There is certainly no shortage of Star Wars rip-offs, but in the case of 1983s Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn we get a Star Wars/Road Warrior combo rip-off so it gets points for that.
With this offering, director Charles Band tried to cash in on the 3D craze of the 80s but with his limited budget and an even more limited screenplay audiences found themselves watching a film that made little to no sense for its entire running time. Hell, even the movie’s title has practically nothing to do with the movie. At no point does metal form into a hurricane, tornado or even a metal squall, and the movie is also lacking in any kind of destruction of bloody Jared-Syn!
The movie is apparently about this space ranger by the name of Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) who is trying to track down an intergalactic supercriminal named Jared-Syn (Michael Preston). Dogen has followed Jared-Syn to the desert planet of Lemuria where he has become some kind of cult leader among a group of mutant-looking dudes called “One Eye”, who in a fight would certainly have a disadvantage when it comes to depth perception.
Do you like seeing people drive around in the desert? If so this is the movie for you as its 84-minute running time mostly consists of people driving or walking around in the desert. Occasionally an action scene will break out where a “skybike” will attack or the hero will have to ram a blockade resulting in your standard A-Team car explosions, but overall it is a surprisingly boring movie for an action film.
Now the film implies that this is some space saga but as we never leave this crummy desert planet I call bullshit. It’d be like if Han Solo and Luke just decided to drive around Tatooine in their landspeeder and occasionally shoot at Tusken Raiders but never get on board the Millennium Falcon to go anywhere. Charles Band would have been better off making this a straight Road Warrior rip-off and keeping the setting as a post-apocalyptic Earth, leaving out all the space fantasy stuff that never pays off.
The damsel in distress in this film is Dhyana (Kelly Preston), the daughter of a crystal miner who was killed by Baal (R. David Smith) for mining in the Cyclopians’ Forbidden Zone. Baal is the cyborg son of Jared-Syn and is this film’s stand-in for Darth Vader. Being that his sole power seems to be squirting hallucinogenic green goo out of his robot arm, he isn’t all that imposing.
Dogen teams up with Dhyana and the two of them soon encounter Baal again, where Dogen gets the goo sprayed on him. Unlike Dhyana’s father, Dogen and Dhyana’s combined will is too strong and he is able to resist Jared-Syn’s evil power.
Syn reveals a new power, having the ability to teleport Dhyana away to his mountain hide-out and then teleport a monster for Dogen to fight. You would think a power like that would be one of your go-to tactics as it almost guarantees victory in a fight. You magically yank your enemy from wherever he is hiding and then plop him down in front of a firing squad. Then you pop a beer and enjoy galactic conquest.
Instead of this obvious ploy, Syn dispatches some electric monster to take care of Dogen but it is easily defeated when Dogen lasers up a puddle and tricks the creature into stepping in it and getting short-circuited. We are not to ask questions like, “How does a laser blast create a well-spring in the middle of the desert” because that’s science!
To find the lair of Jared-Syn, rescue the girl, and save the galaxy, Dogen goes to a seedy mining town to locate Rhodes (Tim Thomerson), a washed-up ranger who apparently knows the location of the Lost City that Syn is holed up in.
Rhodes reluctantly agrees to help and soon the buddy duo are bopping along desert roads, bashing through more blockades, swiping sacred alien relics, and fighting noble Cyclopians warriors, until finally, Dogen is able to face off against Jared Syn inside the sacred Holy City.
Dogen is able to convince the Cyclopians that they have been duped by Jared Syn by telling them that he plans to enslave them all once his magic crystal has sucked in enough life forces. Realizing the jig is up Syn jumps on a skybike and flees with Dogen in hot pursuit. For some reason Dogen puts on one of the Cyclopians’ helmets which only allows for one eye to see through so it’s no surprise that Syn escapes through some funky star gate.
So the day is saved and our hero gets the girl, but then you ask, “Wait, wasn’t this movie subtitled The Destruction of Jared Sin?” Yes, this movie does seem to lack any kind of destruction of the villain, and of course, the simple reason for this is that Charles Band hilariously thought he had a franchise on his hands. Sadly we never got “Jared-Syn Strikes Back” or “Return of the Jared.”
Even by shoddy Star Wars rip-off standards, this movie is bad, it has no idea how to provide any sense of world-building, we are just given snippets of crap about soul crystals and people who mine them but with no understanding of the why or how this works, and then we are saddled with a hero dressed like Mad Max but with the personality of Galapagos Island Turtle. Even in three dimensions, this guy had no depth.
Note: I have since watched the Shout Factory Bluray release of this movie and must state that seeing it in 3D does help, the “Coming at you” gags and though silly they are kind of fun, and the overall quality of the remastered video is startling good. Still not a good movie but more fun in that extra dimension.
Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn
Movie Rank - 4.5/10
It’s films like this that destroyed the 3D resurgence of the 80’s. With poor effects and even worse scripts, audiences were left wishing that their 3D glasses were opaque.