Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In short: The Lone Runner (1986)

Somewhere, at some inexplicable point in time, a bunch of rather dull people live in a desert.

Various tribes - let's call them the Poor People, the Bedouins and the Sand People - roam the desert around something that could be meant to be a town (or not). A man called the Summer King (Donal Hudson) rules over the place (or not) peacefully enough, while Garrett the Lone Runner (Miles O'Keeffe and his magical hair, mostly riding and not running) rides through the desert looking heroic, righting wrongs (or not) etc.

One day the Summer King's daughter Analisa (Savina Gersak) is kidnapped by the Bedouins.

The whole kidnapping business is just a ploy thought up by the Summer King's confidante Emerick (Michael Aronin) to get at the thousand diamonds (and the film is pretty adamant about that number) his boss has stashed away. I'm pretty sure those diamonds will be of use in the desert.

Of course, rescuing kidnapped women falls under Garrett's job description, and he'll have quite a bit of rescuing and re-rescuing to do, because he might be great at pulling a damsel out of distress, but he's just crap at keeping said damsel un-kidnapped.

The desert dwellers don't make his job any easier. The Sand People, lead by a certain Skorm (John Steiner), also want a piece of the diamonds and are willing to do the most fiendish evil cackling to get what they want.

Well, that was slightly underwhelming, yet puzzling. The Lone Runner is usually called a post-apocalypse film with horses standing in for cars, but I'm not completely convinced that it is supposed to take place after a global catastrophe. Knowing how Italian genre films use history, this might as well be meant to take place in 19th century Tunisia, or the time and place when Maciste met Zorro.

Unfortunately, thinking about this is the most fun I had with the film. It's just not all that interesting to watch people ride through a indifferently shot desert while one of the more boring synthesizer soundtracks in Italian film history noodles away in the background.

Points of interest between all the riding are few and far between. O'Keeffe moves his facial muscles at least once, John Steiner plays his baddie as Adam Ant on crack and some of the fight scenes are somewhat competently done. You could also add O'Keeffe's use of a crossbow with exploding bolts and the homemade laser the Sand People use to the mildly awesome.Alas, director Ruggero Deodato never heard of the word "awesome" and does everything in his power to make even these flourishes rather slow and boring.

I'm not asking for much in Italian post-apocalypse (or not) action films from the 80s, but a film needs to show a little effort, either by being insane or enthusiastic or both.

What Deodato delivers instead is a desert of wasted opportunities.



Todd said...

I may see this (or not).

houseinrlyeh said...

Or not would be the wiser decision, I suppose.
Of course, I watch films with Miles O'Keeffe on purpose, too, so what do I know? ;)