During the latest episode of CinemAddicts, I expressed a few reservations about watching Scorched Earth. Upon first blush, the post-apocalyptic/Western mash-up seemed like a cheap B-movie that would end up as a huge waste of time.
The good news is that the film is directed by Peter Howitt, the director behind the excellent Gwyneth Patrow flick Sliding Doors, and Gina Carano, so memorable in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, serves as the lead. Along with Sliding Doors co-star John Hannah in the mix, the movie actually surpassed my low expectations.
Earth is now a wasteland where breathing clear air and drinking clean water is a luxury, as survivors need breathing masks and filtering systems simply to stay above ground. Attica Gage (Carano) is a no-nonsense bounty hunter who tracks down criminals simply for profit, refusing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Her biggest target is Jackson (a delightful, scenery chewing Ryan Robbins), a ruthless leader of cutthroats who’s lording over a fear ridden town. Attica eventually ingratiates herself into Jackson and his crew, hoping to find a moment to catch him off guard and compete her mission.
Hannah is Doc, Attica’s nurturing and sarcastic mentor who advises her not to steer clear of Jackson to no avail, and the story’s third act features the pair attempting to ride out of this destructive, one-horse town alive and kicking.
Howitt is clearly a fan of Westerns, and Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy is clearly an influence on this picture. Though it doesn’t have the narrative gravitas of a Leone flick, Scorched Earth has its share of solid action scenes (along with a refreshingly game Carano) to keep this boat afloat. As proven by Haywire and now Scorched Earth, Carano is more than capable of carrying her own film – hopefully there’s much more lead roles to come down the pike.
Scorched Earth, now playing in select theaters, is also available on Digital HD and On Demand.