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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Metalstorm: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn (Blu-ray)
Metalstorm: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // PG // September 13, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $34.93 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted August 30, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

In the mid 1980's there was a wave of 3D movies released in an attempt to combat people staying at home watching movies on their new VCRs. Most of them were pretty awful, including Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D, and Parasite. Along with this wave came the awkwardly titled subject of this review: Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn. It follows the trend of being a pretty cheesy 80's flick whose main attraction is the use of 3D, and surprisingly the effects are actually pretty good. Being a fan of shlocky 80's films, I'm excited about this release. I was doubtful that this movie would ever be released with its original aspect ratio preserved (the only other DVD release was a pan and scan monstrosity) and never thought it would make it to Blu-ray. With 3D TVs not really taking off and home video release of the format rather spotty, I would have bet money that I'd never see a 3D Blu-ray release in my lifetime, and yet here it is thanks to the good folks at Shout!

First things first: It has been claimed that this movie is a low-budget rip off of Mad Max. That's not true at all. It's a low-budget rip off of Mad Max and Star Wars. Hey, two homages in one! Second, don't worry that the title gives away the ending. While Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn is a title, it's appears to be the title of a different movie that was accidentally attached to this project. (And after it was written in ink on the call sheets, well, what can you do?) This film has no storm, metal or not, and there isn't a creature, event, vehicle, death crystal, or magic spell called a 'metalstorm.' Add to that the fact that there is no destruction of the bad guy either, and it's plain to see that this is incorrectly named. A better title would have been Guy Gets Squirted with Goo: The Destruction of John Travolta's Wife's Character's Father.



We first meet our Mel Gibson look-alike hero Dogen (Jeffrey Byron), driving through a post-apocalyptic barren wasteland /Tatooine-like place. And driving. And driving. Eventually someone says "hey, we can't just have this guy drive through the southern California desert for 90-minutes, something has to happen" and they decide to throw in some action. Dogen is attacked by a guy riding a flying speeder bike from Star Wars. Not sure why, but hey, there's laser blasts and a crash.

Once they add in some plot, we discover that Dogen is a ranger and he's looking for a no-goodnik who goes by the name of Jared-Syn. Why? Because Syn is a rabble rouser and getting the "one-eyes" all ready to revolt and stuff. Cut to a mine where Kelly Preston (John Travolta's wife) is playing the daughter of a grizzled old prospector. They discover a crystal that will make them rich, but they don't have time to cash in as Jared-Syn's cybernetically enhanced son, Baal, shows up and kills the prospector (and smashes the incredibly valuable crystal for no apparent reason) by spraying him with green goo out of his metal arm. This substance causes him to hallucinate and see Jared-Syn, who takes his soul with a crystal. Baal and his one-eyes then leave just before Dogen arrives. He find's John Travolta's wife hiding in the mine and decides to take her along with him.

From there they throw in everything they can think of: a monster made of electricity, more hallucinations, a Mos Eisley-like bar where Dogen finds Han Solo... I mean an down on his luck "finder" he teams up with, a lost city, sand monsters, laser beams that travel nearly the speed of sound, trial-by-combat, Richard Moll (of Night Court fame) playing a barbarian leader, and even a trip into another dimension.



With all of this going on and little in the way of a budget for the filming, you'd be correct if you assume that the movie is a mess story-wise. There are plot holes galore, a lot of things never get explained, and they don't even bother to try to match shots. (In one scene Dogen takes off on a flying motorcycle in the middle of the night and in the next shot it's broad daylight.) This is would be a great film to be riffed ala Mystery Science Theater.

Having said that, this is still an enjoyable watch. It does fall in the so-bad-its-good category, but director Richard Band (the man behind Full Moon Direct and such film series as Puppet Masters, Trancers, and Doll Man) imbues the film with a 'let's have fun in a schlocky way' that is impossible to fake. There's also some quality to be found lurking in this movie too. The stunt work impressed me a few times. They crash cars, do some impressive jumps, and don't rely on CGI at all.

The big draw for this film was the fact that it was shot in 3D, and the quality is actually pretty good. They tried some new things and a lot of it worked. Not everything did, (there's a scene where they focus on a stick that's pointing right out of the screen, but it comes out too far and that makes it hard for your eyes to focus) but most of the shots are set up to take advantage of 3D technology. Simple things like Dogen operating the levers on the dashboard of his car show a lot of depth and they avoided having too many things come out of the screen at the viewers. The 3D really adds a lot to this film.

The 3D Blu-ray:


Shout! Factory releases Metalstorm in a nice 2-disc set. The first has the movie in 3D, and the second is a Blu-ray with the film in 2D. The extras are found on the second disc.

Video:

This is the first time that Metalstorm has been released with its 2.35:1 OAR intact on digital video (the earlier DVD release was pan-and-scan), not to mention in 3D. It's great to be able to watch the movie the way it was intended to be seen. The new HD transfer is surprisingly good. The level of detail is excellent and most of the scenes are quite clear and sharp, though a few are on the soft side. There's also some distortion around fast moving objects in the 3D version, but that probably due to the way the movie was originally filmed.

There are a couple of sections on the 3D version of the film where the print that one eye sees was damaged a bit. The bottom 15-20% of the screen is very dark in these sections and it's noticeable but it doesn't ruin the presentation. Overall these sections only last maybe 2-3 minutes over the course of the film, so you shouldn't skip getting this release just because of that.

Audio:

This release boasts a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that does the job. Even though the movie is over 30 years old, the sound is generally clean and clear though it lacks the *umfp* that we've come to expect from movies today.

Extras:

Included with this disc is a nice featurette from Ballyhoo Entertainment, High Noon at the End of the Universe, where director/producer Charles Band, actors Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll and Tim Thomerson, screenwriter/producer Alan J. Adler, special effects artist Allan Apone, make-up artist Kenny Myers and composer Richard Band talk about the film and its creation. This last over 40 minutes and is quite entertaining in its own right. (Some would argue that it's more interesting than the movie itself.) There are also a series of promotional and behind the scenes stills, a radio spot advertising the film, and the theatrical trailer.

Final Thoughts:

I'm still astounded that Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn has been released on 3D Blu-ray. Shout! Factory gets kudos for not only putting out this largely forgotten 80's film, but also for including Ballyhoo's excellent making-of featurette. That's really going above and beyond for a movie that, let's face it, has limited appeal. This movie is whole lot of B-movie schlocky fun, and it has never looked better. Recommended.

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