After learning of this film for the first time from Nic Brown of the B-Movie Cast I sought it out. From Nic's brief plot description it was clear that this was just going to be another retread of THE SEVEN SAMURAI by way of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN with a touch of THE ROAD WARRIOR slathered across the top and that is certainly what it turned out to be. The fairly weak script is enlivened by a cast trying to do their best even if they are often undermined by poor direction. This is a very low budget affair and that shows most noticeable in the first third where we are treated to the clumsiest information dump I have ever witnessed in a feature film. As we watch the amazing Bruce Dern drive from his desert oasis village to the means streets of the nearest metropolis we listen as he reels off about three single-spaced pages of history and back-story. Dern is a good enough actor that he can make it sound pretty good and almost natural but it is sloppy filmmaking of the lowest order.
When I first looked over the cast list for WORLD GONE WILD I feared the only good actor in the bunch was going to be Dern with a few of the smaller character roles giving some solid back up and I was mostly correct. Familiar faces such as Julius Carry, Anthony James (as a friendly cannibal!) and good ol' southern boy Alan Autry breathe some life into really underwritten parts. It is a testament to their talent that those small roles are handled with enough skill and energy that that they make a positive impression given that the indifferent direction and poor shot composition often undermines just about any chance at enjoying their characterizations. A great surprise was to be found in an unexpected place though.
I did not think Adam Ant was going to be convincing as the villain and I knew that Michael Pare is only as good onscreen as his director and editor can allow. Usually a strong director and smart editing means a good performance from Pare (witness STREETS OF FIRE) but without a stern taskmaster riding herd he is a sloppy, unconvincing actor. Sadly, here Pare proves as stiff and mildly embarrassing as is his norm but I was very surprised when our diminutive bad guy Adam Ant actually made a huge effort to be big onscreen and damned if he doesn't bring some fun to his part. Indeed, he adds some wonderful moments by being charmingly evil as he works hard to sell his dastardly intentions.
On the whole I can say I'm glad to have seen this but that may be only because I'm such a sucker for 1980's Post Apocalyptic Cinema. This could have and should have been better but what is there is interesting enough to make me grin with guilty joy.