Saturday, March 27, 2010

Radioactive Dreams Review


Radioactive Dreams
(1985/USA/Mexico)

‘‘I bet there’s nothing but love sick dolls out there’’



Two post nuke private dicks seek fun loving future chicks in this after the bomb blast from the past.

Saved from the nuclear explosion by their guardians Spade Chandler (George Kennedy) and Dash Hammer (Don Murray), pre teen friends Philip Chandler (John Stockwell) and Marlowe Hammer (Michael Dudikoff) spend fifteen years locked away in a protective underground shelter. 2010 April 1st, all fools day indeed, the friends emerge from their protective incarceration as young men. Self educated over the elapsed period of time, fed on a diet of old detective movies and dance themed music, as collected by their two dads. Free to explore a strange new environment they set off into the desolated landscape, behind the wheel of an American open topped classic car. They’re hungry for a good time and girls, as well as an answer to why their two custodians left them alone to survive, and if indeed the two men are in fact their fathers at all !?. Its gumshoes to the floor futuristic fun and holocaust hi-jinks, as Philip and Marlowe are free from ‘The Big Sleep’ exiled from the real world, and primed to detect a new life for themselves. For their dads then, ‘the world that they hated … was the world they wanted’.

Back in 1996 during the nuclear war every nuclear missile was launched, except for one !. In order to fire that missile requires two special keys. Whoever now possesses the two keys would control the most powerful weapon in the world. Ruler above all others in this now radioactive wasteland. Unfortunately for the survivors of this laid to waste landscape the keys are in the possession of a couple of Dicks. And they don’t even know that they have them !.

As soon as Phil and Marlowe put rubber to the rubble they are beset by Mad Max extras, marauding the wastelands for anything and anyone that comes into their cross hairs. The two nuke newbies rescue a feisty maiden in distress. Miles Archer (Lisa Blount), fending off mutants and leading the way for the future of feminist freedom fighters, deftly deploying a fist to Marlowe’s chin. They strive to rescue Miles, but who is going to save them from her !?. She takes advantage of a distraction and slips away, but their paths are destined to cross again in the very near future. The boys have double trouble to contend with as motorcycle riding crazies, sporting florescent pink fright wigs to cover their follicle free scalps, bring mass mayhem. These beyond thunder dome heads don’t need another hero to contend with, so ensues an Action packed chase, backed by a pumping Eighties music soundtrack.

As if slap heads and psycho sisters aren’t enough to contend with, on their first day trip out since kindergarten, Philip and Marlowe are held up by The Disco Mutants !. Two pint sized wannabe Tony ‘Scarface’ Montana, white suited, foul mouthed, hand gun bearing punks, who are boy handling another seemingly maiden in distress, Rusty Mars.

Marlowe and Phil catch the knee high nukes unawares and team up with Rusty, who shows them the way to Edge City. She warns them that they need to be within the city confines before dark, as after night fall the myriad of mutants come out to feast !. Learning a little about each other Rusty divulges that she knows of the boys fathers, and that both Hammer and Chandler are still alive !. Phil and Marlowe, more than ever, wish to seek them out and Edge City may just have the answers they are looking for.

Playing out like a futuristic metaphorical version of Abbott and Costello meet the mutant warriors of the wasteland, Radioactive Dreams works its cheaply made charm a treat.

Stockwell and Dudikoff are perfectly cast in the leads, and the supporting players join in on the fun act, clearly enjoying themselves along the way. Director Albert Pyun chimes in on the Post Apocalyptic movie with an obvious love for the genre, ladling post nuke nuances galore atop his own playful popcorn flick. All involved are evidently buoyed by the brilliant banality of this neat little idiosyncratic, Action packed, Comedy crammed, Sci-Fi slamboree. Ahead of its time, and a precocious piece of mid Eighties weirdness, that has lost none of its charm or infectiousness with age. This is indeed now a Cult movie that deserves its pantheon upon the shiny media of DVD. Made available to all, both familiar and seeking the pure escapism of this fantastical flick for the first time, properly rendered in its full unadulterated form and rightfully scoped format.

With our detective duo seeking out their wayfaring custodial parents, Rusty naively leads them into a set up that has Phil fighting off the advances of a flesh craving cannibal cult, hungry for him and the keys that he unwittingly holds about his person. It’s time for the hardy boys to drop Nancy Drew, throw the cannibals a bone to pick and get out of dodge. Easier said than done when all of the city gangs are honing in on the opportunity to lay claim to the nuclear devices ignition, along with the bordering regions bounty hunters too. Time for some Mack Sennett like chase sequences, including one great moment of sheer out of nowhere brilliance. A Godzilla like mutant creature rises up out of a sewer, to within nose distance of Marlowe’s startled face, in a viewing whoop and holler moment of tape rewind necessity. This is sheer ‘B’ movie brilliance. Less of a Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller - C.H.U.D (1984) and more of a Rodent Agitated Terminator - R.A.T (Soon to be in development). One great big dirty rat that even a machine gun blazing James Cagney would have to high tail it from. Anyone familiar with another cult classic, Hell Comes To Frog Town (1988) will find this just as infectiously ‘ribbeting’.

Wizened up and readied for the fray come the final quarter of the movie, both Phil and Marlowe take a stand. Kitted out in sharp suits, and sporting side arms, the two cut a pose torn from the front dust jacket of a retro detective novel. They’re prepped and primed for Action. Here’s looking at you kids !.

Phil’s wanton moll Rusty, having seen the error of her ways, pleads with them, ‘‘They’ll kill you Phil !’’ to which Phil retorts, ‘‘Yea, I’d like to see them try !’’. Classic delivery.

It’s showdown at the dilapidated labouring warehouse, where the only thing that works now are the gangs and dealers. Its out with the old and in with the new as Phil and Marlowe learn the truth behind the past with their pa’s. Miles Archer spits her voluptuous venom, and the boys get to say hello to their little friends the Disco Mutants, as the diddy duo join the party, all seeking to have control of the nuclear missile keys. A brilliant all Action climax to end proceedings on a high note, leaving just enough time to tie up loose ends, and Phil to finish his talk over monologue that pops up occasionally throughout the movie. He’s a decent guy, and even though his gal done him wrong you just know that Phil will get to nail Rusty !.

Before your smile of viewing satisfaction can even think of resting, after nigh on ninety minutes of blissful diversity, you get to click your heels like Dorothy and toe tap to the end credits. Marlowe shows Phil his dance moves, and together the two of them do the post nuke shuffle in a feel good factor song and dance routine to close the curtain on this Cult classic. The boys are back together, and even in this nuclear wasteland they’ll never fallout !.

Movie Rating: 7/10
Review Paul Cooke / Source UK PAL VHS
Radioactive Dreams (1985)
Director Albert Pyun
With John Stockwell, Michael Dudikoff, Lisa Blount,
George Kennedy, Don Murray & Michelle Little

4 comments:

  1. Now I really need to revisit this one again! I believe there is a print from MGM HD, off go go search it out!
    The Frogtown "Ribitting" made my day sir....

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  2. Rad!! I just found this sight, as I am a fan of many of Pyun's films. I have the 7 inch German soundtrack of Radioactive Dreams (with "Guilty Pleasure" and "She's a Fire"). My favorite Pyun film is definitely Vicious Lips, aka Lunar Madness, which I just put on my 100 favorite movie list:

    http://moviebullstuff.blogspot.com/search/label/Top%20100%20Favorite%20Films

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  3. Too bad this hasn't been restored and put on DVD yet. I have a fairly good copy on DVD-R and the full soundtrack (including the two extra songs from the Spanish only vinyl). It's definitely a fun B-movie. "Vicious Lips" was okay, but the soundtrack is way better. I'm still missing five songs to complete that soundtrack, though I doubt they will ever be found considering that an official release was never put out.

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