Writer/director Albert Pyun's first foray into post-nuke sci-fi/action cinema remains to this very day his single most novel and idiosyncratic entry in that sub-genre. It's a wickedly wacked-out black comic tongue-in-cheek end-of-the-world oddity which fuses vintage 40's film noir conventions -- morally upright gumshoes with a strong personal code of honor that's constantly being challenged by every twisted turn of the convoluted jigsaw plot, fetching femme fatales, evil criminal underground figures, hard-boiled introspective narration, assorted just-looking-out-for-themselves opportunistic low-life dirtbags double and triple crossing our amiably guileless heroes, dense, smoky, shadowy lighting, a gritty urban setting teeming with violence, corruption, treachery, and unremitting moral blackness, a fiery big gun-blasting shoot-out ending -- with a raucous, spiky, nose-thumbing 80's funk-punk sensibility.
John Stockwell and Michael Dudikoff are utterly engaging as Phillip and Marlowe, a pair of cloddish, wet-behind-the-ears, pork-pie hat and trenchcoat-wearing innocents who pattern themselves after laconically cool private eyes after spending most of their lives reading pulpy crime thriller books in a subterranean nuclear fall-out shelter. Coming above ground on April 1st, 2010, the bumbling pair, unaware that they possess the two keys for the last functional MX missile in existence, are totally unprepared for the harrowing experiences they have when they finally venture into the brutish, bombed-out post-apocalyptic world. The endearingly dumb duo have perilous run-ins with rot-faced hippie cannibals, red-haired hog-riding biker chicks, belligerent greasers, foul-mouthed white-suited disco mutant kids (!), decadent punks, and gigantic carnivorous sewer rats when they arrive in Edge City, a grimy, amoral metropolis populated by all kinds of freakish subhuman filth. The key folks who mercilessly chase after our boys are lethally enticing, cold-blooded fugitive dame Miles Archer (marvelously played to the nasty, "don't mess with me Buster!" nines by imposing, statuesque tall drink of luscious blonde water Lisa Blount), feisty tart with a heart Rusty Mars (tasty brunette dish Michele Little), and vicious mob kingpins Dash Hammer (a superbly steely Don Murray) and Spade Chandler (the always invigorating George Kennedy), who are the two dastardly dudes who dumped the guys in the shelter back in 1996.
Loaded to the vibrant, head-bursting brim with grungy clothes fashions, equally grotty set designs, gnarly make-up f/x by Greg ("Vamp") Cannom, stylishly dim cinematography by Charles Minsky, a first-rate wild'n'wailing New Wave soundtrack (the groovy theme song especially smokes), a generous sprinkling of thrilling frantic action, a very dark sense of warped brash humor, dynamic direction, wittily right-on homages to classic 40's literary fiction and film noir movies, spirited performances, punchy pacing, colorfully quirky characters, and enough inspired oddball ideas for at least a dozen pictures, "Radioactive Dreams" cooks with a maniacally stoked, hopped-up vitality that's both funny and enjoyable in equal measure, therefor making this welcome change-of-pace lampoon a refreshingly offbeat delight.