First off, if feminist's have a -Top 10 Most Hated Movies- list, I'd be willing to bet that this filthy, fast-paced, hyper-misogynistic 80's schlock-fest would rank in the top 5.
Wheels of Fire! One of my favorite low-budget films ever, this gritty fast-paced actioner packs a considerable punch, with loads of action scenes, explosions galore, car chases, and some very solid stunt work. I consider this to be the best of all the Mad Max rip-off's that where prevalent throughout the 80's and as it stands it's easily Cirio H. Santiago's best effort in the genre. For such a small time production this is really great stuff, if only more low-budget flicks where this entertaining. The world of Wheels of Fire is a very violent and primitive one, profoundly misogynistic too, showing-off quite a good bit of T & A.
The plot revolves around tough-guy Trace (the "Max" of the movie) and his super hot busty blonde sister Arlie (who was in fact a former Playmate), some tallish chick named Stinger who sports a glorified mullet and a falcon and then there's Spike a cute modestly dressed brunette who has telepathic powers, they all team up and "battle the force's of evil" namely Scourge and Scag. Scourge is played by an acne-scarred Filipino actor who, funnily enough, sports a "painted-on" widows peak to further enhance villainous visage (it's real obvious looking in hi-res) and I really dig this guys costume - the baddies ALWAYS have the coolest costumes. Scag, what a character, a mountain of a man and second in command, perpetually wearing a large pair of dated looking shades from the 80's and gnashing on cigars; the shades and full beard combo gives him the air of that of a manager of hard a drinkin' and hard partyin' 80's rock band, maybe the Marshall Tucker Band perhaps (his real name "Jack S. Daniels" just screams party 247!) - in any case Scag is a force to be reckoned with. These two BMF's lead a gang of about a hundred scroungy, hairy-faced road warriors, decked out in your standard bad-guy apparel of black leather and bullet belts.
The bad guys kidnap Trace's pretty sister and he vow's to rescue her and along the way has several colorful encounters and tons vehicular carnage and gunplay ensues. Some good vehicular stunts here and there, particularly in the middle of the film, NOT Mad Max caliber, but still pretty good. Wheels of Fire has some hilariously cheesy, profanity-laced dialogue and a lot of it, the movie is peppered with poorly written juvenile sounding lingo and often their delivery is just as bad as the dialogue itself, especially Arlie's lines (or in other words the busty blonde). Throughout the film the actors are often poorly miked up, making their words hard to make out at times, also dialogue is often crudely over-dubbed making for some humorous moments - that red-headed biker with the cracky voice, oh my, that's one of the funniest voices.
I think Wheels of Fire portrays a pretty accurate image of what a post-apocalyptic world would be like, rampant lawlessness with roving bandits raping, murdering and pillaging. Heavy doses of blatant misogynistic behavior and rape are seen throughout the film, everybody wants a piece of Arlie's sweet tail (she's a Playboy Bunny after all).
I must say Gary Watkins, the actor who play's the lead role of Trace, is very convincing with his handling of all the weaponry he uses through out the movie, he's good in hand-to-hand combat also. A solid rough n' tough 6'3 specimen, he should have been in more actioners like Wheels of Fire. I can't accuse him of being a great actor, but he really fit the bill for the physicality the role required.
Filmed in the Philippines the landscapes are very arid and rocky, not unlike what you'd see in the Mad Max films, only that's in Australia. At the end of the film a filipino army regiment comes in and fills out the ranks for the good guys and Scourge and Scag are defeated at last.
For such a low-budget affair, Wheels of Fire is enhanced greatly by an uncommonly good orchestral score, composed by a very young and at the time largely unknown Christopher Young. At the request of the producers, Young made the music sound as "Goldsmithian" as possible, with terrific sounding results. This seems to be the only one of his PAW films that Cirio H. Santiago splurged on in the music department, because ALL the rest are limply driven along by primitive drum-machines and ultra-lame Casio keyboards.
So if you ever find yourself hankering for some good old violent, grimy, low-brow fun from the 80's (every second of this movie looks and sounds PROFOUNDLY 80's) well then Wheels of Fire is very highly recommended. I myself own 3 or 4 copies of it, proud to say I own it on limited edition Blu-ray, as part of "Roger Corman's Post-Nuke Collection".
Note: By no-means is this a "Date Movie", your lady-friend WILL BE DISGUSTED by your taste in movies, I suggest you watch it in your man cave with a cold six-pack as your company. Just sit back and ogle at Lynda Wiesmeier's spectacular rack, because her "twins" are the movies biggest stars......or is it Trace's cool Mustang? You be the judge.
Review by Idiot-Deluxe from the Internet Movie Database.