Written by: John White on April 17th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1982
Directors: Sergio Martino (2019: After The fall of New York), Enzo Castellari (1990:Bronx Warriors/ The New Barbarians)
Cast: George Eastman, Fred Williamson, Vic Morrow, Anna Kanakis, Michael Sopkiw
DVD released: December 13th, 2005 (reissued as box set)
Approximate running time: 96 minutes (2019: After The fall of New York), 92 minutes (1990:Bronx Warriors), 91 minutes (The New Barbarians)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (2019: After The fall of New York), 2.35:1 anamorphic Widescreen (1990:Bronx Warriors/ The New Barbarians)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English (2019: After The fall of New York), Dolby Digital Mono English (All Films)
DVD Release: Shriek Show / Media Blasters
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Overview: Media Blasters have put the three titles from their Post-Apocalyptic collection into one box set. These films were made by Italian directors jumping on the commercial bandwagon of films like Mad Max, Blade Runner and Escape From New York.
2019: After The fall of New York: In a post nuclear world, Parsifal is blackmailed by the President of the Pan-American congress to enter the hell-hole new York has become in order to remove the last fertile human woman. Parsifal is joined by two volunteers, a strongman and a man with a robotic arm. They enter New York through the sewers coming across mutants, scavengers and the ape men. When they are caught by the Euracs, they are tortured and Parsifal reveals his mission. So begins a deadly chase to find the last fertile woman in order to control the future of mankind.
Sergio Martino’s go at the post apocalyptic action movie is rather successful. Combining elements of Escape From New York and Planet of the Apes, the plot flies amorally along whilst all manner of cruelty is perpetrated by the evil black-suited Euracs. The Pan American Congress is no better and their defeated corrupt world is just as repellent as the fascist Euracs to Parsifal. Michael Sopkiw is very good here as the Snake Plissken knock off and his cynicism is eventually beaten by the love of a good woman and the future of the species.
Along the way, there are scuzzy mutants, ethnic purges, a great fight in a scrap yard, rats, dwarves and George Eastman as a horny Man Ape who gets first dibs on the future mother of the human race. When the woman wakes up at the end of the film it is amusing to imagine what Parsifal will tell her about the world she has missed in her coma. Will he start with the cataclysmic nuclear war, the death of her father, or the fact she has been impregnated by a seven foot Chimp.
2019 is the best of the three films in the box set and well worth owning.
1990:Bronx Warriors: Anne is the heir to a very large corporation and has escaped into the Bronx to get away from the men controlling her. The Bronx has become a virtual no-go area for the police and anyone but the gangs of Hell’s Angels, Tap-dancing assassins, and the gang of head honcho, the Ogre. Anne is rescued from a roller hockey gang by the Hell’s Angels and starts to fall for gang leader, Trash. Her guardians decide to call on the services of the Hammer to get her back. The Hammer starts by setting the gangs against each other. Will the gangs fight each other or fight back?
Enzo Castellari marshals the forces of US stars like Vic Morrow and Fred Williamson here with Italian man mountain George Eastman and Castellari’s daughter. Unfortunately he also chose to discover the male lead, Mark Gregory. As Trash, Gregory is simply dreadful and he clearly can’t act. He also can’t walk in a way than reminds you of John Wayne rather than Judy Garland and his pouting effeminate presence rather hamstrings the main drive of this otherwise impressive outing from Catellari.
Bronx Warriors takes the plot of a Fistful of dollars and flips it so that the tactician, here Hammer played by Morrow, is actually the baddie and the gangs are the goodies. Castellari delivers this idea with shedloads of style. The film oozes attitude from the brilliant opening titles, to the roller hockey gang, to the tap dancing assassins, to Williamson’s brilliant demise with cigar in mouth about to be incinerated.
In the end Bronx Warriors has the police and big business as the villains who will get theirs once the politicised Anne takes charge of her inheritance. Great fun for 90 minutes of anyone’s time.
The New Barbarians: In the detritus left by a nuclear war, a gang called the Templars is rounding up survivors to exterminate them. The species has to be purged and women must be exterminated. One man has refused to join them, Scorpion, and he rescues a woman from them only to bring their wrath down on him. With the help of Nadir, a fellow free spirit, will he be able to stop them from cleansing a local community. When Scorpion is caught, nothing stands between the Templars and the final end of their cause.
In Castellari’s words, on Bronx Warriors he was being a director and on this film he was playing at being one. New Barbarians does not take itself seriously and the basic concept of a bunch of avenging homosexual knights destroying womankind is not really deserving of seriousness. Consequently, Castellari revels in the cheapness of this production and makes it hokey enough to be good fun if nothing more.
Fred Williamson turns up as a black archer with exploding arrows which cues lots of dummies being shot up and offal being thrown around. Miss Italy(Anna Kanakis) turns up in a non-acting role as damsel in distress who sleeps with Scorpion, she apparently got cast as she was the wife of Claudio Simonetti who had some fun with the score here. Best of all, George Eastman appears again as the leader of the Templars.
Eastman is thoroughly evil and even takes time to take Scorpion is a rape scene which is played as some kind of initiation ceremony with coloured lighting and manic mugging from the pleasured Eastman. This is then hilariously reprised when Eastman meets his end with a large drill corkscrewing him at the very end. New Barbarians is the least of the three films and more of a rental than a keeper.
All three discs are presented anamorphically. The transfers for the two Castellari films are very good, but the Martino effort suffers flickering throughout the main feature. The sound on the New Barbarians is poor with the two channels fading in and out from the very beginning, the other two soundtrack have odd noises but are generally good and in the case of the 5.1 on 2019, the surround effects are quite flat.
All of the films are presented in English dubs which in the case of Bronx Warrior is how it was filmed. The two Catellari discs have director commentaries in English which are great fun as Castellari explains how he made the best use of low budgets and laughs his head off when Eastman is poetically killed in New Barbarians.
The discs include great interviews with Fred Williamson being tremendously engaging about his success and a quiet thoughtful Eastman giving the lie to his image.
For $20, this is a great package of two good films and one fun one. If you want to see the many faces of George Eastman or just how clever Castellari was with hiding budget restrictions and crap actors, or even if you kinda enjoy this schlock, you’d be a fool not to buy this set.