Movie: Warrior of the Lost World (1983)
Director: David Worth
Starring: Robert Ginty, Persis Khambatta, Donald Pleasance
Written by: David Worth
This gem, made in Italy, is what I’d classify as Spaghetti Apocalypse. Less kind folks might refer to Warrior of the Lost World as a shameless Mad Max ripoff. But there’s so much more to this tale of dirtbags rising up against fascists and reclaiming the world!
First off, let’s get the derivatives straight. Mad Max isn’t the only piece of work which Warrior of the Lost World draws inspiration from. Sure, the nameless hero is a grizzled loner who rides into town and dispenses justice – though he actually looks more like Russell Crowe with really womanly lips. Yet his ride of choice, a wiseass talking motorcycle, is more Knight Rider than Thunderdome. The film’s villain is a direct steal from James Bond, as Donald Pleasance essentially reprises his role as 007’s nemesis Ernst Blofeld.
It could also be argued that the neon punks, writhing bondage Nazis, and headband-sporting karate geeks which fill out the supporting cast are also lifted creatures: the punkers are Headroomesque, the Nazi sluts remind me of the vapid fashion plates of Liquid Sky, and the karate nerds could have come from anywhere.
After an epic Star Wars like text crawl (“The nuclear war has been fought!!! The Earth is in ruins!!! All governments have collapsed!!!”), the lone rider roars upon the scene. In short order, he crashes his superbike into the side of a cliff. Oops. When he’s resurrected by the flashlights of a cult of creepy old people in bed sheets, our hero is told that the barrier was really the “Secret Wall of Illusion.” Right.
The old people turn out to be members of the resistance, and the resident babe recruits the rider in order to save her old man. After the pair bumble through an inexplicable sequence of a critter-filled cave, sexy nightclub, airport walkway, dairy, run-down warehouse, and finally, Evil Headquarters, the goof saves the girl’s dad, only to lose the girl.
The hero regains ground by participating in a Tournament of Dirtbags, in which he fights pretty much every 80s movie caricature available, including a lumberjack midget. After he whips this dork collective into a proper army, the hero takes on the jewel of the evil army – MEGAWEAPON!
Despite its awesomeness, Megaweapon is essentially a glorified dump truck with spikes in front that shoots fire in one direction. A kid in a big wheel could get around it, if not destroy it. The hero slides his bike under Megaweapon, and old MW thankfully kills his annoying ride. Unfortunately, that buys the goofball time to take it out like an imperial walker. Boo!
Ultimately, this flick is a collection of many discordant elements that somehow make a great little B-movie. Most of the people in the story are dumb, the plot is nonsensical, but everything works! Mad Max had to try in order to succeed; Warrior of the Lost World only had to fail.
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