Sunday, February 22, 2015

EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 (1983)

EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 (1983) 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 103 Minutes
Audio: DTS-HS Master Audio Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Video: HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Jules Harrison
Cast: Eduardo Fajardo, Luca Venantini, Alan Collins, Alicia Moro, Robert Jannucci, Fernando Bilba

While we feverishly await the arrival of George Miller's MAD MAX: FURY ROAD to hit the cinemas we can spend our time with some trashy Italian knock-offs of the earlier MAD MAX movies, which there are many. This post-apocalyptic slice of schlock is a Spanish-Italian co production directed by Giuliano Carnimeo (THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS) that steals straight from George Miller's THE ROAD WARRIOR without an ounce of shame. 

Earth is a post-nuke wasteland burned clean of vegetation and water is as scarce as an original idea in the Italian film industry in the 1980s, damn rare. A rogue barbarian named Alien (Robert Jannucci) encounters wasteland cops and a chase ensues,  after a decent amount of screeching tires, bumper to bumper action and high speed thrills Alien ends up turned upside down in a ravine trapped in his car.  


Not far away a community of survivors have created a life for themselves inside a series of caverns, it's not idyllic but they are surviving on green house vegetation and a swindling supply of eater. They've previously sent a tanker truck in search of water but fear that it may have been ambushed by a group wasteland barbarians lead by dreaded Crazy Bull (Fernando Bilbao), marauders who roam the wastelands. Crazy Bull is a mash-up of both Humongous and Wez from ROAD WARRIOR with none of the charisma of either. His dialogue is some of the most laughable in the film and that is saying something, calling his crew of barbarians "muther-grubbers" and "you lousy splot of aberrations"!


With water supplies reaching critical the community of peaceful survivors send a convoy out into the wasteland to recover water from a fabled underground spring, a young boy named Tommy (Luca Venantini, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD) hides away on one of the trucks, he is desperate to locate his missing father who was sent on the previous mission and is presumed dead. The convoy is attacked by the marauders and everyone is killed with the exception of Tommy who remains hidden with the only map to the underground spring.

Wandering the desert alone Tommy stumbles upon Alien in the overturned car and the two strike up an uneasy alliance with the young boy promising to give Alien a share of the water if he is willing help get the water back to the community. Alien agrees but turns out to be one of the most untrustworthy anti-hero ever committed to film, one moment saving Tommy and the next abandoning him to the mercy of the violent marauders, before saving him yet again. 


Along the way they hook up with a former love interest of Alien named Trash (Alicia Moro, SLUGS) and Papillon (Luciano Pigozzi, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE) a former astronaut turned junk collector, both of whom offer assistance on the quest for the coveted water. Alicia Moro is quite an attractive woman and it's a shame she did not go onto make more films, she had some decent onscreen presence and chemistry with our anti-hero Alien.


Crazy Bull's favorite henchmen is Shadow (Beryl Cunningham, SCREAMERS) a deadly black motorcycle  mama with cool retractable claws she uses to deadly effect, she seems to be assuming the mantle of Wez from THE ROAD WARRIOR. The remaining group of marauders are familiar looking though cheaper knock-offs from the films of George Miller.


The plot is simplistic, just think Road Warrior and substitute water for petrol and you have a pretty good idea what's happening here - it's not rocket science - but the boy does have a bionic arm so there's some science involved, ha ha. There's also not much of any world building happening outside of the barren mountainous terrain, there's no burned out cities abandoned highways littered with cars, stuff like that requires more of a budget and way more inspiration than anyone involved with this film would care to administer.


It goes without saying you cannot knock-off MAD MAX without some post-apocalyptic car chases and the film delivers on multiple occasions with a pleasing mix of low-budget, high-octane thrills throughout. No one on Earth can film car porn like the Australians managed in the '70s so what we do get is watered down but there's plenty crash n' burn with huge fiery explosions and mondo car stunts - even a shit attempt to recall the stunning camper crash from MAD MAX! 


BLU-RAY VIDEO/AUDIO

EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 (1983) debuts on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory horror imprint Scream Factory with an AVC encode and framed in widescreen (1.78:1), which might be the first time we've seen this one in a proper widescreen aspect ratio on home video, I believe the previous DVD from Code Red was full frame. Unfortunately the HD master provided for release has been manipulated to death, each frame digitally scrubbed of all grain leaving behind an undefined and overly smooth image devoid of grain and fine detail. 

The DTS-HD MA MONO does a decent job exporting the dialogue, score and effects sounds with a decent balance, but there's only so much you can do with the source material which was shot on the cheap and poorly dubbed in post. At times the organ score from composer Detto Mariano can sound like a church organ falling down a flight of stairs, one of the trashier scores I've heard in recent memory.  


SPECIAL FEATURES
- Audio Commentary With Actor Robert Iannucci Moderated by Bill Olsen of Code Red
- Interview With Actor Robert Iannucci (18 Mins) HD

- Theatrical Trailer (4 Mins) HD
- TV Spots (1 Mins) SD


Extras on the disc are carried over from the Code Red DVD beginning with an audio commentary with Actor Robert Iannucci Moderated by Bill Olsen of Code Red DVD. Iannucci speaks about getting the role base on his print ads as a model for Calvin Klein and his time in Spain shooting the film, commenting on his experiences with various actors and in particular the body odor of actor  Fernando Bilbao who portrayed the leader of the wasteland marauders.Olsen is not the most informed moderator but does chime in throughout for better or worse. 


There's also an on-camera interview with Iannucci who covers a lot of the same ground plus going into the dubbing process and how each of the actors spoke their own native language and were dubbed in English at a later date. also speaking about how getting paid by the Italian producers was not always easy, at one point threatening to walk-off the film unless he received payment. Extras are finished up with a theatrical trailer and TV spots for the film. 


VERDICT

A very cheap knock-off of the MAD MAX films but it's good trashy fun, long in the tooth but there's enough post-apocalyptic scavenging and vehicular crash n' burn to keep it interesting right up until the final scene. Unfortunately the transfer is marred by rampant digital manipulation sucking the life right out of the image, but still an entertaining watch and a recommend for fans of the post-apocalyptic stuff. 

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