Joe Lara, Bryon James and Kane Hodder provide good entertainment for the UAMC PM!

The prolific PM Entertainment Group flooded the home video market with low-budget films in the 1990s. Their work is unmatched in terms of frequency of release, non-motorized scenarios, as well as reverence for cheap action sequences. Most of PM’s films are based on the standard action thriller, but occasionally they venture into the sci-fi genre as well, and films like CyberTracker and Hologram Man are more than solid entries in their catalog.

The other is Steel Frontier, their only foray into post-apocalyptic cinema. Steel Frontier may seem like yet another junk action film, but it turns out to be an above average production by BDM standards and a pretty entertaining B-movie in its own right. And I’ll be honest, I’ve always had a soft spot for this movie of all the PM movies I’ve enjoyed or experienced, so maybe this article is a little biased.

Liberty Land: Jeff Speakman took a politically motivated action.

UAMC Steel Boundary lineNotes

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the town of New Hope is the last refuge for righteous people to rebuild civilization before it is overrun by General Quantrill’s United Regime squad of Deathbreakers. Lone gunman Johnny Yuma arrives on the scene and becomes involved in the locals’ fight against Quantrill’s motorized gangsters.

Many post-apocalyptic films have a western feel to them, but Steel Frontier literally paints this post-apocalyptic canvas with a lot of classic western style characters. Director and screenwriter Joe Hart does not indulge in a subtle mix of genres: There are also saloon poker games, as well as giant radioactive rats and desert mutants. While I doubt there is much artistic ambition behind this approach, it gives the film a naive charm and almost has something of a modest children’s film about it, were it not for the violence.

The grounds of an abandoned steel mill provide an excellent backdrop for most scenes, with additional shots in the desert, as well as a huge junkyard of old tires that turns out to be a damn cool place for a few scenes. And instead of one or two long action scenes in between which you are completely bored, as in many other PM films, Steel Frontier offers much more variety in the action department. There’s a lot of classic western combat, with battles and firefighting duels, and in the finale Yuma even goes after his enemies with a big machine gun, just like Django.

Cyberjack: Michael Dudikoff is a graduate of the Cannon Film School.

PM Entertainment at its best

The weaponry is mixed in with traditional PM stuff like two awesome desert chases and all sorts of explosions. The highlight of the show is the blowing up of a huge chimney. It’s an epic monster of an explosion with a huge mushroom cloud, and it has the honor of being the biggest thing to ever explode in a BDM production.

Joe Lara plays Johnny Yuma, and his character looks exactly like his name, with a fancy long coat, long flowing hair and a perfectly groomed beard. In the 1990s, Lara worked briefly with other DTV actors, such as the Hologram Man and American Cyborg: Warrior of steel. In addition to his film work, he is also a self-proclaimed musician, falconer, pilot and ex-model. In Steel Frontier, he walks through every scene with a softer demeanor and a smile on his face, which is certainly not the usual Max Rockatansky impression, but it works.

Another big name in film is genre specialist Brion James, who thrilled fans of action films in the 1980s and 1990s with numerous big bad roles and left us far too early in 1999. It’s almost always fun to see him as a villain, and in Steel Frontier he has it all as the leader of Team Evil. His role isn’t very important: he shows up early, lets a bunch of homicidal maniacs mess things up, and comes back just in time for the big finale with a huge grudge against Yuma.

Gary Daniels’ Christmas action classic, Riot (1996).

But how safe is that?

The film also has a few odd moments that every good B-movie needs, and I’ll mention just two to whet your appetite. The best part is that Yuma has hidden on the small seat of his motorcycle a Gatling gun that only he can remotely activate by calling Angel. And in the finale, a woman defending the camp is confronted by one of the bandits. They seem to recognize each other, and he stutters, Mom? The two want to hug each other, but three seconds later the child is shot in the back by one of the gang members, who is then immediately shot by the mother. This is the level of ancient Greek epic tragedy.

As with almost all PM films, there’s not much originality, but the mix for that is as good as it gets. Steel Frontier moves at a good pace, with plenty of action and other thrills, a nice variety of settings and slightly cheesy dialogue. And if you like the simple pleasures of explosions and car stunts, seeing this movie is almost a must.

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