FILM REVIEWS

‘The New Barbarians’ (1982)

The New Barbarians: Warriors of the Wasteland (1982)

There are so many awesome things going on in this movie that I can’t keep up. Decapitations. Impractical weaponry. Futuristic codpieces. The opening is a model of a cityscape becoming engulfed with nuclear fallout while a cheap keyboard drum machine churns out an 80s action theme. This Italian pseudo- Road Warrior story is a typical low budget apocalyptic nightmare from the 80s.

After the 2019 nuclear war (heads up), a band of settlers are roaming, attempting to survive on their hunter-gatherer skills. On their tail are The Templars. The Templars want to wipe out humanity. They never say why they want to wipe out humanity, but they make a point of mentioning it often. As self-proclaimed “ministers of revenge” the Templars are doing a lousy job; there seem to be pockets of humanity all over the place. They drive techno cars endowed with a variety of weapons that impale, shred, and burn victims who are too stupid to run in a canted line. Fortunately for the Templars, battles take place on flat ground so everyone can run in a straight line away from their tyranny.

The film’s protagonist is an ex-Templar named Scorpion (Giancarlo Prete). The Templars want him dead. They never say why Scorpion is an ex-Templar, but the Templars do attempt to rape him in one of the strangest scenes I have ever seen. Out of nowhere, Black Caesar star Fred Williamson appears in this mess as Nadir. Nadir and Scorpion don’t get along either, but they spend a lot of the movie showing up in the nick of time to rescue one another.

The 1950s were wide open to science fiction films thwarting the conventions of science since no one had ever been into space. People knew better in the 80s, but there was “what if” nuclear paranoia leaving the decade wide open to post-apocalyptic nonsense. Most of these movies are worth watching for one reason or another. Loaded with unnecessary stunts, terrible acting, horrible special effects, and an excessive amount of headbands, The New Barbarians: Warriors of the Wasteland is the cream of the crop.

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