The future, yet again mankind has unleashed armageddon upon the world. In this radioactive wasteland criminal Sam Hell has been captured by the authorities. But, as one of the few fertile men on the planet, he is press-ganged into serving the Medtech corporation, on a mission to rescue and impregnate kidnapped viable females. But there is the little matter of intelligent mutant frogs to contend with.
Name a movie starring American wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper? They Live will probably be the one that springs to mind but can you name another? A tough question because after his winning turn in John Carpenter's classic about evil aliens plotting to take over the world Piper unfairly drifted into obscurity. But prior to They Live he took the lead in Hell Comes To Frogtown, one of the numerous post apocalyptic B-movies that cluttered the shelves of video rental stores in the 80s.
With its tongue firmly in its radioactive cheek Hell Comes To Frogtown pretty much lives up to its title, a mix of Mad Max, Planet of the Apes and countless other futuristic movies. But none of them have a hero who spends most of the movie wearing an explosive codpiece. The man forced into this contraption is Sam Hell, on paper your run of the mill anti-hero, but thanks to Roddy Piper's performance he's a likeable engaging character. Whether delivering one-liners, attempting to escape from his captors or engaging in punch ups with talking frogs his performance is key to the film's success; where the plot would fall flat Piper's on hand to hold your attention. As is another regular of genre cinema, Sandhal Bergman as Spangle leader of the mission who's ready strip down to her underwear, only when the plot demands it of course. The bickering between her and Piper throughout all adds to the light tone of the movie as our characters travel the wastelands to their destination, Frogtown.
Yes Frogtown, that other element of the movie where a group of fertile women are held captive. To be honest, despite the low budget the amphibian nemeses are pretty well realised, with evil frog commanders and a green-skinned stripper who takes a shine to Sam. But the plot loses its way somewhat in its final act with the whole thing running out of steam. But there's a few fist fights, Sandhal performing the Dance of the Three Snakes and our hero engaging in a final mano a mano with what looks like Kermit's evil older brother to maintain interest.
At a time when most summer blockbusters are little more than B-movie's with million dollar budgets Hell Comes To Frogtown is certainly no worse than what's currently on offer at the local multiplex. Cheap and cheerful its narrative lulls and directorial shortcomings are glossed over by a winning central performance and a smattering of witty dialogue. Its no cinematic masterpiece, but were there any talking mutant frogs in Citizen Kane?