SCORCHED EARTH * USA / Canada 2018 Dir: Peter Howitt. 96 mins
A cataclysmic environmental disaster known as “Cloudfall” has biblically flooded the planet in the mid-21st century; 50 years on, air and water is precious in a barter economy, while toxins fill the air to the extent that people and their horses wear face masks. Bounty hunters roam the wasteland in a mission to get rid of the last “belchers” in a world where fossil fuels are finally illegal. In between flashbacks to a past assault and a murdered sister, heroine Gina Carano is on a mission to find powdered silver and catch the biggest outlaw (Ryan Robbins).
Torpedoed by a drab visual style, somnambulistic pacing and godawful dialogue (“You don’t want the truth – you want an excuse”), this MAD MAX-infused attempt at an ecologically topical apocalypse adventure comes up short all round. Carano, a charismatic screen presence in DEADPOOL, has little to work with beyond the cliched backstory, while the attempts at humorous buddy banter between her and Doctor John Hannah (with a duff American accent) are lame at best. It’s a post-apocalyptic western that cries out for more zip and better action scenes. Director Peter Howitt once enjoyed mainstream success with SLIDING DOORS and JOHNNY ENGLISH – though to Britons of a certain age, he’ll always be Joey Boswell from BBC’s BREAD – the nearest 80’s British sitcoms ever got to GREASE-era John Travolta.
Review by Steven West