Hoping to convince his fellow statesmen of the Helix government’s military strength in an effort to rally support for war against the city-state Triton, Lord Zirpola orders his second-in-command Ankar Moor to capture a few legendary nomadic warriors called “Range Guides” with the intention of forcing them to fight to the death in Deathsport against his lethal “deathmachines.” Moor’s mission is successful but he’s gotten more than he bargained for when one of his captives turns out to be none other than Kaz Oshay, the son of Oshay; the very woman that disgraced Ankar Moor and exiled him for betraying the “code.”
Kaz, his piece of Range Guide tail Deneer and the statesmen Dr. Karl and his son Marcus must now work together to survive the Deathsport and escape before the madman Zirpola has them all executed. Escaping the Deathsport isn’t the only challenge facing them though, somewhere deep in the desert a tribe of cannibal mutants have kidnapped a Range Guide child and time is quickly running out for the girl. If Kaz and Deneer cannot reach her in time, she’ll end up in the bellies of the monstrous mutants!
The desert is full of dangers but nothing compares to the deadly Deathsport! It’s kill or be killed on the backs of screaming machines!
Looking to essentially cash in on the huge success of Death Race 2000, Roger Corman attempts to re-imagine another of his productions, this time with “deathmachines” (dirt bikes) instead of automobiles and Richard Lynch instead of Sylvester Stallone. While nobody can deny Death Race 2000′s gonzo cult status or underestimate Stallone’s Machine Gun Joe, Deathsport has one thing it does not and that would be the incomparable Richard Lynch; the man is a powerhouse actor with the intensity of a laser beam. I can never get enough of his work.
Anyhow, Deathsport is a decent post-nuke entry but I did have a problem with the film, it was so goddamn dense that its hard to really immerse yourself in the film. Carradine, Jennings and Lynch constantly prattle on about “union” and “consensus” and a bunch of quasi-mystical warrior babble that left me feeling completely alienated. I understand the need to flesh out the story, build on the characters and perhaps change the perception that this would be just another Corman exploitationer but the needless exposition and the vague Moor/Oshay feud subplot just wore me down a bit. No worries, two impressive sequences featuring nudity, huge explosions and a ghastly decapitation turned my frown upside down!
Unfortunately nothing, not even full frontal nudity will scrub the image of a stoned David Carradine, yet again, in a loin cloth. Some things can never be “unseen.”
Shout! Factory have released a very cool post-nuke Corman double feature with a few extras to boot. I’ll be honest, Deathsport is an okay film with goofy, low budget production values (plastic swords and welded sheet metal on dirt bikes) but it’s also a forgettable one; you’ll watch it, you’ll enjoy it and thirty minutes later you’ll be left with only the faintest memory of it. Check it out anyhow!