Wheels of Fire (1985)

In the post-apocalyptic future, the remains of civilization slowly work to rebuild, making peace with each other and offering up their shared resources. Unfortunately not everyone prefers to play so nicely, and warlords roam the wastelands, claiming whatever gasoline, food, water, and weapons they can. Only one man and his souped-up muscle car can stand between the warriors of the wasteland and the fledgling infancy of a reborn humanity. That’s right, straight out of the Philippines again, it’s a Mad Max knock-off with guns, explosions, car accidents, and boobies!

How much of it is a Mad Max rip off though? Well, for starters our hero, “Trace,” bares a remarkable resemblance to a young Mel Gibson, only with less boozing and anti-Semitism. He pretty much uses the same tailor though, and while Max had the last of the V-8s, Trace is more than happy to wheel around in a black armored Mustang with a roof-mounted flamethrower that from far away looks a lot like Max’s V-8…if you squint a little and only use your peripheral vision. He roams the wastes, doing his best not to give a damn about anything at all, except his kid sister and her new boyfriend whom Trace doesn’t like. But when the evil warlord “Scourge,” who looks kind of like a Filipino version of Charles Bronson, kidnaps his sister, Trace joins up with a lady mercenary into falconry, a psychic teenager, and a midget who can’t speak and flails his hands about in bad gestures while mumbling gibberish. From there they fight albinos in the desert, meet up with a bunch of hippies building a rocket ship, and go to war with Scourge. You know, just like in all the Mad Max movies.

Also there is sand. And lots of rape. Once Trace’s sister, “Arlie,” gets captured by Scourge’s men, her shirt gets removed. She then spends pretty much half the movie topless and getting raped. Yup, this film is tasteful like that. And just when you think it’s going to go full crap, Scourge captures Trace and then gives him a philosophical speech about how he has to fight for his barbarian way of life against the encroachment of civilization because it’s his life and civilization must always cast aside the weak in favor of the strong. What? Did this movie suddenly try to be poignant?

In the end, mercenary lady gets shanked by a sword-wielding dude and knocked off a roof, Arlie gets wasted while saving civilization’s army from walking into a trap, and Trace literally drops a car on top of Scourge. Also pretty much all the hippies die. Thank God for that at least.

Wheels of Fire: it’s exactly the kind of trash you should never admit to your significant other that you enjoy, but you know you enjoy it. Just pray that he’s out there somewhere…or something like that, I don’t really know, and I’m getting tired of using that joke. I’m still trying to understand why half this movie was about rape and stoicism as well as albino mole people.

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