Reviews

Amazon Warrior (1998)

The time is: the future.
The environment is: fucked.
Animals are: mutants.
Humans are: hunted to near extinction.
The ones left: fight, kill, and maraud.

But there’s one who rises up and resists.

This is the story of the last Amazon warrior.

A group of totally ripped lady warriors with tiny, furry tops and impossibly thick Midwestern accents patrol a jungle. Suddenly a group of sweaty gym rats invade their territory and slice their throats. All the Amazon warriors are killed, except one.

Tara is the fiercest mercenary across this godforsaken post-apocalyptic land. She’s tasked to escort two whiny ladies on a diplomatic mission. But first she must fight some knuckle-draggers at a literal Renaissance Faire. There are even colorful banners and a horn section.

Along the mission, Tara breaks some legs, snaps some necks, skewers some marauders with her spear, and admits she doesn’t know how to read. She also makes sexy time with a guy with a slick ponytail. I can’t stress this enough: never trust a guy with a ponytail. No good will ever come out of him. History has given us so many reasons to distrust men with ponytails: Steven Seagal, Jared Leto, Mario Batali, Genghis Khan—the list goes on. Now Tara aims her spear at the man who killed her mother. His name is not Axe or Switchblade or Blood Runner. Nor is it Thunder or Tank or Annihilator. Nope. 

His name is Steiner. 

Steiner is the name of your ninth-grade social studies teacher. Steiner is the name of a market research consultant. Steiner once got too drunk at the office holiday party and interrupted the CEO’s speech with lyrics from Hamilton. Steiner is not the psychotic leader of a gang of marauders that is terrorizing a desolate desert landscape.

Steiner is a meatball masquerading as a man. He wears a leather studded vest and fuzzy boots. He does not wear pants. Instead he wears a furry loincloth that flaps dangerously in the wind. He is committed to wiping out the very last Amazon warrior from the planet.

Once again, director Dennis Devine (Things, Things II, Fatal Images) shows us what you can do with so little. Amazon Warrior has the ambition of a blockbuster, but the soul and budget of a home movie. Every aspect of this film is dirt cheap, from the sets (bedsheets standing in for tents) to the rubber Halloween masks that were no doubt purchased November 1. The costumes are salvaged from Goodwill—one guy actually wears a sweater wrapped around his head and another wears a cocktail platter for a hat. The props and weapons were clearly found in Devine’s garage—one marauder fights with a kayak paddle that’s painted black while everyone else brandishes broomsticks. The acting is the finest the local community theater has to offer and judging by their overly bronzed, muscled bodies, many actors were cast from Gold’s Gym. Amazon Warrior oozes warmth, charm, and professionalism on a shoestring budget. The script is serviceable and the plot is simple, with some surprising twists and a solid ending. It’s not the craziest thing you’ll ever see—despite the promise of mutant animals there are no beasties or painstaking practical effects. Overall, it’s a fun ride, if a little immemorable. But Amazon Warrior makes you appreciate Devine’s drive and commitment, and you can see the genuine love he has for filmmaking. His passion is pure, his resourcefulness impressive. For the past thirty years, he’s been pumping out low-budget films and there can’t be much return on his investments. But he still keeps going. It’s weird to say that a film starring a human pork chop in a loincloth is inspiring, but there, I said it.

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