Italian ROAD WARRIOR Ripoffs Of The Year 3000
If you, like me, are annoyed that Mad Max: Fury Road has taken so long to hit theaters (it was shot almost three years ago, after all), you can take solace in a) knowing that the long wait is nearly over, and b) there are probably a bunch of movies like Exterminators Of The Year 3000 laying around for you to pass the time with. An unabashed Road Warrior ripoff from (where else?) Italy, the 1983 production offers a low-budget, laughably unoriginal version of all the things you watch those movies for: crazy stunts, car crashes, a post-apocalyptic world populated by people in ridiculous outfits, and most importantly: an anti-hero who doesn't care about anything until a kid comes along!
Like Road Warrior, the film wastes no time getting to the action, offering a car chase in the first few minutes that actually goes on too long (I can't recall the last time I watched an action movie where I had THAT complaint), where our "hero" Alien (Robert Iannucci) is chased by two cops for a bit, before a crash results in one of them stealing his awesome car. So what does Alien do? Steals the now abandoned cop car to get it back, continuing the chase except with the drivers having traded cars (and if you're wondering whether Alien minds fucking up his own car, at one point he tries to ram it off the road as they drive along the edge of a cliff). Eventually Alien crashes and is trapped in the overturned police car, and thus we move on to the film's plot, by cutting to a pretty goofy facility where scientists are looking over some pretty dead-looking plants and what look like giant, spinning cylindrical fly traps. Seems the year 3000 is in desperate need of water, and our small group of hero survivors are just realizing that the guy they sent to find some agua probably isn't coming back. The likely dead guy is the father of Tommy (Luca Venantini), who believes his dad is still alive and wants to find him, so he sneaks into the truck that's going out to finish the job that his old man botched. You can't blame Tommy for not wanting to stick around at the base; the other kids there make fun of him for being the son of a "coward," which is kind of a weird insult to levy at the guy who went out into the enemy-ridden wasteland to save them. Anyway, within minutes the bad guys catch up to this truck too, killing the drivers and turning this mission into a failure as well.
Naturally, Tommy escapes, and as luck would have it, finds Alien, still trapped in the car. Tommy gets him out and even gives him some water, but Alien isn't satisfied with the amount, stealing more than offered and then leaving the kid behind, and then later sells him out to the bad guys. But it doesn't make us hate him; by now the movie has ripped off all the anti-hero movies more than enough, so you know how it will play out - Alien will save him from the danger he put him into in the first place, and all past horrible actions will be forgiven! But there's a genius/insane twist to enjoy first, plus more car action. After Alien leaves Tommy with the villains, head bad guy Crazy Bull (Fernando Bilbao, who appeared in the awesome Vampires' Night Orgy) threatens to break the kid's arm if they don't tell them where the water is. Tommy refuses, so they actually make good on their promise - at which point we discover the young man's arm is a bionic one. The movie lets us be horrified for a second before being confused, as no one seems to think much of the fact that the kid appears to be part robot. Anyway, Alien now makes his heroic return (on a motorcycle, to keep the vehicular theme going), kills a few of the bad guys, rescues Tommy, and later just duct tapes the mangled arm back on to the wire-y stump below his shoulder. Perfect.
(They later fix it for real, thanks to an ex-astronaut who "forgot" how to get to the moon (!) and now works as a mechanic in the middle of nowhere. He fixes the arm so well that Tommy can later hurl rocks at supersonic speeds. It's awesome.)
The climax doubles down on its ripoffs; it gives us the crazy vehicular mayhem that we demand from our Mad Max wannabes, but when Alien and his girlfriend, Trash (cool names here; wonder why "Tommy" got short thrift?) break into the facility that has the water, it's all booby trapped, giving us a bit of Raiders of the Lost Ark flavor to sweeten the deal (he also dispatches a villain who is advancing on him with a weapon by nonchalantly pulling out a gun and shooting him). But that stuff is rather brief, before long everyone's back in a truck or car or dune buggy (!), and Crazy Bull is back to calling everyone a "Mother Grubber" for some reason. Models are destroyed, cars flip over or explode without any inciting reason to, and stunts that are somehow more dangerous and less exciting come along at a steady clip, in that silly way that only Italian filmmakers from the era can ever pull off. As a horror guy, I usually stick to the Italian horror ripoffs of Dawn of the Dead and the like, so it was nice to learn that they're just as shameless when it came time to crib from the action genre.
The Blu-ray comes with a commentary by star Iannucci, but it's moderated by an obnoxious guy named Bill Olsen who seemingly has no affinity for the movie, so I'd advise you to skip it and just watch Iannucci's interview, as he repeats most of the relevant info he offered on the commentary anyway. This was pretty much his only major acting job for a feature; the producers found him because he was a model for Calvin Klein, and after the film he pretty much just went back to doing that, as well as consulting and even designing a clothing line. With his character off-screen for chunks of the film, and it being 30 years since he shot his scenes, the commentary is pretty much just the annoying guy making jokes or asking dumb questions Iannucci has no real answer for, making it a rather silly way to spend 90 minutes (though they claim 98 at one point, even lamenting that it *should* be 90 - huh?), especially if you've watched the interview. Just watch the goofy movie again, mother grubbers!