You always want the title of a movie to be an exciting and engaging thing. It should aid the visual representation provided by the poster, but ultimately it’s the name that drags you in. Through the years Hollywood has offered up countless films with titles that ultimately turned out to be MISLEADING, and that’s where we step in. We’re going to expose those films that promised one thing, only to deliver something entirely different from what was promised from the title. Remember, these are not strictly reviews.
THE OFFENDER: Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn
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RELEASED: August 19th, 1983
THE DIRECTOR: Charles Band
CAST: Jeffrey Byron, Michael Preston, Tim Thomerson, Kelly Preston and Richard Moll
U.S. BOX OFFICE TAKE: $5.3 million
AWARDS: Best Special Effects (Fantafestival, 1984)
TAGLINE: “It’s High Noon at the End of the Universe”
IF CHUD WROTE THE TAGLINE: “Come for the 3D, stay for the Michael Preston”
This film needs to be considered a “triple offender”, in that both sets of titles (the before : and after) are never explained. Add to the fact they make no real sense and you have something that errs of the side of science fiction crappiness. Originally envisioned as a trilogy by writer Alan Adler, Metalstorm fell prey to the fact that it’s garbage, and 3D garbage for that matter. It quickly and quietly left theaters a little over three weeks after debuting, with only the 3D work singled out for acclaim. Actually, the fact that it was able to make $5 million in that short amount of time – especially in 1983 when movie tickets cost only $3.15 – is a feat worth heralding.
So let’s look at a few things regarding the first title:
Back to the title: contrary to what the filmmakers wanted you to believe, there is no storm… and barely even metal for that matter. Sure metal is around in the form of weapons, armor and jeeps, it’s just never present in the form of stormage. One of the plot elements centers on the use of crystals in the society Jared-Syn is trying to enslave. They’re used as weapons (Syn murders a guy in a vision using a crystal), and as a way to store lifeforces (like a soul cooler). One variation has crystals imbedded in a mythical mask, and is the only way to combat the evil technology of Syn. Regardless, there is no “metal” storm and a better title would have been Crystalstorm but that sounds too much like a lite beer, and those are never good. I’m sure the makers were thinking Metalstorm was a tougher name, but it obviously didn’t work out all that well at the box office.
Next is the infamous subtitle:
The main reason Metalstorm is considered misleading = The Destruction of Jared-Syn. It sounds so dramatic, and completely destroying your villain is a great way to end any film. However, that doesn’t quite happen here.
In fact Mr. -Syn ESCAPES!
Not only are there no villain destructions, the so-called “hero” Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) allows Jared-Syn to hop aboard a skybike and take off! This forces Dogen to stop being shitty for the moment, jump on his own bike and chase after him. Together they go on to have an embarrassing bike chase, only slightly ripping off the speederbike sequence from Return of the Jedi. Also Dogen decides, for safety sake, to put on a helmet while he’s riding. The only logical problem here is that the helmet he picks belonged to a Cyclopean warrior, so half of Dogen’s face is covered leaving the genius with only one eye for vision.
The film would have been better off being called Jared-Syn Flees, or Jared-Syn is Outta Here. I give the film an awful lot of credit for having the main character/hero be fairly useless and allowing the baddie to skip on out, with the death of his robotic son being the only loss dealt Syn (a definite movie cliche). And actually after re-watching the ending I genuinely started liking the film, which is an unnatural thing to do and an even worse thing to admit.
So Syn escapes, leaving the door open for the sequel that never got made. And people say there’s no God?
Here are a few final things to ponder about this misleader: the film makes no sense, but at least it tries. It stole from just about every genre it could find but mostly it culled from westerns and sci-fi. Apart from the 3D, which was well-thought of at the time but is dog dick now, the only two things worth mentioning are Richard Band’s highly robust score and Richard Moll’s newly shaven head, done specifically for this movie. Oh, and a young Kelly Preston (three things)… how could I forget that?
Could’ve used great foreign art But went with photoshop toilet