Monday, August 26, 2013

Dead End Drive-IN


  Can't complain much about Dead End Drive-In. It does what it sets out to do with flair and gusto. As a post apocalyptic, 80's, Ozploitation flick, it manages to be incredibly fun. It's not a stupid movie, it's not a bad movie, and I can safely say I'd watch it again. I suppose an appreciate of the genre might be tinting my glasses a bit, but that doesn't change the fact that the story is creative, the acting is good, and the whole thing builds to a very satisfying climax that left me smiling and nodding in approval. After a veritable slew of movies that left me cold, or impartial, this was refreshing. Not groundbreaking or game-changing, just good solid fun. Nothing wrong with that.

  In the "future", 1990's, things have become practically post-apocalyptic. I say practically because there still seems to be a functioning form of government, unlike say... The Road Warrior. The government is corrupt as ever and there are a slew of Drive-In's that are essentially prisons for riff-raff and the unemployed. Your wheels are hijacked by the cops, and you're stuck. The fence is electrified, there's a cantina, showers, and a movie every night. This is actually a better situation for most of these young delinquents than what they had outside. They've formed a crude inner-society among themselves and wouldn't leave if they had the option.
Our protagonist however, doesn't want to stay, and he's prepared to fight to get out.

  The hero, "Crabs" as they call him, is like a young Australian David Duchovny. I seriously can't get past that. It was uncanny. Completely irrelevant, but uncanny. The actor is actually very good and he's instantly endearing as he seems to be a respectable guy amidst a whole society of degenerate creeps. I mean, even Max Rockatansky found allies eventually. Not our guy, even his girlfriend eventually warms up to the Drive-In and decides to stay. Trying to break out of this Drive-In seems to be harder than it looks too. Our hero has the odds stacked against him impossibly so. Nobody even wants to escape. He's entirely on his own. It's also worth noting that he has a decent and loving family back home. I can imagine most of these others don't.

  The movie isn't a thrill-a-minute action movie, and is actually more akin to your average prison escape movie in terms of pacing. There's lots of tension, a few brawls, learning the ropes of the place, seeing our hero plan his escape, get foiled a couple times, and then finally- well I won't tell you if he gets out or not. It's fun though, and very entertaining. The movie's concept is clever too. When Crabs and his girlfriend Carmen pull into the ticket booth in the beginning, the sign says "$10.00 ADULT. $3.50 UNEMPLOYED."  Crabs says unemployed, and thus instantly condemns him and his girlfriend to a veritable lifetime there. There's a real sense of being trapped, but what's really unnerving is how everyone there is completely content to stay.
It didn't even take Carmen that long to warm up to the place. Which was rather unbelievable since we have no idea what her life outside was like, for contrast.

  However in the end, I was thoroughly satisfied with this neat little movie. A likable and well-acted protagonist goes a long way in a movie like this. I enjoyed it. I recommend it too. Fun movie with a neat premise and a very convincing (if not a very dated) set. Definitely gets the stamp of approval from me.

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