The Ninjabot

Post-Nuke Review Double Feature: 2019 AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK (1983) and EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 (1983)

Posted on May 13, 2015 at 11:53 am by Dylan Reynolds

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To wrap up my binge of Post Nuke flicks in anticipation of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD I’m going close it out nice and proper with a couple selections from Italy. As I’ve mentioned in my double review of the admittedly “bottom of the barrel scrapping” efforts RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR and 2020: TEXAS GLADIATORS- “Spaghetti- sploitation” filmmakers went nuts (justifiably) when ROAD WARRIOR and ESCAPE FROM N.Y. were released in 1981- which effectively sparked “Post Nuke fever” and a countless stream of “Mad Max imitators” for the first half of the decade.

Now ripping off popular films (usually American) was almost like a past time for Italy during the “Grindhouse Golden Age” of the 70s and 80s. And often the results were sleazier, gorier, and even more exploitive than the American “originals”- which were exploitation films to begin with. The results weren’t always necessarily “good” but were (usually) vastly entertaining and memorable.

2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK and EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 are considered two of the best offerings the Italians made to the sub genre. And if you’re looking to check out a quintessential “Mad Max rip off” these two flicks have all the popular “aesthetic elements” in place; patchwork wardrobe with an S&M influence (leather/ spikes/ chains), sets that were almost art installations of “found objects”, and rusted out cars/ motorcycles/ dune buggies with weird and impractical weapons and other crap glued onto them in an effort to look “cool”.

2019 was helmed by one Sergio Martino- an effective and underrated genre filmmaker who doesn’t really get the same love as the other “heavy hitters” of Italian cinema like Leone, 1288093432Argento, or Bava. But as I’ve explored the movies of this era his name has come up a number of times linked to some very solid flicks- especially in the Giallo/ Slasher sub-genre (‘71s CASE OF THE SCORPION’S TALE, ’72s YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM, and ‘73s TORSO are some of the best giali I have seen).

But perhaps my favorite movie of his is the insanely entertaining ATOMIC CYBORG (or alternatively titled HANDS OF STEEL). Which deserves a round of applause for having the brilliance to combine the cyborg/sci fi action of TERMINATOR and the “trucker/ arm wrestling competition” of OVER THE TOP with a “dystopian future” backdrop. And even though those disparate elements probably should never go together Martino makes the whole affair work admirably well and the movie would later serve as a clear influence on ‘92s UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (and some say even the Terminator sequels) in terms of plot, set up and setting.

2019AftertheFallofNewYork19838Now most of these Italian Post Nuke flicks would take their cues primarily from Mad Max/ Road Warrior- with a touch or two of ESCAPE FROM NY working its way into the narrative. But 2019 AFTER THE FALL OF NY goes in the opposite direction as being a sort-of “re-imagining” of the John Carpenter classic.

We begin with the narration that sets up a world where two warring government/ corporate conglomerates have decimated the planet with nuclear war. Law and social order has all but collapsed- but the real “titty twister” is that a child hasn’t been born in the last fifteen years- so essentially the populace has become infertile and the human race will soon become extinct.

2019AftertheFallofNewYork19834We are then introduced to a guy named Snake Plisk-… uh, I mean Parsifal engaged in a sort-of gladiatorial combat using Road Warrior vehicles that are armed to the teeth with rockets and lasers. Parsifal wins the competition and sets out cruising the wasteland on his dune buggy when he is suddenly captured/ apprehended and brought before the President of “the Confederacy”.

The President has a dangerous mission for him; to infiltrate New York- the once proud metropolitan city- which has devolved into a lawless garbage strewn hell hole populated by mutants and deadly gangs where “the problem isn’t getting in… it’s getting out”.

Nueva York jajaja

Parsifal is tasked to find the “last fertile woman on earth” before the rival Fascist-esque government can get to her. In exchange he will be “reserved a seat” on a spacecraft that is traveling to another planet “to start over” and repopulate the human species.

2019AftertheFallofNewYork19835Parsifal accepts the mission and is joined by a couple other mercenaries to aid in his quest. They get into the Big Apple through underground sewers that are plagued with aggressive “man eating” rats. After making it out they clash with the various cutthroat gangs and mutants that reside around practically every corner of the city.

But not everyone they meet is hostile. With each “group” they encounter they end up 2019afterthefallofnewyorkrecruiting an ally- including a dwarf named Shorty who knows where the “fertile woman” is hidden, a “warrior babe” who serves as a love interest to Parsifal, and a half man/ half ape mutant named Big Ape (played by George Eastman- a legendary actor in Italian Exploitation cinema). And so this motley crew eventually finds the woman and they mount a final “blitz” to escape the city in a sequence that mirrors the climax of Escape from NY.

You can check out some of the action here- including a hilarious bit where Big Ape decapitates like ten dudes…

2019 AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK is a lot of fun and is rare case of a “knock off” that manages to “one up” the original with a plethora of creative ideas, concepts and characters. I wouldn’t go so far as to call 2019 a “better film” than Escape- but I will say that it delivers a rousing action/ adventure film with some memorable sequences and cool psychedelic visuals.

Up next on deck is EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 where water- not oil- is the ExterminatorsOfTheYear30001world’s most valuable commodity. We are introduced to a community that is attempting to grow plants in some greenhouse contraptions and try to create some semblance of a normal existence. But their water supply is running out and they will face certain death if they don’t find more.

Previously they had sent out an expedition to an untapped “water well” but after many weeks the convoy has failed to return and it is assumed that they perished. This is because the wasteland is a dangerous place with a constant threat coming from pillaging marauders. In desperation the community sends out another search party to find the water and predictably they are attacked by a barbaric gang lead by a guy named Crazy Bull.

It’s a pretty awesome action sequence with lots of explosions and vehicular mayhem- you can check it out here:

Everyone is brutally dispatched in short order except for one survivor- a young stowaway named Tommy- who tagged along hoping to find his father (who lead the original expedition that had never returned). Later he happens upon a Road Warrior named Alien- who rides around in a fortified/ weaponized ride dubbed “The Exterminator”.

Tommy tries to recruit Alien to help find the water supply so they can save his people. At first Alien tells the kid to kicks rocks but eventually circumstances compel him to save Tommy from the “Crazy Bull gang”. While on the rescue mission Alien learns that Tommy has a bionic arm (for some reason) that gets ripped off. So Alien takes Tommy to his mechanic friend who jerry-rigs his arm back into place but in the process gives the kid “super strength” (yes, this will come in handy later in the film).

imagesAlien also runs into a former love interest- a “warrior babe” (is there any other?) that goes by the name Trash (I love the character name’s in this movie). As it turns out- she knows where the water supply is and so they set out on their mission but now have to contend with a deranged “revenge seeking” Crazy Bull.

A couple fights, chases, and explosions later they manage to reach the water supply- which is xTwhPCwguarded with booby traps and crazed mutants with flamethrowers. Once they load up the water they make a run for it- only to have a showdown with Crazy Bull in what amounts to a “demolition derby” climax where Alien chases fools down in his Exterminator car and where Tommy’s “bionic arm” comes in handy as he launches sticks of dynamite that effectively wipes out the gang.

However- despite the better efforts of our heroes they lose the water and things begin to look bleak. Then in a rather abrupt and borderline “deus ex machina” ending it begins to rain for the first time in years and we are left assuming brighter days are ahead for the world.

exterminatorsiannucciLike all self respecting Post Nuke flicks- EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 has no shortage of action. But what raises the movie a notch or two above most of its ilk is the script- which granted, isn’t terribly original or groundbreaking- but has enough incident and ‘forward motion’ to never be boring. Plus you actually feel for the characters and relationships- especially between the boy Tommy and the ‘anti-hero’ Alien.

And much like 2019- with EXTERMINATORS you basically have what amounts to a retread of something that was done better and with more money. But what these respective directors knew- and what seems to be lost in the current era of SyFy Channel Originals and the Asylum- is that just because you are making a B movie doesn’t mean you should approach or treat the material dismissively. Ultimately what makes a “good B- movie” is not the amount of gore/ action or how much it resembles other more popular films- just like any story or work of art what counts is that it is made with conviction, earnestness, and honesty. In other words… with heart.

And for their part- 2019 and EXTERMINATORS have plenty of heart behind their rusted Road Warrior frames.

Be sure to check out my other Post-Nuke reviews.

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