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Review: SCORCHED EARTH (2018)

In a future where civilization has been destroyed by global warming, using gas-powered vehicles will be one of the worst crimes possible. So the few people are left rely on horses for transport. Indeed, the world of Peter Howitt’s SCORCHED EARTH very much resembles that of a Western in many ways. Saloons, ten-gallon hats, outlaw gangs, and bounty hunters have all made a comeback as well. In fact, if it wasn’t for all the modern firearms and occasional motor vehicles, this could be a Western.

Gage, (Gina Carano TERROR ON THE PRAIRIE, FAST & FURIOUS 6) is a bounty hunter She manages to track her prey, Chavo (Luvia Petersen DEAD RISING: ENDGAME) and her gang down and kill them, rescuing a group of captives in the process. At first, she’s upset, since bringing them in alive would get her twice the reward. But then it occurs to her, they’re the same build and look similar, she can pass herself off as Chavo and infiltrate Defiance, an outlaw stronghold and collect some serious bounties.

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Her mentor Doc (John Hannah GHOST SON, ALLEYCATS) advises her against it, but we all know how well that works. There’s money to be made, and Jackson (Ryan Robbins SPECTRAL, APOLLO 18), the mayor of Defiance, is one of the men who killed Gage’s sister. May the odds be ever in her favour.

We first see Gage dragging a coffin behind her horse in a nod to the classic Spaghetti Western DJANGO and that pretty well sets the tone of what’s to come. Sure the world is polluted as hell and the currency of choice is water purification tablets and pure silver dust, (for breathing masks) not gold coins, but this is a Western at heart. Gage could easily have stepped out of any of the hundreds of similarly plotted films we’ve seen before.

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If SCORCHED EARTH had made proper use of Carano it would have helped set it apart from the pack a bit. She’s a pioneer of competitive female MMA and has proven she can fight for the camera as well as she could in the ring. But here she doesn’t get to put her skills too much use, and solves most of her problems with a gun. Which totally defeats the point of casting her in the first place.

SCORCHED EARTH might be an ok time killer for post-apocalypse completists and Western junkies looking for a quick fix, but it’s really just more of the same.

SCORCHED EARTH is available on VOD and iTunes from Great Point Media.

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