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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Land Of Doom
Land Of Doom
MGM // Unrated // September 15, 2015
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted October 6, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

One of about a zillion post-apocalyptic action/sci-fi movies made in the eighties, 1986's Land Of Doom, directed by Peter Maris (the man who gave us the Jan Michael Vincent classic Hangfire), tells the story of a survivor named Harmony (Deborah Rennard). She lives in a world that has become a wasteland… we see this in the opening scene where crabs crawl over the hand of a corpse laying on a riverbed. The bomb has been dropped and what's left of mankind has resorted to barbarism. Gangs of hairy guys clad in leather roam the cities raping and pillaging as they see fit. These gangs are called Raiders and they're bad news.

After getting into a scrap or two, Harmony winds up befriending a soldier of fortune type named Anderson (Gerry Dowhen). They decide to work together to stop the Raiders but those guys, they've got vehicles and weapons to spare whereas our heroes are a bit strapped in that regard. As Harmony and Anderson zip about the desert, they come across some cannibals who attack them with crossbows and a bunch of desert denizens that bear a striking resemblance to the Tuskens from Star Wars. Making matters worse, there's a plague in the land that they don't want to get contaminated with. For reasons never explained, the two decide to head south… the hope is that if they do that, they'll find a better life. But of course, it can't be that simple, not where there's a bald guy on a bike (not a motorcycle, a bike) with a flamethrower chasing them and the leader of the Raiders, Slaten (Daniel Radell), a crazy guy with a metal plate thing attached to his face and a metal arm, hot on their tails!!!

This movie comes to you straight from the cerebral cortex of a twelve year old boy. It's got everything a prepubescent male could want out of a movie, and that makes it kind of awesome. We get a foxy heroine in the form of Harmony (who acted opposite Van Damme in Lionheart but who is still probably best known for a lengthy stint on Dallas), a woman as tough as she is beautiful. It doesn't matter that we don't know much about her, because really, we don't care. She's there to look good and kick ass and she does both of these things well and that's more than enough. But if you look at it from a twelve year old boy's perspective, she can't go this alone, right? Right! That's why we get Anderson thrown into the mix. Even if it seems like Harmony can take care of herself, pre-pubescent boys want their hot heroines to fall for the hunky male character because those boys want to grow up to be that character, thus getting the hot heroine for themselves. That's not enough though. We also need comic relief, which we get from the guy on the bicycle, and we need a tough bad guy with a crazy outfit, which we get from Slaten. Throw in a bunch of explosions, more cool leather costumes than you can shake a stick at, some awesome Turkish desert locations and rad-tastic old cars outfitted for combat Mad Max style and you can see how this one hits all the right notes… so long as you look at it from the skewed, underdeveloped perspective.

As far as post nuke movies go, this one does what it does well enough but it doesn't really bring anything all that new to the genre. It borrows a lot from other films of the same ilk, but it is ridiculously fast paced and plenty violent. You don't have to go more than a few minutes before Harmony kicks a guy in the balls or something explodes, so the film has that going for it too. The production values? Well, this was made on the cheap but it's slicker and a bit more polished than some of the entries in the genre that Roger Corman was contributing around the same time (think The Sisterhood or Equalizer 2000). The performances are pretty hokey but that's alright, it doesn't take away from anything. Radell, whose filmography is pretty slim unfortunately, definitely steals every scene that he's in as the main bad guy but there are plenty of other weird, greasy, scruffy looking bad dudes wreaking havoc on his behalf that are amusing to watch too. It's not a one man show as far as bad guying goes.

So yeah, this is dumb in every way a movie like this should be dumb, but it's pretty entertaining if you're in an undemanding mood and hankering for leather, explosions, flamethrowers and guys with metal arms and face plates. Personally, I had a lot of fun with it.

The DVD:

Video:

Land Of Doom looks pretty good in this 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer from MGM. More cleanup work probably could have been done as there's some minor print damage present throughout, but the emphasis here is that it's minor print damage, nothing too serious or too distracting. Colors are well defined, there isn't any bleeding nor are there wacky contrast problems, and skin tones generally look good as well. Black levels aren't reference quality but they're fine, and the movie looks decent. Not perfect, but very decent.

Audio:

The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 track, the only audio option (there are no dubs or subtitles provided here), is also fine. There are a few spots where you might notice a pop or two on the track but it's generally well balanced and clear.

Extras:

No extras here, just a static menu and chapter stops set up at ten minute intervals..

Final Thoughts:

Land Of Doom is dumber than a bag of rocks but if you dig trashy post-nuke action it does offer that up in deliciously low budget dollops. It might not be good in the way that other movies are good, but it never fails to entertain. This MOD/DVD-R release from The MGM Limited Edition Collection is, not surprisingly, a barebones affair but it looks and sounds fairly decent. A fun rental for the curius, recommended for post-nuke aficionados.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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