Damnation Alley


release year: 1977
genre: post-nuclear-holocaust sci-fi/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 4/9/12 and 8/22/05 and 9/5/04

synopsis: After nuclear fallout, four soldiers attempt to cross the heart of America in a super-SUV.

impressions: I picked this up at a convention recently, because I'd been hunting for the movie for years. Why? Because it was something I saw in the theater as a kid (!) and I had fond memories of it, mainly of the thrill of watching people cross dangerous terrain in a gigantic all-terrain vehicle. The question, of course, is this: is this movie actually as good for an adult as it was for a kid? The answer, as we all know, has to be "no." The movie was entertaining, but I realize now that the LandMaster vehicle is a little cheesy. And there's no excuse for the way they tried to make it look like giant scorpions were attacking a guy on a motorcycle. My main problem was actually plot-related: the heroes had no security precautons and very little survival sense or tactics. Still, the movie was fun to watch, in a corny kind of way.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Stock footage of scorpions meshed with footage of Jan-Michael Vincent on a motorcycle. Nice try, but it looked bad.

acting: George Peppard and his heavy southern accent were good as the guy in charge. Jan-Michael Vincent was also good as the young hotshot rebellious-soldier type. Paul Winfield provided some less-serious (and competent) soldier help, while Dominique Sanda played a French woman they picked up.

final word: Doesn't hold up to its 1970s roots, but still fun to watch.

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