R. David Smith). While the story is needlessly esoteric and nearly incomprehensible, the character designs and costumes actually show some surprising creativity. The antagonist Jared-Syn wears an impressive foam muscle suit reminiscent of the still suits in David Lynch’s Dune. Jared-Syn’s son, Baal a half-human cyborg with a telescoping arm, is an impressive combination of design, costuming, sculpting, and practical effects. With all of the film’s spectacular costumes and creatures, it is too bad that it devotes most of its time to car battles. Cars that are gently nudged off the road in one scene careen wildly over cliffs in the next shot only to burst into flames in mid-air. It’s as if they were made of matches and held together by kerosene soaked rags.
Band makes great use of the 3-D gimmick. Weapons and beams of energy are constantly flying towards the screen. Over the course of the film, we see interdimensional liquid, a spiked ball, lasers, and even a sai projected at us. Perhaps my favorite 3-D effect is when Dogen’s car drives by a branch in the road and the camera follows it, centers on it, and slowly pushes in, lingering on the branch as it projects off the screen towards the viewer. I preferred the beauty and framing of this 3-D shot to all of the crazy stuff flying towards the audience.
The film is 84 minutes long but it drags in parts. The 2-disc Blu-ray release includes a 3-D disc and a disc with a standard version of the feature. The standard disc includes a wonderful 40-minute making-of documentary that would overshadow the film were it not for the strange horizontal blue discoloration towards the bottom of the screen during most of the interview clips.
Made for a paltry budget on a limited film schedule, Metalstorm: The Legend of Jared-Syn is ultimately a disappointment. The title promises more than the film delivers. Unless I missed it, there is not a single storm of metal during its entire runtime. The motivations of most of the characters are vague. Much like the dangerously flammable cars in the film, Metalstorm seems to be held together solely by empty promises and a laughably thin screenplay.