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April 2, 2016

Movie Review: The New Barbarians (1983, Blu-ray)

The premise of this film sounded a lot like that stinker I reviewed a month or so ago - Escape from the Bronx. And what’s this? The same guys who wrote that wrote this? Which is also a dystopian future? And bad guys are running around killing people? And it’s filled with Italian actors and terribleness?

Way to raise the bar for yourselves, guys.

The New Barbarians (as opposed to the old kind?) takes place in 2019. A nuclear war has decimated the country and the population. Small bands of people try to survive on what they can scrounge in this wasteland while searching for signs that civilization still exists elsewhere via large and over-complicated ham radios.

Cue The Templars, a group of thieving Mad Max wannabes in Xanadu costumes. They believe the world is dead and any survivors they find deserve to die. You know, after taking all their shit. And they don’t just kill people. They have dirt bikes and sand rails equipped with bazookas, flamethrowers, and rotating blades! They will purify the world with blood! Just not their own

We then meet Scorpion, a former Templar, now loner bad-ass. When he saves Alma, she of the thigh high boots and no pants (because Future Fashion sense) from a Templar attack, word gets back to their leader, One, who wants to take some serious revenge out on Scorpion’s hide. Alma just wants to give him her goodies in his light up inflatable bouncy house (aka tent).

Eventually Scorpion, Alma, fellow bad-ass Nadir (Fred Williamson), and plucky Renaissance child simply billed as The Young Mechanic hook up with a roaming band of survivors called the Sect who believe in a higher power called “God”. And as the Templars blame bible thumping for the holocaust, they really really want all of them really really dead (slightly ironic that a band of Templars want the religious folks dead considering they were the church military for 200 years until the Pope threw them under the bus).

Does this apocalypse make me look fat?

Our intrepid sort-of hero Scorpion is captured and One decides he needs to be re-initiated into the group so he can die as a member. Wait, huh? Why is he trussed up like that? Why are you ripping off the back of his trousers? Why are you having him bent over? Why are you taking off your codpiece....OH DEAR GODS!

But(t) don’t worry gentle reader. Scorpion manages to escape, meet up with the child prodigy who makes him some awesome clear armor that looks like bubble wrap and leaves many of his vulnerable spots completely exposed, and saves the day. Eventually.

La Fine


Much like the writers’ other film, EFTB, this one is pretty bad. Perhaps they had no range. Maybe it’s because they used some of the same actors in both movies. It could be because almost all the same folks that worked on EFTB (editors, producers, art, costumes, stunts, and more) contributed their unique vision (twice) to the New Barbarians.

Editing wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t smooth either (I’m pretty sure one guy got killed in two separate shots - the bright green pants were a dead giveaway - see what I did there?). The music set the mood perfectly because what screams dystopian future more than 80s synth pop, amirite? Not sure if the writers or the stunt guys were demolition derby enthusiasts but someone was seriously getting his rocks off in every scene involving the Templars chasing after people with their cars. I’m also pretty sure arrows shot from crossbows don’t have enough thrust to sound like bazookas.

I am the bedazzling King, mother fuckaaahhhs!

Again it’s a film filled with Italian actors. They were speaking English but all the dialogue was dubbed anyway. You really lose a lot of emoting that way, especially when the voice overs are done by less than stellar talent. But the only guy I loved from EFTB (Gioncarlo Prete) played Scorpion here and that made me do a little happy dance!

Speaking of dialogue, some of it is just so bad (“The world is dead. It raped itself.”)  I mean, after violating Scorpion, One tells his guys to finish him off. Now he MEANT kill but considering what he just did to the guy, perhaps a different phrase would have been more appropriate. Since the story and character development are lazy it’s not surprising that the writing is, too.

The pacing sometimes dragged ass. This film probably could have been cut by 30 minutes or so. There are a lot of dramatic pauses or slow build ups for tension or some such bullshit. Waaaaay too much speechifying by the Templars. Seriously guys, I don’t need your soapboxes and your preaching. Just get to the killing.

All this said, I think the practical effects on this were pretty fun. Nothing ground breaking or anything like that. But it was AWESOME to see people bust apart, skewered by giant drills or spears, have their heads chopped off or blown off or shoved in a moving car’s wheel well. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of explosives in a world that’s basically one giant desert but who cares? I WANNA SEE SHIT BLOW UP!

I’ll rate this movie slightly higher than the previous work from these people. But not by much.

1.5 Hatchets

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