Rowdy Roddy Piper was the main person I had in mind when I referenced pro-wrestlers in the first question of The Filmmaker's Exam. I've seen this man just being himself in serious interviews. He's articulate, relatively intelligent, and when he talks about his family (he's got about a kazillion kids) he shows genuine emotion. Put him in front of a movie camera, however, and he becomes a living, breathing caricature. Nothing about him seems real or genuine. He doesn't even seem human most of the time. He's just a walking joke with no punchline.
This movie, for all its badness, actually seems to take advantage of this "feature" of Piper's by making every other character in the film a caricature as well. Nobody has more than one dimension, and usually that one dimension is "smart" or "tough" or "bad."
Some people have tried to tell me this movie is not bad -- it's "campy." I've never really understood the concept of "camp." After much thought, I've decided that "campy" is how people who don't like to admit to liking bad movies describe bad movies they like.
The premise of this movie is that the world was blown up in a nuclear war ten years ago. Now the human race has been almost wiped out, and frogs have mutated into intelligent, bipedal, evil creatures. Most of the human race has been sterilized by the radiation, and women outnumber men. Fertile women are a rare commodity, but fertile men are even rarer. Enter Roddy Piper. He's a criminal drifter who has apparently left a string of pregnancies behind him wherever he's been. He's taken to the labs of Medtech after being captured by an evil border guard, and they press him into service. Either he signs a contract to "work" for them fertilizing women, or he has to go back and face the wrath of the evil guard. It's an easy decision.
The Medtech women put a steel jock strap on him to protect their property (the front plate says "Property of Provisional Government") and send him out into the field. It seems that the evil frog people have raided a border town and stolen a bunch of fertile women. It's up to Sam Hell (Piper) and two Medtech women to get them out of Frogtown and fertilized.
There are a few genuinely funny scenes where Piper discovers the special properties of his new underwear, but most of the laughs in this movie are at its own expense. Early on the senior Medtech woman tries to excite Piper to get him ready to perform his duties with a recaptured fertile woman. "I've been trained in seduction," she says and goes on to perform the most wooden strip-tease ever. Suddenly, she gets embarrassed (much too late), and she and Piper have some sort of "moment." I'm not sure what this was supposed to be about, but the two of them end up having several such random "moments" throughout the course of the film.
This movie goes through all the standard action/SF/adventure film gyrations, and Piper muddles his way through his lines. Nobody looks like they really care, and nothing about the movie seems real. The best part of the film are the ridiculous inhabitants of Frogtown, who look like mistakes from Planet of the Apes. ("Apes! We wanted Apes, not Frogs! Get out of here! Fire that makeup guy!") Their costumes are surprisingly good, except when they try to talk -- then they are reavealed for the plastic masks they are.
Late in the movie, a man falls off a high rock after Piper thows his sword at him. He falls down and lands in the clearly visible stunt bag. What? Not only can you see the thing as he hits it, you can hear the dull thud and whooshing sound. Didn't anyone notice this??
There is nothing really outstandingly bad about this movie -- its more a culmination of all the mediocrity provided by Piper and the rest of the cast that makes this movie bad. However, it is quite entertaining and would be well enjoyed by a gang of bad movie lovers.
Scene to watch for: Seduction in Frogtown.
Best line: "This man is carrying a loaded weapon."
Things that make you go "Huh?": The stunt bag.