One mysterious thing about "Steel Dawn" (citywide) is its title. Are the makers of this post-apocalyptic "Road Warrior" rip-off predicting the dawn of a new Survivalist Age? A steelier one? Are they referring to the metallic doodads that adorn the landscape--without any visible source of supply? Whatever the title's significance, the movie is atrocious. The plot alone makes your mind reel.
In some distant year, after the bomb has dropped and civilization has shriveled away, a wanderer--named, appropriately, Nomad (Patrick Swayze)--appears in the desert, battling off curious little monsters that wear burlap garments, bite and burrow in the sand dunes. Later, Nomad suddenly meets his wise old samurai teacher, Cord (John Fujioka), only to watch him massacred in a bar by the crazed, swaggering, braggart bandit, Sho (Christopher Neame).
Vowing vengeance, Nomad tracks Sho to a little town--where a beleaguered young widow in crimp hairdo and designer jeans, Kasha (Lisa Niemi), is battling over water rights with the sneeringly villainous Damnil (Anthony Zerbe) and his associates. Perhaps only the lack of registries and railroads prevents these cads from demanding the deed to the ranch and tying her to the tracks.
There's also a dog, a little boy, a brawny, good-hearted ranch foreman and a chase across the sand in some rickety cars propelled by what look like steel sails (are they the steel dawn?), followed by a duel to the death with axes.