On the day that Harold Camping said the world would end (for the second time) I sat down to watch Sons of Steel. That’s fitting seeing as Sons of Steel, made in 1989 and set in 2012, follows rock-star Black Alice as he tries to bring down the totalitarian government and stop the end of the world. Alice (Rob Hartley) is a rock-star/sex-god and the leader of the anti-nuclear movement against the fascist government whose employees all have long silver fingernails on their little fingers (random, I know).
After his girlfriend dies of a drug overdose Alice makes his way to the fascists’ headquarters where he has been told a hologram of himself is going to be made. Enter Secta, the crazed scientist seeking immortality and a new race, played by Australian singer/entertainer Jeff Duff, and his sister Hope, a scientist with ethics and yet another of Alice’s short-lived love interests. The government, to get Alice out of the way, entrap him in the hologram and leave him as they turn their attention to the rest of the protestors.
It is only when, in the year 2127, two barbarian-esque figures accidentally pull a lever and Alice wakes up, disorientated and confused, and in a world no longer his. Secta has survived and now regrets his support of a totalitarian regime and, now aided by a midget sidekick called Big and with a costume change in every scene, the motley crew set about reversing time so Alice can get to the ferry in time to stop the nuclear meltdown and save the world.
Oh, and did I mention that this is also a musical?
Well it is. It is also writer-director Gary Keady’s only film, a shame really for in this world of acid rain, punk-rock music, inspiring asymmetrical haircuts, epic shoulder pads, and clichéd dialogue emerges quite a good film. This genre-mix pays homage (intentional or otherwise) to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Labyrinth, MTV video clips and just about every other gun-toting hero of the time. As Alice belts out rock songs and slowly looses more and more articles of clothing, the films anti-nuclear message becomes clearer, working much more effectively than the previous The Chain Reaction (1980).
Yes, Sons of Steel has some pretty bad scene transitions, and was obviously made with a low budget (although being billed as a $3million feature, only $900,000 was able to go towards the film with the rest going toward producers and legal fees… thanks again 10BA). But it’s funny and well-enough made, although casting Hartley as a musician who can get all the girls may not have been the best move, and the film has some quite surreal moments. It’s a little hard to find, but it is out there and well worth a look.