Raiders of the Sun (1992)

Yeah, baby!!! That's the Official PA Seal of Quality right there!

A nuclear war has hit the planet Earth (yada yada yada, you've heard this all before). The exact setting is not stated, though I would suggest Western America, maybe Utah or Nevada. That's just a total guess, but it's as good as any. The technology, weaponry, clothing, and vehicles we see are about the level of the early 1990s. Nothing at all in this movie suggests anything futuristic, no lasers or robots or the like. The level of decay and wear suggests a generation or so, nothing more and surely nothing less. Therefore, I feel pretty good about saying that our War Day was about 1992 and our movie opens around the year 2020. Gee, that's a familiar date...

As with most of these PA movies, the world has been reduced to a rock quarry outside Manila, in the Philippines. What doesn't look like a rock quarry looks just like an abandoned sugar cane factory in the Manila suburbs.

Rock quarries are awesome.

Typical set, a plywood and drywall "fort" in a rock quarry.

The characters in our movie are driven by an insane quest for gunpowder to keep their guns firing and their empires expanding. Fine, but you'd think they'd try and conserve it more than what we see onscreen. M-16s on full auto waved around at long range isn't the best way to maximize a scare resource. Neither are all those badly-aimed mortars and artillery shells, but who's counting.

In this PA world, there are clear and sharp lines between the forces of good and evil. The wonderfully named "Alfa League" are the "good guys", a large and well-organized band of fighters intent on returning freedom and liberty to this ravaged land. They seem to be legitimate in their motivations and they all do look very spiffy in their matching yellow vests and field hockey helmets. I'd say that there are around 400 of them, give or take.

Alfa League troops on the move.

The Alfa League has a number of ex-military vehicles, including some big six-wheel cargo trucks and some M-151 jeeps. In one scene there appears to be at least one LVTP-5, an amphibious tracked landing vehicle of great size and girth. All these rumble around throughout the movie, often at high speeds. You'd think that gasoline would be a bigger problem than gunpowder in this post-holocaust world, as gas is hard to refine. Well, I guess you could run them on ethanol you distill yourself, using stills and vegetation. Grains, sugarcane, even corn maize can all be distilled into crude ethanol fuel, you just have to let the organic matter ferment for a while before you distill it. Sure, the octane rating would be much higher so you'd have to tweak the engines a bit, and you'd lose a lot of performance as ethanol tends to break down rubber and plastic, but you could at least keep them running that way. Umm...I seem to have drifted away from the review.

Alfa League jeep.

Alfa League truck, good view of the helmet, too.

Anyway, the weapons of the Alfa League are many and varied, including M-16 rifles, M-4 carbines, Thompson submachineguns, shotguns, and .45 pistols. We also see a fair amount of heavy weapons, such as M-60 machineguns, rocket launchers, mortars, and heavy howitzers towed behind the trucks. Again, if gunpowder is a problem here, they don't seem to show it.

Alfa League artillery, M101 105mm field guns, certainly fired by Filipino Army regulars dressed up like movie extras.

Note in this pic the modifications to the basic M-16, which are kinda cool.

M2 60mm mortars, short-ranged, but effective.

More Alfa League weapons, these being Soviet-made RPG-7s (with dummy training rounds).

The Alfa League is led by Commander Shelton, a dashing man in a cheesy leather vest and a jaunty sailor hat (with a patch that looks like it was just sewed on five minutes ago) who runs the League through loyalty and leadership skills. He also sports a wicked cool eyepatch, which counteracts the lameness of his fake British I-want-to-be-Higgins-on-Magnum-PI accent.

Commander Shelton ordering an extra large pizza with sausage and mushrooms.

Now there are also a number of mercenaries in the employ of the Alfa League. These are both rank-and-file soldiers and seasoned commanders, and they tend to dress more causally, with a lot more leather and chest hair. Two of these hired guns will play major parts in our movie, two guys named Brodie and Talbot.

Brodie is a stalwart killing machine with a heart of gold, a muscled Australian with a nice haircut and some serious karate skills. Brodie's background is unknown, how he came here, what he plans on doing next, all we know is that for now he's fully on the Alfa League's side. So much so that he's been given command of a section of soldiers and seems to have the full confidence of the League's leaders. Brodie is played by Richard Norton, a poor man's Mel Gibson (or a rich man's Crocodile Dundee...) with the thickest Queensland accent this side of Jeff the Wiggle.

Brodie, checking his voice mail on company time.

Brodie looking all badass with his blow-dried hair and his leather shirt and his M-16.

The other mercenary, Talbot, also is given very little character background. He's kind of a beefier Heath Ledger-looking guy, with a thing for suede and shotguns. It seems strange to have two action heroes in one movie, but it seems to work and neither tries to upstage the other much.

Talbot. You know, he looks kinda like Orlando Bloom more than Heath Ledger. I hate Orlando Bloom.

Alright, you can't have good without evil, and evil in our movie takes the form of "Clay's Army". Clay's Army is led by a man named Clay (duh), a scrawny, twitchy, overly-violent psychopath who looks a bit like David Carridine strung-out on heroin or David Bowie on any given Tuesday. Clay was once a high-level officer in the Alfa League, before being ousted for being a traitor to the cause. He then gathered up all the scum and villainy of the wastelands and formed his own army, sworn to take down the Alfa League. Clay's look is always the same, black jeans and hat and a ridiculous black spray-painted set of football pads. Give Clay credit, though, he leads by example, always out in front leading the charge, gun blazing. It's that sort of hands-on leadership that makes him such a charismatic figure, someone who his men will follow blindly.

Clay, channeling Rommel here.

Getting a head count on Clay's Army is difficult, but I'd be safe to say that it's in the hundreds. At the beginning of the movie, before the opening battle, it's probably around 200 or so. At the end, after a lot of attrition during the movie, it's probably down to around 50.

Black-clad soldiers of Clay's Army, not exactly the best blend-in camouflage for desert terrain, eh?

Clay's second-in-command is named Ackerman, a tall, scraggly dude who looks like a southern Mississippi biker. He's the sort of man that Clay ought to shoot in the head right now, because he's just ambitious and powerhungry enough on his own that he might one day decide that he could lead the Army better than Clay. These sorts of quasi-bandit marauder armies rarely have more than one strong leader at the top, and if they do, they tend to devour themselves and fragment over time.

Ackerman, wicked beard, but the sailor hat makes him look gayer than a handbag full of rainbows.

Clay's Army is composed of mostly foot soldiers, but a select cadre of them ride around in a number of typical PA cars and trucks, straight out of The Road Warrior's back lot. The men are generally armed with most the same small arms as the Alfa League, which makes sense as they are an offshoot of them. The notable exceptions are different kinds of rocket launchers and more of the unmodified M-16s.

Some of Clay's vehicles.

Some more of Clay's vehicles, the flag's a nice touch.

Flamethrower on Clay's truck. I wonder, though, about the belts of machinegun ammo over the gunshield, as there doesn't seem to be a weapon for them.

Clay's rocket launchers, which are US Marine Corps SMAW 83mm. They must have found a massive stockpile of these somewhere, because they fire them non-stop.

Clay's other rocket launchers there on the left, neat three-barreled design.

Clay's mortars, also M2 60mm tubes.

Alright, back to the movie. We open with an epic battle in a rock quarry (where else...) between the Alfa League and Clay's Army. This will later be known as the "Battle of Brokedown Canyon", which is just cool. The set-up is typical, with the bad guys taking the highground as the good guys enter the scene in a long column. As the League is bringing a lot of artillery and heavy weapons, we see how this is going to end.

Battle is given.

Unable to counter the Alfa League's heavy artillery, and generally lacking defensible positions, Clay's Army is rather quickly driven off the ridgeline. Bullets fly, men scream, shrapnel zings, and roaring explosions send plumes of black smoke into the air. The bad guys fall back to a nearby complex of ruins, chased by the Alfa League soldiers.

Falling back to the ruins.

Inside the complex, certainly some national monument/provincial park in the Philippines, rented for a day's filming. Note also the big muzzle-loaded siege cannon, very Victorian-era, probably left over from the Spanish colonial period before Admiral Dewey kicked their asses.

Clay has his vehicles hidden in the ruins, and anyone who can reach them loads up and drives off at top speed. Clay and Ackerman escape with them, of course, but they leave behind a number of casualties. A final count of the death toll onscreen shows 21 dead marauders for the loss of just 5 Alfa League soldiers.

Clay and his men escape, note Clay hanging onto the gate of the truck.

After the battle, there's much rejoicing in the Alfa League ranks. The Commander walks around shaking hands and doing his happy-dance while the soldiers hoot and holler. While this would seem like the end of the war, everyone knows that as long as Clay is still alive there's more fighting ahead.

Goat lovin', haha. Stop it, bestiality is no laughing matter.

Commander Shelton then takes the mercenary captain Brodie aside and asks him to do a special mission for him. It seems that there have been rumors of a "lost mine" near the town of Valentine, one with a rich vein of potassium for gunpowder. The Alfa League needs more powder to consolidate it's hold, and so Brodie is needed to go to Valentine and check out the rumored mine. From this conversation I can assume that Valentine is a long ways from here and in a very rough part of the country.

Shelton sends Brodie off, note the banner to the left, the official insignia of the Alfa League.

The mercenary Talbot chooses to retire from service now that the "war is over". We see him talking to a Captain who looks like a fat Michael Caine in a spiffy beret (the Captain is also an Aussie, and he pronounces his name "Tall-bot", which is damn funny). Talbot says he's going home to "Progossa Valley" where his lovely wife Vera is waiting for him to return (he's been gone six months).

Talbot leaves.

Off now to Progossa Valley, which seems to be little more than a few cinderblock buildings clustered around a couple of firepits out in the middle of nowhere. Not exactly the place I'd pick to raise a family, not with the savage terrain, the lack of potable water or even vegetation, and the indefensible position, but what do I know.

Progossa Valley.

Let's meet Vera now, a tall blonde thirtysomething woman with a slim athletic body and Scandinavian heritage. Vera is Linda Hamilton-esque spunky, good with her hands and capable with a gun, but also feminine and sexy. She's played by virtually unknown actress Brigitta Stenberg.

Vera and her dad are just a bit too close for my comfort.

As we watch, an Alfa League soldier comes riding into town to give us some exposition. He tells of the great victory at Brokedown Canyon, and the people cheer. We learn here that many of these scattered towns are connected via radio to the Alfa League, which is a pretty cool idea. I wonder, though, about power supplies. Radios need batteries, and there doesn't seem to be anyplace in Progossa Valley to recharge them. Maybe the town is occasionally visited by an Alfa League patrol, and either gets new batteries if needed or has the old ones recharged. They could just hook them up to a car battery and juice them back up, I'd think. This lone soldier came here on a motorcycle, could a bike battery recharge a radio battery if you had the right connector? And why the hell am I worried about this?

Soldier chats up Vera, good look at the standard Alfa League uniform here.

Anyway, it's been at least five minutes since anyone was killed in this movie, so lets have another action scene. A group of marauding bandits attack! Flames, smoke, gunfire, yelling, the "cinder block walls" shake with the explosions, the "dead men" jerk and move around as people step over them. In the end, we count 18 dead villages, plus the soldier, against the loss of 3 bandits (actually a pretty fair accounting considering the villagers seem to have had little but one shotgun and the soldier's rifle to protect them).

Hmmm...babe with a shotgun.

Vera escapes in a souped-up Pontiac GTO with her dad (leaving everyone else behind to die horrible deaths, by the way) and races down a road. Some bandits in cars give chase, and it's not long before her car is disabled by a rocket shot. Vera's dad is shot dead and Vera is hauled off as a captive by two bandits, kicking and screaming.

Vera burns rubber. Hey, maybe they could charge their radio batteries with the GTO's alternator?

Just then Brodie rides up on his motorcycle (he's on the way to Valentine to look for gunpowder, remember), but he's too late to stop the bandits from taking the woman. The bandits shoot back and knock out his motorcycle, then escape. Brodie can only fume and fuss at his bad luck.

Brodie comes late, that cycle looks awfully familiar...

Ok, lets talk about these bandits for a bit. This gang is only loosely affiliated with Clay's Army, and that only because Clay and the gang's leader are brothers. The bandits are based out of a large ruined building complex, which looks like an old factory or a Spanish colonial-era coastal fort.

The bandit gang's camp.

I'm guessing that there are at most 25 bandits, maybe less. They have a small number of PA cars and bikes, all Mad Max-ed out with add-on armor and spikes and all missing window glass (now that I think of it, all the vehicles in this movie lack glass, whatever that means). The bandits are armed with typical wasteland weapons, meaning M-16s and shotguns. The most novel weapon is a wicked cool flamethrower pistol, with a gas line from the grip to a small tank carried on the belt.

Typical gang vehicles.

Gang car, note the very cool rocket tube set-up.

Flamethrower pistol! I want one!

The gang's unquestioned leader is named "Hoghead", a scruffy and furry lunk of a guy with a thing for cut-off denim jackets and permed mullets. He's called Hoghead because he likes to wear a hog's head into battle, literally. That's just not right.

Hoghead, the weasilly dude behind him is his valet and hoghead-holder.

Hoghead has two goons named Kingsley and Gonzales who do a lot of his dirty work and serve as his lieutenants. I guess they don't rate cool PA nicknames. Kingsley is a very short Filipino man with a cheesy mustache and a portly gut. Gonzales is the more hyper of the two, a tall, gangly guy who looks like an unholy mutant cross between Kramer from Seinfeld and Chris Kattan. He likes his jeans artfully ripped and his bandannas tied around his forehead. None of the bandits are nice people, but Gonzales is particularly violent and unpleasant.


Gonzales there on the left.

Vera is taken to see Hoghead, and they get off to a bad start. First he flicks open her shirt, exposing a black sports bra barely containing their contents, if you know what I mean. And then he asks her name and she says "Fuck you." and he then goes around the rest of the movie calling her "Fuck you". Well, that is kinda funny. The actor playing Hoghead has some pretty good lines and great comedic timing, he's wasted in a cheap movie like this.

Vera in with Hoghead.

Hoghead tries to get some lovin' from Vera, but she's not having it. She wriggles out of his grip and then kicks him in the face! Hoghead takes losing a tooth better than you'd think, and even admires her feisty nature. He orders her tossed in a jail cell alone until she cools down.

Hoghead checks out that tooth, going to put it under his pillow later.

Let's rejoin Clay and his army. Still searching for more gunpowder, Clay now attacks an isolated town somewhere, guarded by a small unit of Alfa League soldiers. This place has a "played out potassium mine", thus making it a worthy target.

An old Ford ambulance goes up in flames.

Lots of action here, lots of machineguns and blood squibs and people running about. In the end we count 4 dead villagers and 3 dead Alfa League soldiers, against no losses to Clay's Army (other than a lot of scarce gunpowder wasted). Of note, the surviving Alfa League soldiers hightail it to safety, leaving the civilians to the depredations of Clay, not a very noble thing.

The soldiers fleeing, cowards.

Once he learns that the mine is played out and there's no powder here, Clay laments that this was a "Waste of ammo". His dwindling supply forces Clay to make a tough choice. He decides to join forces with Hoghead, his brother the bandit leader. Clay leads his caravan into Hoghead's compound. The two brothers plan to join up and wipe out the Alfa League and then pillage the world. Back to them in a minute.

Clay reconnects with Hoghead, mom always liked Clay best.

The ex-mercenary Talbot now arrives home, driving up on the smoldering carnage in his open-top car. Hey, just like Luke Skywalker, eh? This movie steals from only the best. He finds one old woman still breathing, if barely. She croaks out a few words before dying in his arms. Checking around, he doesn't find Vera's body, so he assumes that she escaped. I guess he starts following tire tracks, because he sets off in the right direction on his own.

Talbot comes home, notice that everyone in this movie seems to wear clear welder's goggles, never on their faces, mind you, but always up on their heads.

It's not long before Talbot meets up with Brodie, who has been burying Vera's dad and trying to get his bike working again. He and Talbot talk a bit, Brodie recognized Vera and saw that she was taken off by two bandits. So they decide to head for Valentine, where Brodie was tasked to look for gunpowder. Talbot agrees to go along with him, as that's the general direction that the bandits left with his wife. When I first watched this scene, I was expecting these two wasteland heroes to spend the rest of the movie fighting side-by-side. However, they actually will spend very little time together onscreen.

Along the way, they happen upon a small band of "mountain hunters", savages with spears and loincloths who are not nice people at all. This particular band has captured a young woman and mean to do her harm. Brodie and Talbot kick and punch and poke them a lot and save the girl.

Poor girl tied up, ouchy stick in the mouth.

Her name is Sierra and she's a honey, a Filipino girl with a skimpy halter top and a lot of bone and wood jewelry. Sierra comes from "the mountains to the west", the established domain of the "Mountain People", clans of hunter/gatherers who live a peaceful, if primitive, Stone Age lifestyle.

Sierra. Yum.

So the three of them go into Valentine, which is your typical PA wasteland trading village, full of dirty peasants, unscrupulous merchants, and drunken rowdies. In town, Brodie spots Kingsley and Gonzales (oh yeah, these are the two bandits who kidnapped Vera a few scenes back) and points them out to Talbot. Vera is not with them, having already been taken to the main bandit camp, but Talbot is sure that they can lead him to her.

Into the bar, nice sign.

And so, after a short goodbye to Brodie, Talbot goes to follow the two bandits into the seedy bar. There he sidles up to the bar with them and orders a drink. There's some tough talk, some flexing, and some hosing of testosterone, but Talbot eventually convinces the bandits that he's young and angry enough to join the gang. But first he has to grab a hundred dollar bill out of a glass cage with a cobra in it. Really.

Snake in a jar! And that looks like a US $100 bill there, which might be the only clue as to the location of this movie. Or does it? Are cobras native to America?

Dutifully impressed, Kingsley and Gonzales agree to take Talbot back to the bandit camp to join their gang. Soon after arriving there, Talbot is taken to meet Hoghead. Introductions are exchanged, chests are thumped, manhoods are measured, and pecking order is established. Talbot is in like flint. Sorta (more later).

Talbot and Kingsley at the bandit camp, Talbot doesn't seem to be paying attention to the mean warlord.

Meanwhile, back at Valentine, Brodie and Sierra meet six midgets! Yes, midgets! I love midgets! These particular midgets are wandering traders, tellers of stories and weavers of myth. They tell Brodie and Sierra of "Aguilla Point", far off in the mountains to the west, where the fabled gunpowder can be found.


After getting into a quick and pointless fight with a few rowdies upset with Brodie's hair, they drive off into the night. The next day, while Brodie fills up the gas tank again, the two of them talk. Sierra tells him about her being captured by the hunters while she was out on a "spirit walk" and Brodie shares how he thinks Asian girls are hot (wait...that's me).

Talking by the car, look at Brodie posing and profiling there, like a kid in a high school parking lot.

They must not have driven too far, because suddenly they hear nearby a fight. Two thugs from Valentine are messing with the midgets, threatening to roast them alive for some unknown offense. Brodie jumps in to save them, guns a couple of them down, and takes a grazing round from a .45 pistol in return.

Sierra lies him down in the shade of the car and cleans his wound, which doesn't look that bad, just through the fleshy part of his upper arm. Which is good, because a .45 slug at that range, if it had hit the bone, would have shattered it and Brodie would more than likely bleed to death out here. Sierra then pours a pinch of gunpowder onto the open wound and sets it off with a match! Ouch! I guess that's one way to cauterize a wound, but still...damn.

Brodie reacts to his arm being on fire.

Sierra and the midgets load him up into the Midget Mobile and drive off. Keep in mind that they abandon Brodie's perfectly good car there. Well, now that I think about it, it's actually Talbot's perfectly good car, that Brodie borrowed. I'm not loaning that man anything of mine. Sierra leads them all up into the mountains to her village.

Driving in the Midget Mobile.

This place is called "Puerto del Sol" (Gate to the Sun), and is a little place of maybe 50 people in thatch huts and wooden lean-tos. Some exposition by the locals establishes that this group came up here "20 years ago" to escape the violence of the desert. Not a bad idea, but I can't help wondering, seeing the lushness of this area, why anyone in their right mind would continue to live down in the barren deserts when they could just migrate up into the forested mountains themselves. Virtually every cheap PA movie I've seen has most of the population eeking out a hardscrabble living in the rock quarries when more fertile areas go almost uninhabited. Why is that?

Puerto del Sol.

Oddly, everyone up here looks Filipino. And they all speak Spanish. Maybe this movie is set in 2020 Philippines, instead of America. You do have a lot of Filipinos here, plus an inordinate number of Australians, and not one word of dialogue actually hints at an American setting. But maybe this is Utah, and these people are the descendents of a group of Filipino-American students at the University of Utah, who were out doing a field study in the backcountry when the bombs fell. Yeah, and they stuck together during the chaos that ensued and decided to head deeper into the mountains to survive. Once there, they reverted to their old homeland customs of speech and dress, recreating the low-tech lifestyles of their ancestors. Again, why am I doing this?

Chicks of the village, looking all National Geographic kinda hot.

Anyway, using herbs and natural medicines, Sierra heals Brodie's wound (quite quickly, I might add). The village elders come to visit during this time, and they are none-too-pleased to have this warrior in town. The older people, most of whom presumably came here from the wastelands during the exodus 20 years ago, will do anything to protect the peace and secrecy of their mountain village. Sierra rightly counters that Brodie is just one man, and a man on their side no less, and they can learn a great deal about the world from him. Plus, she wants to get her swerve on with him.

Sierra nurses Brodie.

It turns out that this village is built around an old potassium mine! To Brodie's amazement, there's "a couple of tons" of the stuff just lying around. The villagers use the powder only for ceremonies, they say, but are aware of it's value to the warring factions. Brodie, once well, decides that this stockpile of gunpowder makes this village a target. They've had peace so far, but with Clay desperately short of powder, it's just a matter of time before he hears of this place and attacks. The local young men are already capable fighters, though they are armed with little more than bows and pikes. Brodie begins a training regime, teaching them some of his uber-studly stick fighting techniques.

Training the locals in the ancient art of stick fu.

Ok, we've gone this entire movie now without a single woman taking her shirt off. What the hell kind of PA movie doesn't have at least one set of nekkid boobies in it, am I right? Well, Sierra steps up now and takes one for the team, stripping down to get busy with Brodie.

Finally, some boobs!

That bit of uninspired softcore porn over, we get back to the point of this movie. Which is people shooting other people. A lot. Clay has learned of the location of this mountain village, thanks to a hunter looking for some reward money (not that Clay would pay anyway, he'd more likely just shoot the hunter for the fun of it). He and about 30 of his goons follow the hunter up into the mountains and assault the village.

The hunter leads the attackers.

The battle is bloody and fast, the villagers are unable to counter the attacker's swiftness and automatic weaponry and flee into the woods. We count 16 villagers killed, most cut down from behind by the advancing thugs. Perhaps the greatest loss is the lovely Sierra, ventilated by M-16 rounds as she tries to lead a child to safety. Brodie kills 4 attackers with his rifle (brought along) but is too late to save Sierra.

Awesome money-shot here, put this on a poster!

No time for grieving, though, the battle still rages. Brodie and a few survivors dash into a cave (the old potassium mine, I presume), but are pursued by Clay and his men. A well-placed rocket causes a cave-in, seemingly trapping Brodie and the villagers deep beneath the earth. Clay gets his gunpowder now, and he's quick to haul it all away, laughing madly the whole time.

Ok, lets go forward a bit. There's a town called Window Rock down on the desert floor, where there's a small potassium mine operated by the Alfa League. Window Rock is attacked by a joint force of Clay's Army and Hoghead's bandits, the first of several combined-arms raids by these two groups.

Ranged fire to suppress the defenders, tactically sound.

Talbot (still playing the undercover role of bad guy) comes along with the bandits, but tries to hang back, and never takes a shot the entire raid. The other bandits don't seem to notice this, however, or at least they don't say anything. Talbot gets a little nervous when he sees a familiar face amongst the defenders, a Captain who he was friends with (the Aussie dude). Fearing having his cover blown, Talbot slinks even further from the action.

Kinda looks like that one episode of M*A*S*H where the ChiComs shell the 4077th and Colonel Potter has to chase a half-naked Klinger out from under his desk. You remember that one? Really? Well, why the hell not?

This is a quick one-sided battle, the attackers having the element of surprise and the highground. We count 17 Alfa League soldiers killed, for the lost of but one of Clay's Army. His men fleeing all around him, the Alfa Captain is cornered and brutally killed by Clay. Window Rock's supply of gunpowder is now in Clay's hands (plus a couple of big trucks to haul it off in). This will be the deciding moment in the conflict, as now Clay has enough of the powder to rearm all his soldiers.

Cute how the Alfa League puts their insignia on everything, including barrels.

Back at the bandit camp after the raid, Talbot is now formally "initiated" into the gang. This rite consists of Talbot and Gonzales in a one-on-one fight-to-the-death, each swinging at each other while tied onto ropes dangling from the ceiling. It actually is much cooler than I make it sound, even if it does rip-off the cage-match scene from Beyond Thunderdome. Gonzales never liked Talbot, so he cheats a lot, using a knife when the "rules" say he can't and the like. In the end, however, Talbot gets the upper hand and kills Gonzales as the crowd roars. Hoghead is not pleased, but Talbot won and so he's part of the gang now.

Gonzales on the rope, insert Freudian joke here.

Crowd roars at the sight of blood.

As a full member of the gang, Talbot is able to take his pick of the female prisoners that are kept down the cells. He's led down there by Kingsley to "get laid" by one of the skanky prisoners, but Talbot only has eyes for Vera, alone in her own cell. Kingsley admonishes him that she's "the boss's girl" but Talbot only replies by grabbing his pistol and shooting him in the chest!

Speaking of chests...

Now there's a jailer down here, a big black guy named Meatball, who in an earlier scene showed some kindness to Vera when she was first brought in. Meatball is about to tussle with Talbot when Vera asks him not to, "He's my husband!" she implores, and Meatball backs off. Typically, in every gang of hardened killers, there's one guy who is really a softy at heart and will help out the hero in the clutch.

Meatball, sounds like one of Fat Albert's friends, maybe that kid with the hots for his sister.

So, with Meatball's help, Talbot and Vera escape the jail, grabbing some weapons and fighting their way past a number of guards, killing 9 of them with M-16 and pistol fire. During the fighting, Meatball is shot dead, but his covering fire at the end allows them to reach the door. Out in the clear, they jump into Hoghead's personal car, which was conveniently sitting just outside the jail with the keys in the ignition and a full tank of gas.

Hoghead's car, a pretty wicked Pontiac with spikes welded on the bumpers.

Hoghead runs out in front of them, yelling and cussing, firing a gun in each hand. At the wheel, Vera runs Hoghead down and kills him, thus exacting a measure of revenge for the bad treatment he gave her. Cool and all, but this scene showcases another of my pet peeves, the "firing at close range and missing" thing. You see this all the time, the hero in his car charges a checkpoint guarded by machinegun-toting bad guys. He barrels through it as they fire non-stop at him, but his car doesn't even get scratched. In our movie, it's even worse, as Hoghead is firing head-on at close range with an M-16. Where did all the bullets go, eh?

Arg, this bothers me to no end.

Anyway, racing along a stretch of sand-covered highway, they manage to escape their pursuers by jumping a wide crevice. They then pull over to the side of the road (hopefully out of shooting range) and start making out. Ok, fine, they haven't seen each other for a while, I'll give them a moment to slobber on each other. Alright, you can stop now. Seriously, cut it out. Dude, she hasn't brushed her teeth in days.

A kiss is coming, trust me.

So Talbot and Vera get back to the Alfa League headquarters, which is in a large walled citadel. Talbot tells Commander Shelton of the attack on Window Rock and the loss of the gunpowder to Clay. The Commander is very concerned now, as his own supply of the powder is dangerously low. If Clay decides to attack the citadel they'd be hard-pressed to hold him off.

Talbot reports in, note that Vera is still flashing some serious cleavage here.

Meanwhile, back in the cave, Brodie is freaking out like Marlin inside the whale (seriously, how many Finding Nemo references does your average PA movie have?) and going batty. He's jabbering on about gunpowder, about Clay and about poor Sierra. The village chief tells Brodie that "she loved you", but he already knew that. Just then they are saved by the midgets! Outside now, Brodie loads up a few baskets of gunpowder that Clay didn't find into the midgets' car. Off they go, driving hard for the Alfa League citadel.

Brodie says good-bye, getting a nice man-hug from the village chief.

Back at the bandit camp, an enraged and furious Clay burns his brother's body, propped up Viking-like in his throne on a pile of wood. Clay turns to the assembled men and cries Jihad against the Alfa League! The crowd erupts in anger and bloodlust.

Funeral pyre.

Now with enough gunpowder, Clay mounts an all-or-nothing attack on the Alfa League citadel. If they win here, the spine of the League will be broken and darkness will return to the land. We see the combined force of Clay's soldiers and now-leaderless bandits converging on the citadel, setting themselves up in a ring of gun muzzles poking out of the rocky terrain. I'd guess that there are about 70 bad guys here, with 50 of those being Clay's and the rest bandits.

The enemy forces arrayed for battle.

Before any shooting can begin, however, who should come roaring up the road towards the citadel? It's Brodie! In a car full of midgets and gunpowder! Really! Dodging some ill-aimed interdiction fire from Clay's Army, Brodie manages to reach the walls and drive inside to safety. The powder is rushed inside and the Commander orders some men to start "loading shells" right away. Of course, it defies logic that this unprocessed and unfiltered raw material would be ready for immediate loading, but that's not important right now.

The Midget Mobile is awesome, just awesome.

Wisely seeing that the time to attack is right now, Clay pulls the trigger, sending his legions down the rocky slope towards the citadel. The fighting is brisk and violent, with both sides shooting like mad, explosions blossoming everywhere, and lots of running around to and fro. This is mostly small arms stuff, and I wonder where those Alfa League artillery pieces and armored vehicles are.

Clay leads the final assault, out in front like a good leader should.

Limited in ammo, the Alfa League defenders are slowly pushed back, taking and giving losses as they are forced to concede the field. Clay doesn't let up on the pressure, charging a gate in the wall as the disorganized defenders fail to close it. By this stage of the battle, we've seen 7 Alfa League soldiers killed and Commander Shelton gunned down in the dust. Just 4 enemy attackers have been killed so far.

You know what, stop right here. I've seen all this before...ah, yes, in The Two Towers, there at the end during the epic siege of Helm's Deep. Seriously, watch that movie and then watch ours (or vice versa) and you can really see the similarities between these two battles. Do you suppose that Peter Jackson was a fan of crappy Filipino post-apocalyptic action movies?

Brodie shoots! Nice look at his modified M-16 here, with the goofy pistol grip on the grenade tube.

Talbot shoots! Nice emoting, very well done.

Vera shoots! Shoots an arrow through my heart, that is! I love a woman with a gun! And I'm not even from Texas!

Just when it looks bad, like the citadel is going to fall, the "Mountain People" arrive! Coming up over the ridgeline are perhaps 200 bowmen and pikemen, led by the elders from Sierra's village. I guess they decided at last that the way to peace is paved with the blood of the wicked. Rah! They yell and charge down the hill towards the frightened enemy, who now have to shift forces to fight on two fronts. Oh yeah, you see, that's Gandalf leading the Rohirrim horsemen down the slope towards the Orc army, same camera angles and everything. Seriously, someone needs to sue Jackson over this, or at least burn him to a crisp on some dorky LotR message board.

"Gandalf" on the ridge with his staff. See?

The Mountain People fling spears and shoot arrows tipped with flaming points as they rush down the hill. The enemy troopers forget that they are armed with automatic weapons and politely wait until the villagers are right on top of them before trying to engage them in hand-to-hand combat. That doesn't go too well for them. Three Mountain People give their lives, but they take 15 bad guys with them. Routed, they run for their lives into the desert, chased by the Mountain People.

Ouch, flaming arrow to the lung.

Gandalf leads the Rohirrim charge...

Back inside the citadel walls, more vicious fighting rages between the defenders and a small number of Clay's troops who have managed to get inside before the tide turned. Included in this group are Clay and Ackerman. Trapped inside now, these men fight to the death, knowing that they can't leave and they can't stay. Talbot meets Ackerman on a staircase and they have it out, ending with Talbot's knife buried deep in Ackerman's chest.

Talbot and Ackerman tango.

Brodie chases after Clay, whose last few bodyguards try to hold off the hard-charging Aussie. Brodie displays some impressive White Man Fu here, thumping and thwacking the bad guys. Richard Norton isn't graceful like Jet Li, or lightning quick like Bruce Lee, and he sure as hell can't hold a candle to the Most-High-Powerful-Super-Shiva-Destroyer-Of-Worlds-Kicking-Machine that is Chuck Norris, but he does have some martial arts skills to go with that flowing mullet of his.

You see, here Chuck Norris would have punched this guy through the concrete floor into the room below, and then gone down and kicked him in the head again.

And now we have the inevitable final fight between Brodie and Clay. They punch and kick each other a lot, both men get in a lot of good hits and neither really seems to be able to get the advantage. They knee groins, throw dirt in eyes, slash with knives, and even knock heads into concrete walls, but still neither of them will go down. Finally, Brodie manages to flip Clay over a balcony and down about 30 feet onto some sharp rocks. Clay is dead!

Clay, fini.

And that's it, then. The last scene is the celebration, as the hobbits come out to thunderous applause from the assembled troops, with Aragorn, Legolas and Arwen behind them. Seriously, that's what it looks like, only with the midgets being hobbits. I'm not making this up, watch the movie if you don't believe me. Why do you hate me?

Midgets = hobbits.

The end.

BTW, what's up with the title "Raiders of the Sun"? Does that make any sense? And look at the DVD cover scan at the top, that guy's not even in this movie. And while I'm at it, the back of the DVD case says the following, "A biological disaster has ruined the planet, leaving bloodthirsty factions to rule the barren earth. A few hundred survivors wage the final conflict for power and control. Among them rises a new warrior (Richard Norton), a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals and restore world order." Did anyone even watch this freaking movie?

Written in October 2007 by Nathan Decker.

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