2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)

2019CoverThis is the film that proves that director Sergio Martino (Mountain of the Cannibal God, The Great Alligator) knows his way around a station wagon tunnel chase which isn’t something they’re likely to teach you at UCLA Film School. He also demonstrates a keen eye for talent, hiring on Michael Sopkiw and Valentine Monier as Parsifal and Giara respectively. They would team up the next year for Monster Shark and if you liked seeing them riding around on a really big smelly shark, then you will love them riding around the wasteland in their Country Squire!

The movie opens by firing up not one, but two classic tools of low-budget end-of-the-worlders everywhere: the narrator and the scale model of a devastated New York City. The narrator explains how the world was microwaved like a fifty cent burrito and then launches into the unlikely political unions and strange evolutionary results that sprung up from the ashes of doomsday.

There’s the Euracs which is a group of European, Asian, and African folks and then you’ve got your Pan American Confederacy who are the Americans which makes them the good guys of course. These two groups are fighting one another to see who gets the privilege of ruling what’s left of the world.

And what a world it is! The war has pretty much reduced everyone to a primitive existence where groups of similarly deformed freaks hang out and harass people that have different deformities. All the Deformers periodically get hunted down by the Euracs and their mercenaries.

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The bigger problem is that since the war fifteen years before no babies have been born. There is hope though because it turns out that there is exactly one fertile chick left in the country. Inexplicably, her name is not Amber or Crystal, but the much more middle class Melissa.

First Parsifal and now Melissa? What’s next? A cyborg named Ratchet? You bet your radioactive gonads!

There’s also a former school teacher named Bronx who runs around with a claw instead of a hand and since this is an Italian movie he doesn’t just menace people with it, but sticks it in their faces and gouges their eyes out! If it’s one thing you can’t ever whine about with these Italian films, it’s that they don’t deliver the promised violence.

This one also serves up some exploding heads and a group decapitation. George Eastman’s Big Ape somehow accomplishes this when he heaves his sword out the back of the speeding station wagon at a group of Eurac soldiers. He was melted down himself a short while later. Win some, lose some, right?

The story is as sturdy as the flimsy model skyscraper husks that make up the desiccated landscape of the Big Apple. It involves Parsifal being recruited by the president of the Pan-Ams to go into NYC to get this hussy and bring her back for their side.

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Pan-Am has a secret base in Alaska (it was least affected by the radioactivity) and they are going to load her on a spaceship with some other people (I’m guessing a bunch of studs) and fly off to start a new life in the solar system that exists around Alpha Centauri.

Civilization has been destroyed. You’ve been reduced to hiding in an igloo in Alaska and need a guy whose previous job was fighting in futuristic demolition derbies in the Nevada desert for ugly chicks, to rescue the only girl that can save all mankind? And you have a rocket ship with the capability to fly to another star? But you can’t even move to Spokane?

Did I also mention that the girl is being hidden in the heart of NYC which the Euracs control, but somehow they can’t find her? But a guy named after an opera who wears tight blue jeans with silver buttons on them and who looks and acts like Snake Plisskin’s scuzzy, wimpy cousin is going to bring her out? In a station wagon? That he borrowed from a dwarf? After she got pumped by the ape-man?

What do you bet that once they get a look at the ape-baby on the way to Alpha Centauri that they test out the air lock with it and start Melissa on birth control pronto? So, as you can see, this is one of those plans that’s just so crazy it just might work.

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Once Parsifal, Ratchet, and Bronx make it to New York, they spend most of their time getting captured and escaping from different groups of freaks including the rat catchers, the ape-men, and the Euracs.

Martino shows us that he is truly a master of this sort of movie because he concentrates on the two most important points that make or break these cheapies: pacing and variety. Keep the action moving and if you’re going to be showcasing stupidity make sure it’s something new and stupid every ten minutes.

Sure, it makes absolutely no sense that the radiation would turn one group of people into dwarfs, one into ape-men, one into rat catching lunatics, and one into disgruntled demo derby drivers, but you’ll be too busy giggling at Parsifal arguing his philosophy of life with his girlfriend even as she is dying in his arms after being stabbed by a cyborg to worry about any of that! It’s an awesomegeddon of apocalyptic action that will leave you breathlessly waiting for 2019 to get here already!

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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