Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lance Hool|
|Produced by||Conrad Hool
|Written by||Doug Lefler|
|Music by||Brian May|
|Edited by||Mark Conte|
|Distributed by||Vestron, Inc.|
An enigmatic swordsman named Nomad (Patrick Swayze), wanders through the desert in a post-World War III world. He searches for his mentor's killer, the assassin Sho (Christopher Neame). The war itself is never described, but there are hints that a new government rose soon afterwards, though it has lost power since.
In the past, Nomad had a position of privilege as a soldier of the elite guard. Since firearms are no longer available, edged weapons have been revived as the standard fighting tools. The elite guard mastered the use of swords and carried them in an unusual, upright fashion. Nomad's family were, in some way, killed and this continues to torture him.
Nomad runs into a group of settlers in the town of Meridian. Damnil (Anthony Zerbe), a local landowner, and his gang are attacking the town to gain a monopoly on the local water supply. Nomad stays at a local farm owned by the widow Kasha (Lisa Niemi). She has a son named Jux, who quickly endears himself to Nomad. Kasha reveals to Nomad that she has an endless source of pure water under her land and plans to eventually irrigate the whole valley.
Nomad teams up with Kasha's foreman, Tark (Brion James), to oppose Damnil and his bullying tactics. Meanwhile, Nomad and Kasha's relationship becomes romantic. Sho and some of Damnil's men show up in town, leading to Sho and Nomad having a brutal staff fight. Tark gets in the way and is stabbed in the abdomen by Sho and dies. Jux is kidnapped by Damnil's men.
Nomad plans to rescue Jux, but is locked in a safe with his sword by Kasha. She goes to Damnil's farm alone, offering to reveal her source of water if they free Jux. A stand-off ensues, allowing Jux to escape. As Damnil's men chase him down, Nomad comes just in time to save Jux's life.
Nomad and Jux return to Damnil's farm to rescue Kasha. Nomad has a final battle with Sho. Nomad is victorious and kills Damnil as well. The valley begins Kasha's irrigation project. Nomad bids farewell to Kasha and Jux. They watch as he and his dog walks off into the desert.
- Patrick Swayze as Nomad
- Lisa Niemi as Kasha
- Anthony Zerbe as Damnil
- Brion James as Tark
- Christopher Neame as Sho
- John Fujioka as Cord
- Brett Hool as Jux
- Marcel Van Heerden as Lann
- Arnold Vosloo as Makker
In a retrospective review from Film.com, Eric D. Snider wrote, "[Steel Dawn] has a very simple plot, so the only way to stretch the material into 90 minutes is to spend some time with the characters and watch them inhabit their strange, futuristic world. But the movie also has very simple characters who are devoid of personality and are not fun to spend time with, and the movie has also refused to set up their strange, futuristic world in any kind of detail."
Matt Gamble, of Where the Long Tail Ends, gave a more positive review, writing, "Steel Dawn opens with...a scene so amazing that it will melt your face right off. The problem is, the scene achieves such great heights that the rest of the film pales in comparison. Which is a shame, as Steel Dawn is a damn solid, if a bit predictable, movie."
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