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Metalstorm: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn (Blu-ray Review)

MetalstormIt’s high noon at the end of the universe. Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn is the science-fiction battle of the ages with giant Cyclopians and an intergalactic magician in this futuristic adventure set on the desert planet of Lemuria.  Scream Factory proudly presents a 2-disc Blu-ray set that features a new high definition transfer of the film in both 2D and 3D and new interviews with cast and crew, out September 13, 2016. Take a space-age journey into the farthest reaches of the imagination with dazzling special effects and a story that will excite fantasy fans of all ages.  The film stars Kelly Preston (Death Sentence, Christine), Jeffrey Byron (The Dungeonmaster), Mike Preston (The Road Warrior) and R. David Smith (T-Force)This Sci-Fi action film was directed by Empire Pictures founder Charles Band (Puppetmaster, Trancers) and also features his Trancers star Tim Thomerson (Near DarkFade to Black).

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Film 

A miner and his daughter Dhyana fall prey to the evil dictator Jared-Syn’s reign of terror. Dogen, the brave peacekeeping ranger, must save Dhyana and the rest of her planet from the brutality of Jared-Syn, his son, Baal, and the hideous Cyclopean warlord, Hurok. If Dogen does not find Dhyana in time, she will be sacrificed to Jared-Syn’s strange life-giving crystal.

The Road Warrior took the world by storm in the early 80s.  And it literally had a grasp on the Italian film industry.  They were churning out countless desert post-apocalypse movies ad nauseum.  But, America did produce its share of knock offs as well.  One of the biggest and most notable ones was the Charles Band produced feature of Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn.  Its a film that lucked into a big release and distribution helped it to have money just to get finished.  Universal had put 3D capabilities into theaters for Jaws 3-D that summer and needed another new film utilizing the technology to come in and finish off the summer months.  That film wound up being Metalstorm.

And you know what?  If you’re into low budget B-level action/sci-fi movies from the 80s, this one is actually pretty good and manages to mostly hold up.  Its probably aged into being a better movie.  Unlike its Italian contemporaries, there’s a feeling of competence with almost every aspect of the film.  It feels like they had an idea of what they wanted with the film besides props and costumes.  In fact, this was being planned as a possible series following this film as it leaves unfinished and on a cliff hanger (how ahead of its time).

This film features all sorts of fun things with its effects and make-up.  Its all real, too.  When you go back and think about just the amount of craziness, danger and effort that went into something as lower tiered as this, you get an extra sense of fondness and passion for it.  The car crashes, explosions and such are all real. I even think there was a part where someone may have accidentally been hit by a car too.  And as much of a forgotten film as this could be, at least in appearance, its characters feel full realized and have a completely memorable look to them.  If you’re in the right mood, this is a terrific time.

While I’ve showered this little relic with some praise, please know, you gotta be of the right mind and audience for something like this.  As you know, I’m a fan of trashy 80s exploitation and knock offs, so this was right in my wheelhouse.  However, this is miles better than the stuff the Italians were putting out at the same time.  Its also part of the beginning of Full Moon features coming into fruition.  Accordingly, while a sequel was never made, a lot of designs and ideas would influence and move on to a later movie, Robot Jox.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  For a movie shot in 3-D in the early 1980s, this is one of the best looking transfers I’ve ever seen.  Most of them suffer from a blurriness and overall very soft picture.  Not the case with this one.  It is sharp and has plenty of groovy detail  Every creature or piece of a dirty beat up costume is on display here to see at many different angles. 

Depth:  Unlike modern  movies shot for 3-D, depth is rather above average here and decent.  What I’m saying is, aside from some pokes at a camera, you wouldn’t know that this was shot in 3-D just by the appearance of it.  There is good cinematic-like movements and spacing on display.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and deep.  Some detail lost in shadows, but nothing major.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are good and natural.  Some lighting effects do add a bit more pop.  The world is desolate, but some color still comes through good.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and provide a consistent appearance scene to scene.  Facial details are abundant and shed light on make-up, cuts, sweat, dirt, stubble and wrinkles.  The texture of alien creatures is also very nice and holds at level that doesn’t give too much in terms of revealing movie magic.

Noise/Artifacts: Some grain, specs and dirt.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  Metalstorm’s 5.1 mix is surprisingly eventful.  I did not expect this one to liven up the room like it did.  Action has plenty of impact and is loud.  Balancing vocals, score and effects is healthy as well.  A really fun mix to play around with on your system.

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions, crashes, fires, blasts rumble heavy in your subwoofer, who is the star of this mix.

Surround Sound Presentation:  A decent 360 presentation.  Most work comes from the front which accurately depicts the movement and distance of the onscreen action.  Rear speakers provide mainly and ambiance, but at times will provide a spark or two of their own.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud and clean.

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Extras 

Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn is a 2-disc set that features both 2D and 3D versions of the film on separate discs.

High Noon At The End Of The Universe: The Making of Metalstorm (HD, 42:13) – Everyone but Kelly Preston comes back to lovingly tell the tale of this production that was saved and able to finish filming thanks to signing its distribution deal.  Plenty of stories, such as Richard Moll’s audition for Night Court keep it a fun and entertaining watch.

Still & Promotional Gallery (HD, 10:26) 

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:23)

Radio Spot (HD, :30)

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Summary 

Metalstorm: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn kinda rocks.  I found myself having a lot of fun with this one.  Scream Factory transfers it over with a very nice looking and great sounding Blu-ray.  Making matters worth more the while they have also brought it out in its intended 3-D presentation using the right tech.  Capping it off is a terrific making of retrospective that is as good as any you’ve seen.  This is a really well done release and those curious should just pull the trigger.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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