Total trash. But it doesn't pretend to be anything else. Some scenes were meme-worthy, particularly Ivan smiling between boom-boxes while Slick torched bus-bound kids; Ivan's rape skates; and Ivan peeking gleefully through a doorway into a policeman's interview room.
This is the kind of movie best enjoyed with your friends after a couple of drinks, the kind of viewing experience that asks you to shout and jeer at the screen while cracking dirty jokes with your buddies. That's mostly because this is a grindhouse film to its core, a celebration of the creepy (but cool) uncle in the big movie genre family.
Canadian made homage to exploitation films that would have fit in with early 80's grindhouse times square cinema. Ugly to look at with ridiculous bloody effects but hard to look away from. Rutger Hauer seems to think he's in some kind of Shakespeare adaptation and aims for the galleys which just ads to the fun. Overlong at just 1 hr 20min. Fun for awhile but just peters out.
I've disliked nearly everything I've seen from John Carpenter, but I adored this... so I don't necessarily agree with the prior statements. I think the gratitude should be geared towards the Grindhouse/Exploitation genre as a whole... not Carpenter's watered down, Hollywood-acceptable take on it.