Mad Max Imitations - Knock-Offs, Rip-Offs & Wannabees

"I have suffered through most of these movies over the course of the last ten or so years. They are definitely Mad Max imitations in that they all share at least three of these traits: the post-apocalyptic setting, the desert landscape, the Mad Max-style vehicles and the Mad Max-style costumes. You can still find a lot of these at video rental shoppes, or for sale on the internet. Some have even come out on DVD." - Karol Bartoszynski

Metalstorm; The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)

It's High Noon at the End of the Universe...

This movie is like Mad Max 2 mixed up with Star Wars. The main character, Dogen, is dressed up in black leathers and looks very much like Max. The bad guy, Jared-Syn, is none other than Mike "Pappagallo" Preston himself. Other appearances by Richard Moll (Bull on Nightcourt) and Tim Thomerson, whose role as Rhodes is basically a bad knock-off of Han Solo. This film was originally shown in 3-D.

Plot: Dogen, a peacekeeping ranger and a seeker, is sent to the desert planet Lumaria to find the evil Jared-Syn. He meets up with Dhyana, the daughter of a miner who had just been killed by Jared-Syn's son Baal. Then Jared-Syn kidnaps Dhyana. Dogen, knowing he will find Jared-Syn in the Lost City, gets Rhodes, a former seeker, to help him find it. Dogen finally finds Jared-Syn and they embark on an epic chase finale on speeder bikes.

Cars: Most of the cars are dune buggies. They're covered in sheets of metal (or is it cardboard?) for an angular look.

"Hey, why am I his sidekick? How do you know he's not my sidekick?"

Richard Moll as a Cyclopean.

Wheels of Fire (1984)

Directed by Mad Max imitation king Cirio H. Santiago. Also known as "Desert Warrior", "Pyro", "Vindicator" & "Fuego". Stars Playboy Playmate Lynda Wiesmeier.

Plot: The Future is now. There are no rules and there's no place to hide from the deadly Highway Warriors who ravage the roads in machines of destruction. Out here a man's fortified car is his home. Trace (GARY WATKINS) remembers the civilized ways of a better time. He stands alone against the band of brutal road-scum who prowl the highways preying on the weak and helpless. They've captured the only person Trace cares for: his sister, Arlie (LYNDA WIESMEIER). Joined by Stinger (LAURA BANKS), a ravishing she-warrior, and Spike (LINDA GROVENOR), an orphaned teenage girl with psychic powers, Trace goes up against the villains in his flame-spewing, nuclear-charged, armoured automobile - Wheels of Fire. The final explosive battle for civilisation begins... there may be no tomorrow.
The story starts out when the main character's sister gets kidnapped, strapped to the front of a car, and then continuously raped by the bad guys. You'll never forget the part where the bad guys are undoing their belts one after another.

Cars: A couple of 1970 Mustangs, a Torino and a few other cool cars and dune buggies.

Favourite lines:
"You know how many carborators this thing has?" & "You're wasting gas!"

Review 1

Review 2

Steel Dawn (1987)

Plot: They call him Nomad - a man without a home, without a past - a new breed of warrior trained in the arts of swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat, roaming the vast desert wastelands in a post-nuclear age - in a time when laws are useless and water is more precious than blood.
Patrick Swayze stars as a wandering ex-soldier who ends up saving some good guys from some bad guys. No cars?

Cars: I don't think there are any in this movie.


Available on DVD.

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987)

The Original

The Sequel

Old school WWF wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper stars in this crazy movie about post-apocalyptic Earth and frog-men mutations. To my complete surprise, this movie actually spawned a sequel, "Return to Frogtown", starring Lou Ferrigno.

Plot: Earth has a nuclear war and a good deal of mankind is rendered infertile. Sam Hell (Rowdy Piper) is a petty criminal who is offered a pardon by the Provisional Government if he agrees to impregnate women in the wastelands. Soon Sam and Spangle (Sandra Bergman) are on a mission to rescue fertile women held captive by Commander Toty in Frogtown.

Cars: A few cool cars and jeeps, including one with a push-button transmission.

Favourite Line: "You have aroused the three snakes!"



Available on DVD.

The sequel is also available on DVD.

Stryker (1983)

Directed by Cirio Santiago.

Plot: In the aftermath of the nuclear holocaust, mankind reaps a grim harvest. Nothing survives of civilised society, morality or reason. In the scorched and arid wasteland inhabited by the wretched survivors, water is power, and whoever controls the water controls the world!


Exterminators in the Year 3000 (1984)

Meet the New Breed of Road Warrior...

Plot: In a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, a small group of farmers struggle to provide enough water for their underground greenhouses. They risk everything to drive a tanker across the desert to a secret underground reservoir, where they are massacred by a gang led by Crazy Bull. One boy manages to escape and calls on the assistance of Alien and his two friends. Alien ends up fighting the gang in a failed attempt to deliver the water. They go back to the reservoir to try again, but it suddenly blows up. Then, out from the heavens...

Cars: A bunch of bikes, a 1970 Mustang, and a few other cars.

Favourite line: “Into battle my merry Mother Grabbers!!!”

Review 1

Review 2

The New Barbarians (1982)

Dealers in death... Exterminators of the 21st Century...

Cirio Santiago's first Mad Max 2 knock-off. Also known as "Warriors of the Wasteland" and "Metropolis 2000".

Plot: It's the year 2019, fifteen years after the world was devastated by a nuclear war. The main character, once a teenager, is now stranded in a remote place that went untouched. He is a warrior not by choice but of necessity, in a land where gangs of human predators travel in packs like wolves, where junkyards are filled with the dying remnants of society, and an army of carnivorous escaped military prisoners threaten a fragile sliver of civilization. The only hope of the few remaining survivors is to reach a distant land from where radio signals, indicating the presence of human life, are being emitted.

Review 1

Review 2

Availability: Available on DVD at as a single DVD, or also as part of a triple pack of post-apocalyptic films. Also available on DVD in Finland.

Equalizer 2000 (1986)

The War is Over... The Battle's Just Begun...

Directed by Cirio H. Santiago. Starring Robert Patrick (T2, X-Files).

Plot: In a bleak, post-apocalyptic world "The Ownership" is the brutal governing force. A new-age warrior tries to usurp the powerful regime by obtaining the ultimate weapon, the Equalizer 2000.
Supposedly takes place in Alaska, which has turned into a desert.



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