Not so much a Mad Max as a Mildly Miffed Maxine, Land of Doom is set in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland with an ironically named blonde hero Harmony who groin kicks every antagonist.
In a post-nuclear age, this warrior princess (Deborah Rennard, ex of Dallas and…ex of Paul Haggis) who seemingly sports a black thong worn outside her khaki ensemble, reluctantly teams up with a suave soldier of fortune named Anderson. They are forced to combine their efforts to do battle against roaming and ominous Raiders.
Raiders are attired much like their NFL namesake’s fans, who themselves are inspired by the likes of iconic Australian dystopian action flicks and WWE wrestling stalwarts Demolition and the Legion of Doom. Land of Doom, Legion of Doom…it all comes out in the wash.
The Raiders race souped up vans and motorbikes across the landscape much like Beyond Thunderdome and Tupac and Dre’s California Love video would be if those two had budgets of $100,000 and were lensed in a Turkish desert.
Their biggest challenge though is to “head south” while fending off the aforementioned Raider gang and avoiding a devastating plague in order to find a land free from such concerns.
If only it were so easy! (It sort of is as nowhere in the film does anyone seem to avail themselves of any of the available water.)
Cheap and cheerful, Land of Doom features crackling dialogue such as “We got jumped by surprise!” (er, that’s kind of the point), “Do you have an outhouse I can use? It’s somewhere outside.” (one would hope) and “There’s food on the table” (see, previous). Harmony’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of how she doesn’t care for being touched and can take care of herself.
To confound matters, as someone who’s trying to survive in a hot and extremely inhospitable milieu, he inexplicably has a puppy named Guinevere in tow.
There’s also the sadistic and evil leader of the Raiders who has a puffy blonde mane and looks like he wandered off the set of Phantom of the Paradise or Demons. He’s named Slater, which is rather unexpected and a moniker that suits the captain of some high school lacrosse team rather than a warlord who favors chains and torture.
Land of Doom’s explosive cave shoot-em-up finale is gloriously and gleefully corny, with a peppy major key score and gas mask-wearing gang members sent flying.
In the realm of rip-offs it’s impossible not to be charmed…well…to the max.
***1/2 (out of 5)
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