A decent premise — and a game Gina Carano — get left in the dust kicked up by “Scorched Earth,” a dull, draggy post-apocalyptic western set in the not-too-distant, environmentally toxic future.
Welcome to the Wasteland, the end result of a worldwide eco-disaster that has rendered the air unbreathable and water undrinkable, while those who are still driving illegal fossil fuel-burning vehicles known collectively as “Belchers” are the targets of roving bounty hunters.
One of the best in the business is Attica Gage (former MMA star Carano), who has a personal score to settle against the ruthless Jackson (Ryan Robbins), an outlaw who has enslaved an entire town, forcing its inhabitants to mine the valuable silver that’s essential to the oxygen- and water-purification process.
Despite the provocative set-up, the film, directed with a bland earnestness by Peter Howitt (“Sliding Doors”) isn’t so much a climate change cautionary tale as it is a sluggishly executed genre piece.
Although Howitt certainly has a formidable physical presence in the affable Carano (who made for an effective Angel Dust in “Deadpool”) as his female lead, she’s far better served by action than dialogue, especially when it’s weighted down with clunky, Schwarzenegger-esque one-liners like “suck wind and die!”
Just like the Wasteland’s once fresh air, all the potential fun has been sucked out of the movie.
Rating: R, for violence and some language
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Playing: Regency Plant 16, Van Nuys; also on VOD