Empire Of Ash III (or as the clumsily inserted title claimed on the VHS version I saw, Last Of The Warriors) isn’t just your standard post apocalyptic desert wasteland picture. And that’s probably because it takes place in the woods of New Idaho!
If watching nameless goofs dressed in leather and driving beat up cars and battletrucks while shooting each other across rocky terrain is your thing, you needn’t worry though. There’s still plenty of rocks up in New Idaho that need blowing up! The rest of the movie similarly takes vaguely familiar elements of these sorts of movies and goes its own special direction with them.
Take the whole “breeding a new race” angle you get in some of these flicks. There’s always a dirty bird trying to force hot, fertile chicks to get preggers in an effort to begin the world again. You’ll recognize these scenes because these guys are always making grand pronouncements about how some babe has been specially selected to receive his seed. Ugh. Is there a radioactive cactus I can screw instead?
Empire of Ash III builds some elaborate religious order around this storyline, featuring Shepherds using chicks to bear the children of their nasty, bluish, prune-faced leader. They’ve even got these special tanks that the impregnated girls sleep in and though I was never quite sure how they had the time to develop the technology the were using since they seemed to spend most of their time cruising around New Idaho killing people, I’m sure that was small comfort to Claudia who was specially selected to bear a child for the head old fart!
But surely there’s someone out there who is going to be making a rescue attempt before this creep can plant his skeevy nut butter in her, right? I guess there is. I mean, there’s this pansy named Harris who says he’s going to rescue her, but this is only after a really butch woman had to rescue him from some of the bad guys.
He also was screaming like a girl after his pushy mom was killed. Luckily for the audience, the movie is schizophrenic enough in its presentation that we don’t really spend a ton of time following his story because there’s also the two arms dealers that the Raiders (the military types who work with the Shepherds) are intent on locating and destroying.
You know, when you see a lot of these end of the world movies, you can get pretty down on humanity. You’ve got a laundry list of atrocities that a lot folks seem to be prepared to commit as soon as the bomb drops and for some reason on all of Earth, there’s usually like only one guy left who isn’t turned into a pussy that gets pushed around by all the biker gangs that spring up overnight.
Does an apocalypse totally erase thousands of years of socialization in the moments it takes to destroy all we know and love? Thankfully Empire Of Ash III affirms that it in fact does not!
One of the arms dealers named Iodine shows us that you don’t have to lose your humanity just because you’re living in the woods and sporadically engaging in deadly skirmishes with gun-toting psychopaths.
The scene where he’s playing strip poker with the two blonde chicks at his camp is a testament to the indomitable will of the human spirit! So is the topless bathing that goes on! Apocalypse? What apocalypse? Let’s all get freaking naked!
New Idaho isn’t just a bunch of naked chicks freezing their asses off though! There’s also danger in the woods instead of just the danger of sporting wood! I’m talking about the cannibals that are milling around!
The plague that wiped out most of the population affected some people worse than others and caused them to turn into maneaters! And that’s all the explanation we need! Which is good since that’s all we get!
Pansy is able to reclaim a little bit of his manhood since he has to rescue Butch from the cannibals. You’ll also be glad to know that just because these folks have turned into raving flesh munching maniacs doesn’t mean that they’ve forgotten how to have a car chase!
Some less experienced viewers may confuse the film’s grubby look, long stretches of religious babbling by the head Shepherd, the sassy talking computer, and the female military commander getting an oil massage with a film that’s been constructed out of the absolute worst ideas that these kinds of movies offer up on a regular basis.
The answer to that is obviously, “so what? It’s a frigging apocalypse! Who said it was supposed to be pleasant!” Besides, this is also a movie where the bad guys run over one of their own guys on purpose and laugh about it! That’s worth putting up with a smart-mouth computer named Dolores every time!
And it isn’t like the movie doesn’t deliver the necessarily massive destruction when the time comes for the Raiders to invade Iodine’s camp or when Iodine returns the favor and invades the Raiders camp to rescue his captured friends.
There’s plenty of stuff blowing up, cars sailing through the air, bikers getting shot, and a guy firing explosive model rockets at everybody! Dolores even flies Iodine’s helicopter away without permission! Oh, that rascally computer!
And when Pansy and Claudia are reunited and the Shepherds and Raiders have been vanquished, you’ll stand up and cheer now that New Idaho is again safe for strip poker and skinny dipping! Truly, we can now begin to rebuild and maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but sometime soon, we’ll be able to get back to a point where we’ll see wet T-shirt contests and amateur night at the local honky tonk again! If we don’t have our dreams to see us through the dark times, what chance do any of us have?
© 2013 MonsterHunter