It will be a shock to my fellow fans of 1980's post-apocalyptic cinema to learn this, but- until just last night I had never seen STEEL DAWN (1987). I know, I know! WTF? Me - Rod Barnett - friend to all animals and 1980's post apocalyptic movies - had not seen the one starring Patrick friggin' Swayze? How can this have happened? Well, truth to tell, it was BECAUSE it starred Patrick friggin' Swayze. Yep. For years I harbored a dislike for the fellow that was not broken until well after I acknowledged the brilliance of POINT BREAK (1991) . I held my grudge against him for GHOST and DIRTY DANCING for too long, I guess. To my younger, more angry self - that fool of just a few days ago - I say "
You shoulda watched this years ago while drinking beer with friends!" Not that that won't happen sometime in the
future but you know what I mean.
Now that I've seen it I have to say that although its first half is a little too long it turns into a pretty effective little low budget pseudo-western. The plot really is right out of a B western from the 1950's but I consider that a good thing. Lone ex-soldier sees his mentor murdered by a hired assassin, takes up mentor's law bringing job, saves frontier settlement from evil bad guys and becomes father figure to a young boy that cries 'Shane' over the closing credits. No, no- I made up that last bit. But the boy is there wishing ole badass Swayze would stick around and keep 'helping' his mom forge a new world - if you know what I mean.