Steel Dawn (1987) Patrick Swayze Goes All Mad Max Warrior Style

This weeks nostalgic rental look back is the science fiction Mad Max like Steel Dawn (1987)

Tagline – He is the desert warrior, carving the future with his sword. (“Now that’s a tagline!“)

Who’s our hero today?
That sexy hip shaking Dirty Dancing finger popping Patrick Swayze jumps into action showing off his killer bangs.

Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
Yes but truthfully I couldn’t remember much if I’m being completely honest. It’s possible I had rented two or three titles from the video store and either not got round to seeing it all or just forgot it. I did recall him running around the desert sets and Brion James being in the cast. More on him down the page.

Quick plot run down.
It’s the usual Mad Max style, post-apocalyptic, marauding murderous hordes causing havoc and mayhem in a future world. This time with a bunch of farmers and settlers getting attacked by some tyrant and his band of rogue ruffians. Luckily a wandering nomadic stranger turns up with his curly locks and shiny swords.

Does the hero have a day job?
Our hero is only know as the Nomad (Patrick Swayze). A skilled swordsman and combat fighter. We later find out he was a soldier of the elite guard during World War Three. A war that brought us to this grim and bleak dystopian wasteland of a world.

What’s our heroes special skills?
Handstands! I kid you not! Plus of course various combat skills from his days in the army. He’d also been trained by his good friend and mentor, Cord (John Fujioka), in many fighting disciplines including his masterful swordsmanship.

Heroes weapon of choice?
His trusty fancy looking steel blade.

Heroes drink of choice?
WATER! No lip balm on hand though! Where’s Dusty Bottoms when you need him?

Does hero have a sidekick?
He has two. One that looks at him like a father figure. Jux (Brett Hool) is dress like that annoying Anakin kid from The Phantom Menace (1999). Where Anakin builds high speed pod-racers our Jux works on cool looking desert kite go-carts that shamefully speed along at walking pace. The whole relationship with the Nomad and Jux seemed to me like a twist on the classic western Shane (1953) with Alan Ladd and the equally annoying Joey kid. “Shane. Shane! Come back! Shane! Shane! Shane!” Jux is, to be fair, not as annoying.

The Nomad’s best side kick times are with Tark (Brion James) the towns security and muscle. He proudly wears his name on his uniform and likes to knock back the moonshine. They both get to bond over raids and generally get caught up in a fight of some sort everywhere they go. What’s great about Brion James character is the fact he is a good guy. You really don’t see him in that role. The only one off hand I can recall is General Munro in The Fifth Element (1997) though you could argue that Leon Kowalski had good reason to be bad in Blade Runner (1982). Let me know of any Brion’s goodie roles you recall.

Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
Kasha (Lisa Niemi) hits all three. Tough and always ready to sexy up her hair with some 80s crimping. Maybe a damsel in distress but really this headstrong lady can sort herself out. She’s the leader and brains of the little village and has a master plan to channel a secret underground reservoir through to all the village farms.

Lisa Niemi was Mrs Swayze. Married to Patrick from 1975 right through to his unfortunate death to cancer in 2009. Both having a passion for dancing and choreography. They had starred together in a few films with One Last Dance (2003) directed by Lisa pairing the two love birds up to get footloose. It’s sweet to read Patrick says his hit song “She’s Like The Wind” was inspired by Lisa.

Who’s the main baddie?
There’s two really. The main buddy is Damnil (Anthony Zerbe) who runs one of the sectors, the wild side of town. The other is a hired assassin called Sho (Christopher Neame) an experience fighter who loves a good challenge when he does his killing.

Baddies special skills?
Sho has two swords and a secret blade that shoots out of his knee when he’s had enough of playing fair. He’s a guy with a “breakable” code of honour.

Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 8/10
Damnil is maybe 5 out of ten but Sho is a strong 8

Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 8/10
He’s an all round tough guy but he still needs a helping hand from time to time from his new friends.

Surely it features a training montage scene?
Not really. I was expecting the classic “train the weak villagers up to some kind of battle readiness knowing most will be cannon fodder” but it didn’t come. I guess you could say the building of an irrigation water system could be a training montage but who the hell wants to see that!!

Does it feature an impossible mission?
Not really. You never don’t think the Nomadic Swayze isn’t gonna save the day.

Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
Yep ladies this bits for you. Patrick manages to squeeze into a tiny tin bath tub in the middle of the desert as he whistles to himself with a bar of soap. “What you never seen a grown man naked before?“!

Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
The time stamp for those smutty video diaries you keep under your pillows is 54 mins and 31 secs. “What do we get Mikey?” I hear you ask? Well that would be telling! But as you are my loyal readers, how about a……… naughty slave girls party changing room. Our Tark looks on with a face of pure delight.

Sex scene?
All very above board. Unseen but implied passionate, under the radiated starry night sky, rumble in the sand dunes kind of thing. Yeah the Nomad and Tark had a wonderful night………. “Say whaaaaaaaaaaat!? TARK!” Haha whoops! No I meant to say Kasha.

Any good totally random surprise scenes?
The whole beginning set piece, which is pretty great to be honest, features a mutant human form created by the nookie off spring between Tusken Raiders and Tremors. Sand people like beings that live under the sand. Attacking out of the ground and burying themselves in. It’s a wonderful little set up that you think will be used throughout the film but randomly we never see them again.

Films body count? Low/Medium/High
It’s pretty big but I’d have to say the high end of medium. Certainly not in the realms of Commando (1985) sky high stack of bodies!

Best death scene?
All I’ll say is the end fight is pretty epic.

Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
Honestly I can’t really remember. Definitely a few explosions but nothing outrageous.

How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
I’d say they were safe but whoever played the sand dune people were for sure, one hundred percent, picking sand grains out of their cracks for days!

Best Lines

Cord –I saw you rolling with the half men again!
Nomad –A man needs his exercise

Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?

Anthony Zerbe is face we all know. He’s been prolific for decades. Too many films to list, I’ll go for four. He starred alongside Charlton Heston and Rosalind Cash in the sci-fi horror The Omega Man (1971). Was imprisoned with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in Papillon (1973). Got called Breed in Rooster Cogburn (1975) with John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn and even journeyed through space in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

John Fujioka was the go to American for any Asian role. Such a recognisable face from many decades of TV and film. Though he may of wanted to forget American Ninja (1985) but it was a fun one to review.

Arnold Vosloo pops up a few times. He will be instantly remembered as Imhotep from Stephen Sommers brilliant fun action adventure The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001)

Production Credits
Directed by Lance Hool who had written Missing In Action (1984) and directed Missing In Action 2: The Beginning (1985) before Steel Dawn. He’s also been a producer of a few Charles Bronson films like 10 to Midnight (1983) and The Evil That Men Do (1984). I would guess that Jux (Brett Hool) is his son with that surname?

The landscapes are stunning. Which gave the camera crew a chance to do some artful shots. It was filmed in Namibia within the Namib-Naukluft Park. It’s well worth a google as it looks, drop to your knees, stunning. There’s an amazing shot of a derelict cargo ship buried in the sand. Looking it up I found it was a German cargo ship called the Eduard Bohlen that had run a ground during thick fog in 1909 on the Skeleton Coast. It’s a spectacular sight.

The soundtrack score was composed by Brian May an Australian and not to be confused with the floppy haired one from Queen. He had a flare for futuristic science fiction sounds and wrote the soundtracks for Mad Max (1979) Mad Max 2 (1981) and the telekinesis cult film Patrick (1978).

Cheese-O-Meter! Low/Medium/High?
You can’t really escape the cheese. Cheese balls of differing magnitudes are bound to form in such a genre as post-apocalyptic science fiction folly. I’ll be fair and say the arrow hoovers just into the high sector zone. The hair styles don’t help the cheese levels!

IMDB score rating – 5.2/10

Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 8.5/10

Wolfman over all film rating – 6.5/10

Closing thoughts………………………………………….
I gotta say I really enjoyed this. Lots going on. The landscapes were stunning and mister Swayze did his thing. I liked him all bearded up and wild for his action role. Of course it has it’s big cheesy moments but as an 80’s Mad Max rip off it holds up pretty well in my eyes. The British baddie (Christopher Neame) with his silly hair and costume had more going for him than the usual grunting thug. And like I say above it was nice to have Brion James as a good guy. He had some really fun moments and pulled a few funny faces. Nice product design on the sand dune wind go-carts just a shame they looked rubbish when they got moving hehe. Over all a good time was had at Mikey Wolfman’s movie night.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the film if you want. But most importantly have fun with the movies.

Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.

21 thoughts on “Steel Dawn (1987) Patrick Swayze Goes All Mad Max Warrior Style

  1. NOMAD AND TARK? What the…oh, you were just kidding…I HOPE! I remember this in theaters back in ’87, but never saw it or even rented it. It seemed like there were a million of these desert apocalyptic warrior movies coming out in the ’80s, so maybe I just lumped it in with the rest and forgot about it.

    But it sure looks like fun NOW. And leave it to the ’80s to have an apocalyptic desert landscape, where slave girls are partying and HAVE TO CHANGE CLOTHES. Man, if I find this for a buck at Zia’s, I’m grabbing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right can you imagine! Their beards would of intertwined together! Could of got real messy. Lucky it was a typo error on my part but you would of thought a love affair with Swayze and James would of been all over the Doomsday Times headlines!

      Yeah your right Todd, there was so many of these type of future road warrior movie but if it is indeed in Zia I’d recommend adding a half buck to that one dollar. Treat yourself. 🙂 It’s pretty good 80s fun for the home movie picture house.

      PS hope you well buddy? I watched “Angels In The Outfield” last weekend and thought of you. With your love of baseball and all. When ever Paul Douglas did his swearing freak-outs with the reversed, overlaid effect it had me in fits of giggles. LOL I’d be 99.9% sure you’ve seen it 🙂
      What a great little movie.

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      • That’s great that it was a typo and you left it in…and the Doomsday Times! “Covering the Apocalypse”. I’ll be heading over to the Record Room today, but don’t know about Zia’s…I’m not sure if they’re open for walk-ins yet, but if they are, I’ll spend that extra fifty cents!

        It’s been a while, but I have seen ‘Angels in the Outfield’, and yes, some good stuff. I loved seeing old ballparks in these classic baseball films…lots of shots of Forbes Field in Pittsburgh in this one.

        Things are fine here, Mikey, and I hopes things are going well for you over there! Maybe at some point in time I’ll be able to get back on track and post a review or article…whenever I’m not working or sleeping!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh Todd wish I was there with you digging through the crates at the Record Room. Only problem is I’d have to buy a ticket for the whole plane back! No passengers just piles of records with masks on. Hehe
          Yeah it must be great seeing these old baseball parks in film. I went for a look to see how it has changed!!! OH! its gone. That’s a shame. Nice to read there’s a fan club that keep the spirit alive. And of course it’s forever caught in the time capsule of Angels In The Outfield.

          Good to hear you are well too buddy. Yeah hopefully Cinema Monolith will get an update one day soon. The lock down and change to routine really threw a spanner in the works. I’m just starting to get back in the swing. To think that at the beginning of the year I’d done 31 posts in one month LOL… Oh how we laughed. Rolling on floor, tears of hysteria……….
          Take it easy bro and happy digging in those cool stores of yours.

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          • That’s funny that you mentioned flying on a plane with records. I went on a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio last week, and walked across the river to Newport, Kentucky to check out a used record store there, Jet Age Records, and ended up buying three albums! The problem was, I didn’t bring any luggage on the trip…just a small carry-on backpack. But I knew I could have one carry-on and one ‘personal item’, so I wrapped ’em up in a couple shirts, sealed them inside a plastic bag, and kept them at my feet the entire flight flight!

            Yeah, kind of an expensive trip just to visit my local store…but it would be fun showing you the place, and seeing which albums you ended up wrapping in your shirts and flying home with!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jet Age Records looks amazing too. 3 brothers coming together to bring a whole experience of music, film posters and coffee. All these incredible looking hanger sized stores look perfect for spending hours of joyful digging. Even if you don’t come away with much I can imagine I’d just enjoy the whole chilled atmosphere.

              Haha I like the story of hiding the records in your shirts. I think I would need to come up with some sort of hinged hanging system. Made a coat out the records some how. I’d try to look normal as I stand in line for the plane. Trying to conceal the fact I look like Gort wearing a square Hawaiian shirt with lots of band pictures rather than palm trees and parrots. “Nothing to see here” 🙄

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t mess with Shane or Joey, Mikey! I love Joey! Yeah, he’s a little annoying sometimes, but what blonde, goody-goody worshipful 6 year-old boy (aka Timmy on Lassie) isn’t?
    I always admired Patrick Swayze the man as opposed to Patrick Swayze the actor. (By the way, Mikey, I mean that in a very wholesome way; Swayze is a nice looking man, but he’s not my type.)
    I might try to catch this one for the gloriously bad 80s hair and for Swayze’s sincerity. That’s a combo that’s close to my heart. Ha!
    Great write up, Mikey. Love it.
    –Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Pam “don’t mess with Shane or Joey” LOL Shane is awesome and Jack Palance is a perfect menacing baddy but dat kid is annoying hehe.
      Yeah I can’t say I’m a fan of Mister Swayze the actor. I did like Ghost and it’s silliness. The pottery scene will always have to be parodied. LOL
      He’s great in Uncommon Valor with Gene Hackman.
      Wish I still had gloriously bad 80s hair. Miss combing it! Thankfully I get to twizzle my fingers through the fur come full wolf time.
      Cheers Pam.

      PS I’ll be on Lenny in the next few days. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. Ghost was really good. And yeah, Joey is a little annoying, but I still like him. His pivotal, Mikey. Ha! No hurry on Lenny. Really. I know you’re not that big of a reader. (You’ve mentioned that in a post or two.) And though I want you to read it–I don’t want you to feel obligated. I want everybody to be like me–read what they want, skip the rest. Ha!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve always had a mild form dyslexia (lol you don’t know how many times I had to put that word into google just now to get the spelling. Where did the Y come from! lol)
          Reading is ok but I’m slow. I get there in the end. Spelling is insane for me and getting the same words round the wrong way all the time.. I’ve always pushed myself to get over it but where my writting has got better it’s always the same words that I just can’t seem to get in order. It’s weird. Silly smalls words like “by and my”. I go through my posts so many times to sort it but you probably notice it more in the comments when I can’t edit. I’ve always keep trying to learn and I really love doing the blog.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sounds like you are more aware of it than anyone else is, Mikey. My husband has some dyslexia too. The older he gets, the more he hates it. He manages it very well. He’s a great business man. He says he doesn’t understand math that much, but he sure understands percentages. Ha!
            You are a very good writer. You have a lot of natural ability as a writer. You’ve got all the stuff that they can’t teach you in English class. They will drone on about whether it should have been a comma, a dash, a semi-colon or colon–but most of them can’t write a sentence without making your eyes roll.
            Of course, I misspell words, punctuate every-which-way AND make your eyes roll…Ha! So I’ve got everybody beat.
            –Pam

            Liked by 1 person

            • Haha Pam you way too cool and you never make my eyes roll!!! No matter how many exclamation marks we both like to slam in our comments!!! LOL…. Thanks for the encouraging and kind words. Don’t get me started on Math!!! Praise the lord for calculators and Google spell check!!! Saying that! it probably doesn’t go to help me actually learn anything!! lol

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  3. Kind of a fun flick overall. I liked the fact that Swayze was married to Lisa in real life till the sad end. Zerbe always a fun watch. He just oozes slime from Cool Hand Luke onwards. Met Neame last year and he talked briefly of this film but fans wanted to know more about Dracula AD with Lee and Cushing. Yeah its Shane in a future setting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my how could I forget “Dog boy” was in Cool Hand Luke. Now that’s a classic film I really need to be re-visiting sometime real soon. Been a mighty long time.
      So cool you chatted the Neame. I’d of loved to have also brought up this Steel Dawn to him. As he’s actually got more to his character than the usual roided up thug.
      Not seen Dracula AD but it’s good to see it keep popping up. Added to the list to see soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “I guess you could say the building of an irrigation water system could be a training montage but who the hell wants to see that!!”
    LOL
    “how about a……… naughty slave girls party changing room. Our Tark looks on with a face of pure delight.”
    LOL
    “I’d say they were safe but whoever played the sand dune people were for sure, one hundred percent, picking sand grains out of their cracks for days!”
    LOL
    Nice review! Brings back the old memories, memories, memories.
    I SO agree about the Anakin kid from Phantom Menace. When they interviewed Lucas about that he was like, “He was really good during the audition.” I think the kid himself got so much flack from sucking so hard in that role that he was turned off to acting after that (no loss, LOL)

    It’s also nice when some Hollywood marriages last a long time. I didn’t know Patrick was married for so long. Let’s give a cheers to him, Denzel W., Ed Harris, Kevin Bacon, Kurt Russel (although I don’t think he and Goldie were ever actually married) and..,. here’s the weirdest one of all……KEITH RICHARDS !!!!!!!! Say what now?! I don’t know why I just mentioned all the husbands and not the wives. I guess just following Patrick, I went with all the husbands.

    I love the desert warrior line. But you, Mikey, are the movie blog warrior, carving words with your keyboard !!!
    Eh. I don’t think it quite translates. Sorry, lol !!! (still true, though)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shhhhh Don’t tell any one Stacey but I love your comments best. Shhhhh 🙂
      It’s not just that you like my silly jokes and quips hehe. No it’s the fact that I love your funny jokes and silliness too.
      Hehe I like that from Lucas “He was really good during the audition” LOL
      It’s really quite heartwarming on those long time relationships. Can’t imagine it’s easy, it’s not easy at the best of times but add in being famous.
      Didn’t know that about about Keith Richards. Yeah you wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t true. Looking at some pictures she’s still looking great for her age. Whereas poor Keith LOL.

      “But you, Mikey, are the movie blog warrior, carving words with your keyboard !!!” LOL (Too kind 🙂 ) And there’s me sat there wearing a horned skull of a Mouflon with a tie dye bandanna draped across. A vest made from chain mail with a yin and yang necklace as I smash away at the keyboard with my hairy fingers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha….awwwww! Mutual, mutual. I love the energy of your reviews. Always so bright and fun. The opposite of my personality, so, you see, you help me FEEL that for a few precious moments….bright and fun! So this is what it’s like? Mmm….
        Well, if you’re tying up your stuff wearing chain mail, I’m gonna start doing mine in a corset and 12 layers of clothing. Maybe intense physical discomfort is what brings out the giddy funny fun !!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I so need to brush up on my 80s apocalypse movies — never realized Patrick Swayze was in one of these things! And Christopher Neame as the bad guy! I know him best from Dracula A.D. 1972 (which I’m quite fond of, against all respectable opinion). It’s quite a journey from a groovin’ flower-child vampire — whom Van Helsing takes out by running shower water over him — to a bad ass post-apo warrior who shoots knives out of his knees! Looking this one up right away! Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the great comment Brian. Man I feel bad I haven’t see Dracula AD before. “Shower water” LOL Plus Caroline Munro!! Oh my days.
      I even more want to see it now I spy Marsha Hunt in the cast. She inspired the Rolling Stone’s tune “Brown Sugar” whilst he was having fun with her.
      Great to see a picture of a young Christopher Neame. He looks more recognisable to me without the Tina Turner Beyond The Thunderdome hair he has in Steel Dawn!. Hehe I thought it was great fun, I do hope you get to see it but please go in with low expectation and be ready to have a good laugh with it.
      All the best…….. Mikey

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