Exterminators of the Year 3000 Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Giuliano Carnimeo (as Jules Harrison)
Written by Elisa Briganti, Dardano Sacchetti and James A. Prich
1983, Region A, 90 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on February 24th, 2015
Robert Iannucci as Alien
Luca Venantini as Tommy
Alicia Moro as Trash
Alan Collins as Papillon
Fred Harris as Crazy Bull
Eduardo Fajardo as Senator
Beryl Cunningham as Shadow
Anna Orso as Linda
According to the film's title, it is the year 3000. In the wake of a series of nuclear strikes, the ozone layer has been erased and Earth has become a desert wasteland. A group of survivors reside in a walled fortress where they cling to the last remnants of civilization. Water has become the dearest commodity and is in such scarcity that in order to find a fresh supply, teams are sent into the wild to battle roving gangs of outlaws. When young Tommy's father fails to return from the last mission, a new group of searchers prepares to hit the road, unaware that they have a stowaway. Tommy survives an ambush and finds himself stranded in the harsh environment. Luckily, he crosses paths with a man named Alien, a bearded stud with a flashy car known as The Exterminator.
Alien agrees to help Tommy track down the lucrative water supply, and if they should find the kid's dad, then that's a nifty bonus. Along the way, they team up with an aging astronaut named Papillion and his beautiful friend, Trash. It seems Alien has a rocky relationship with the latter, but he is forced to work with her if there is any chance of claiming their prize before Crazy Bull, the leader of a rogue gang of “road warriors”, catches up to them. The group piles into assorted vehicles and their adventure begins, one massive car chase at a time. I am curious as to how 1970s model cars are fully functional in the year 3000, and how exactly oil refineries prosper without water. Luckily, the screenwriters do not share my concerns and are instead focused on distracting me with a bizarre finale that features an even larger random action set-piece.
Much of Italian exploitation cinema of the 1980s owes a huge debt to the far more successful films released around the same time. In answer to nihilistic post-apocalyptic adventures like Mad Max and Escape from New York, the Italians gave us films like The New Barbarians and 2019: After the Fall of New York. Following the blockbuster success of The Road Warrior came an incredibly familiar-looking flick called Exterminators of the Year 3000 (aka Death Warriors), a moderately fun movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. In this variation, the screenplay substitutes water for fuel and saddles our hero with a female sidekick, an old man and a kid, a combination that usually spells disaster, unless you're Indiana Jones. There's a lot of borrowed material here, but director Giuliano Carnimeo (as Jules Harrison) keeps things moving at a ridiculous pace, so audiences are likely to be forgiving. Fans of this filmmaker will be disappointed to see him slumming in material like this, considering he once gave audiences the beautiful giallo, The Case of the Bloody Iris.
Robert Iannucci (Young Doctors in Love) plays our loveable anti-hero, Alien. It is apparent this man lacks moral fiber, as he betrays everyone he encounters. Within minutes of his introduction he is seen trying to run down a police officer, and later abandons the child in the company of a dangerous psychopath. This is the man audiences are supposed to root for, and somehow Iannucci remains likeable. Luca Venantini (City of the Living Dead) does a fine job as Tommy, the determined kid who knows the seriousness of his situation, and refuses to let Alien get away with his bullshit. I won't spoil the specifics for those who have not seen this movie, but Tommy has an amazing pitching arm that comes into play in the second half. Alan Collins (Evil Eye) is the scientist Papillon; he and Venantini share a fun chemistry in their numerous scenes together. Alicia Moro (Edge of the Axe) is the attractive Trash, a woman every bit as tough as Alien, but less scummy. The most entertaining character, Crazy Bull (Fred Harris, The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein), is this film's version of The Road Warrior's Mohawk-ed villain, Wez. Harris is an explosion of energy that screams every one of his dubbed lines.
Scream Factory originally announced this title was to be paired as a double feature with Bruno Mattei's Cruel Jaws, but that plan was quickly scrapped due to the ongoing legal issues involving unlicensed footage from Steven Spielberg's Jaws. Consequently, this is now a stand-alone release that will mainly appeal to the die-hard followers who tuned into countless late night cable television screenings. Exterminators of the Year 3000 is not the worst of the Italian knockoff productions, but neither is it the first demolition derby film I would recommend.
Video and Audio:
Exterminators finally arrives in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and while the presentation won't win any awards, this is definitely a welcome sight for longtime fans of this film. There is some minor print damage and colors are occasionally faded, but this is by far the best this picture has looked since it played in theaters.
The DTS-HD MA 2.0 track preserves the original stereo presentation, but like the video counterpart it will not be used as a demo disc any time soon.
English subtitles are provided for anyone in need.
Boogie Down with Alien (17 minutes) is a relaxed interview with Robert Iannucci, in which the actor shares his memories of the film. The piece is more informative than entertaining and suffers from zero creativity in presentation, as this is easily the ugliest segment I have seen on a disc in a long time.
Robert Iannucci's audio commentary is a bit of a mixed bag, as the moderator is a jackass, determined to bait the actor with constant jabs at the quality of the film. Iannucci takes the high road and defends a lot of the material, but there are a few times when even he must admit not everything works. It is weird for a moderator to be so rude when it comes to hosting a commentary. Even if it is a terrible movie, you should follow your guest's lead and focus on some positive qualities instead of tearing down their work.
A pair of TV spots offer a look at the marketing for the feature.
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