Solarbabies, Solarwarriors (1986)
Directed by: Alan Johnson
Written by: D.A. Metrov, Walon Green
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Charles Durning, James LeGros, Jami Gertz, Jason Patric, Lukas Haas, Richard Jordan
Directed by Alan Johnson
Available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Amazon
Set in the distant future, the Earth has become a dry, barren landscape with all the oceans have dried up and one sinister corporation E-Protectorate rules the lands and rations what little water remains. Taking children from their homes, they raise the youths in prison-like orphanages to be brainwashed into obeying authority. Fortunately, the youngsters get to have a bit of a social life in the way of team sport rollerskating hockey.
The orphange’s kind-hearted, successful skating team Solarbabies discover an extraterrestrial orb that appears to control the weather as well as cure the hearing of their deaf mascot Daniel, but before they can discover its full power, the orb is stolen by one of their fellow orphans. Hot on the tail of the orb, the Solarbabies must find the precious alien sphere before it falls into the hands of the E-Protectorate.
Post-apocalyptic family movie SOLARWARRIORS, also known as Solarbabies, is quick to introduce us to two sets of rebellious youths: the wicked Scorpions, who get kicks out of hurting others, and the Solarbabies, team-players who genuinely care about doing what’s right. This rivalry establishes the two sides of the world the youths live in: those who obey and even enjoy the draconian life they live and those who yearn to discover the truth about their lives and live as full a life as they possibly can. Fortunately, the orphanage is run by a kindly warden who encourages his youngsters rather than treat them like prisoners which the state, and Nazi-like E-police officer Strictor Grock, would prefer them to be. The Solarbabies, consisting of Jason, Terra, Metron, Rabbit, Tug and young mascot Daniel, are well-behaved teens who generally try not to upset the warden but when provoked by the Scorpions, they defend their honour. The duty the Solarbabies have to each other as friends means they don’t hesitate when they discover youngest member Daniel has gone in search for missing orb Bodhi. With little concern over their own welfare, facing a painful punishment if caught, the gang set out to find their friend and the magical orb that seems to hold the key to restoring their world to its former glory.
With a Power Rangers style camaraderie, SOLARWARRIORS is a feel-good adventure film with its protangonists on rollerskates sure to encourage younger viewers to run out to the shops and get a pair themselves. The post-apocalyptic wasteland setting screams Mad Max but allows us to see the environment from the point of view of younger eyes who’ve known nothing different having grown up in this world, a place where thunderclouds are a work of fiction. This setting combined with the controlling police state leaves the inhabitants little more than a slave to the system so to have these group of kids rebelling against “the man” encourages the viewer to really get behind the youths and root for their success.
SOLARWARRIORS features some pretty famous faces in the shape of Jason Patric and Jami Gertz (Lost Boys), Adrian Pasdar (Near Dark, Heroes), Charles Durning (O’Brother Where Art Thou), James LeGros (Point Break, Phantasm II), Richard Jordan (Dune) and a young Lukas Haas (Brick, Inception), all of whom really make this film an entertaining watch. Their personalities in their respective parts really allows you to believe in their story and quest so when the Solarbabies are threatened with capture, the adrenaline kicks in as the viewer wills them to evade police custody.
With its action-packed adventure, 80’s fashion and haircuts and heartwarming tale of friendship, SOLARWARRIORS is an enjoyable watch for all the family.