Woo hoo! The second Cirio Santiago movie review for the site!
Brace yourself cause we’re going to get more titles from the Filipino schlock auteur in the very near future. Mainly because for all their faults his movies are damn entertaining. But for the sake of this column we like Mr. Santiago because he pumped out more Mad Max rip-offs than any other filmmaker (there are 7 wasteland epics and one unreleased post-humous effort amid his 80+ filmography).
That said- FUTURE HUNTERS is a bit of a ‘bait and switch’ because the Mad Max portion only comprises the opening ten minutes. The rest of the movie is a potpourri of every B-movie trope and set piece mixed into a blender to produce a final product that defies all taste and logic.
Don’t believe me? Then check out this TV spot (under the alternative title Deadly Quest) which perfectly sums up the ‘bat shit insanity’ of this flick:
For a similar viewing experience I would seek out ‘83s YOR: HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE which manages to combine a ‘caveman B.C./ dinosaur’ movie, a sword & sandal quest flick, and a final act that blatantly rips off Star Wars. Or even ‘86s THE ELIMINATORS- which mixes Robocop/ Terminator, super hero comic book tropes, Indiana Jones, Ninjas and a few other genre riffs before it’s all said and done.
But I digress… The movie opens in 2025 with a wasteland warrior named Mad Ma-. Uh… I mean Matt (seriously) who comes across a “Spear of Destiny” (or some such nonsense) that holds mystical powers that brought about the apocalypse everyone is currently grappling with. Matt somehow time travels to “present day 1986” and happens upon a young couple- the woman is an archeologist and her man is a pre- Terminator 2 Robert Patrick.
They fight off some biker gang/ Neo Nazi scum who somehow know they possess the mystical “Spear of Destiny”. And I guess they want it so they can bring about the prophesized apocalypse- if for no other discernable reason than they’re a bunch of D-bags… Yeah, in case you can’t tell, the exact plot details are a bit murky in this one.
So the middle part of the movie plays like a light-hearted Indiana Jones rip-off (or more accurately “Romance in the Stone”). Complete with a side trip to Hong Kong to find a Professor that possesses some vital “plot point”. Once there- they meet up with their buddy to help in the search. Oh yeah, and their friend happens to be a Kung Fu Master… very convenient.
The role is played by one Bruce Le. And no, that’s not a mis-spelling because he was one of the many actors who participated in so-called “Bruce-sploitation films” where following the actor’s untimely death a variety of ‘fly by night’ producers would take another actor who “sort-of/ kind-of” looked like him and made a knock off or “fake sequel” to a Bruce Lee flick.
The one bit of trivia on FUTURE HUNTERS imdb page points out that it falsely credits the actor as Bruce Li- who is yet another “Bruce- sploitation” actor. And of course neither should be confused with Bruce Lei or Bruce Lai… And no, I’m not making this up.
So we get a five-minute ‘chock socky’ interlude with Bruce Li/Le fighting a guy that looks like Pai Mei from Kill Bill 2. After this they finally find the professor- are captured by the Neo Nazis- and then escape- to which all the concerning parties wind up on an uncharted island off the coast of Hong Kong.
The final act becomes a pulpy “jungle adventure” complete with a female Amazon Warrior tribe and flesh-eating crocodiles. The couple comes out victorious and I guess effectively prevent the apocalypse… This is more of an assumption on my part because the movie ends rather abruptly once all the bad guys are dead and the couple gets the spear and they say something like “okay cool, I guess we’re good”… cut to end credits.
Needless to say, FUTURE HUNTERS is trashy and at least two inches thick with fine Velveeta cheese. But there’s no denying it has an infectious “everything but the kitchen sink” level of manic energy and it totally works as a sort-of “love letter” to the world of exploitation and B-movies.
So if you’re a fan of Mad Max flicks, or kung fu movies, or jungle adventure/ Indiana Jones cliffhangers but can’t decide which to watch… go with this one because it literally has it all.