The New Barbarians (1983)

Rating: *
Alternate Title: Warriors Of The Wasteland
Review Date: 7/13/15
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Cast: Timothy Brent (Giancarlo Prete), George Eastman, Fred Williamson, Anna Kanakis

"We have been chosen to make others pay for the crime of being alive."

Disappointing post-apocalyptic fare that takes place in 2019, several years after nuclear war has killed most of the human population. Small groups of survivors exist, and desperately search the airwaves for other signs of life. Unfortunately, there's a homosexual death cult known as the Templars, whose only goal is to exterminate all human life on the planet. They sadistically maim and murder anyone in their path with tricked out go-carts. Somewhere along the way, a lone warrior called Scorpion (Timothy Brent) rescues a pretty girl (Anna Kanakis) from a Templar raiding party, and then another lone warrior named Nadir (Fred Williamson) rescues Scorpion with his array of exploding arrows. Who are these people and where did they come from? Who knows? Who cares? Nothing is ever explained. We eventually learn that Scorpion has some past history with the leader of the Templars (George Eastman), but it's never explored. He also has some history with Nadir, which is also never explored. It's not clear whether he's a friend or foe, and why does he follow Scorpion everywhere like a crazy stalker? Who knows? Ultimately, Scorpion, Nadir, and some young kid with a slingshot team up to destroy the Templars for good, but will they be able to put aside their nomadic warrior ways and settle down?

It's a painfully bad film with an embarrassingly low budget. The opening shot is a terrible cardboard model of New York City that gets irradiated by a nuclear bomb blast, followed by the mandatory narration explaining how the world ended. The film recycles locations and action footage with wild abandon, and I watched the same stuntman die four times in the first action sequence. Other stunts are filmed from multiple angles and unsuccessfully passed off as different events, while every car scene is shot on the same roads over and over. Scorpion's car is pretty cool (it's an old Cougar or Challenger), apart from a ridiculous bubble on the roof that glows green in the dark. The Templars' cars are ridiculous looking hack jobs that resemble souped up golf carts armed with spinning blades, missile launchers, flame throwers, and spears. The special effects are terrible, with the exception of a handful of decapitations and exploding bodies that are outrageously entertaining. That's almost worth the price of admission right there. Timothy Brent is a charismatic lead, but it's Fred Williamson's wide-eyed, crazy portrayal of Nadir that steals the show. George Eastman gives an excellent performance as the ruthless leader of the Templars, while Anna Kanakis just stands around looking confused. We also learn that in the future, sex is called "biorhythmic concentration", for what it's worth. While the plot is non-existent, I have to appreciate the raw simplicity of it all. There's something very appealing about the whole "handsome warrior rescues fair maiden from marauding bad guys" theme that strikes a primal chord in my subconscious. Still, the execution is poor and the complete lack of context and back story makes it a chore to sit through. George Eastman sums it up best with his battle cry, "Hate and exterminate!"