2019: Barbarians of the Future (1983)

I try not to be over-dramatic when writing these reviews. But this…wow, this film is bad.

You may have discovered this film under one of its alternate titles – “Warriors of the Wasteland” is its proper English language title, but that doesn’t fit in with our current review series. Later-in-the-movie dialogue reveals to us 2019 is 10 years after a nuclear holocaust which finished off most life on Earth. Small groups of people survive, and we’re greeted by one of those groups of people, shortly before they’re attacked by the Templars.

The Templars are all dressed in white, and seem to favour the beach-buggy as a mode of transport. This isn’t the first post-apocalyptic film to heavily feature buggies, so I was wondering if these films are all made by the same company, the head of which has a brother who owns a buggy hire firm? Perhaps we’re supposed to believe that in the 10 years since the apocalypse, tastes have shifted dramatically from cars that protect you, and have space to store things in, and have drifted towards flimsy death traps.

As well as the Templars, we meet Scorpion, played by an Italian guy who’s been given an English name on the credits, because an American leading man is important to the people who’d be likely to stump up cash for this baffling film. He slaughters a different group of scavengers, mercy kills the last person left over from the Templar’s massacre, and then heads off to mess with the Templars themselves.

Oh, there’s a sideplot with a cute kid, who fixes Scorpion’s car and helps him out at the end, but we can safely ignore him. He doesn’t die, can’t act and serves no purpose other than presumably to be a relative of one of the financial backers of this film. But Scorpion’s car is worth mentioning, the sweetest ride in the film, full of unnecessary features and a giant plastic dome on top that makes it look like some hot-rod version of the Popemobile.

One of the occupants of the van who get rescued by Scorpion in a dull fight scene is Alma, who’s…the love interest? Sort of? Played by Anna Kanakis, who judging by her photos on IMDB is still a strikingly beautiful woman and has aged a great deal better than this film has, she’s…well, I’m trying to think of a way to describe her, but I give up. She doesn’t drive the plot, or do much of anything else (but more on that later). Scorpion does sort-of pressure her into having sex with him inside a see-through luminous green tent, though.

There’s trouble in the Templar camp, as the boss (named One) and his lieutenant argue over the best way to dispatch Scorpion. There’s something a bit fishy about these fellas, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the moment. Was it the fancy matching uniforms, all pristine in the middle of a no-more-washing-powder apocalypse? Or something else? Well, it’s something else, but you’ve got a paragraph more of my garbage before we get to that.

Scorpion needs a hand with a band of baddies, and luckily gets it from Fred Williamson, who plays another mercenary just wandering the wasteland. Fred Williamson is a badass. He’s almost more than 100% man, just a force of nature who dominates this film (despite not being, let’s face it, the world’s greatest actor). To prove my point, here’s a photo of him from the 70s in a sweet suit. Have you ever been a tenth as awesome as this man? Of course not.

I doff my cap to his magnificence

I doff my cap to his magnificence

Scorpion, Williamson and Alma disover a whole other group of wanderers, who’ve found a signal which indicates civilisation is alive, well, and only ten miles away. Ten miles? They’re waiting for their vehicles to get fixed before making the last drive, rather than, I don’t know, sending one guy on a bike to make the 20 minute journey and get help. While they’re walking into the camp, we get another gem of dialogue explaining why this group are being nice to them – “they believe in something called God”. Now, it’s been ten years since the bombs dropped, and in that ten years we’re supposed to believe that adults have completely forgotten about religion to the point where “something called God” is a thing that a person might say. Dear me.

In the camp Williamson has shockingly easy sex (luckily this is one of those free love Christian groups) with the only other black person in the film, and Scorpion heads off, leaving everyone else behind. He’s captured almost immediately, and…I really can’t quite believe this. The Templars are a gay doomsday cult, who are trying to kill everyone off so humanity is no more, hate religion, and initiate Scorpion by raping him. Yes, that happened.

There’s a lot of violence in this film. There’s no real need for it, and judging by the poor quality mannequins they couldn’t really afford it – several heads explode, one or two people get thrown under cars, people fall of cliffs, that sort of thing. But the greatest death of all is saved for One, who is on the run after having all his henchmen killed off in increasingly brutal fashion by our male heroes. How does One get his, I hear you ask? Well, Scorpio has a drill attached to the front of his car, which he uses to anally penetrate and kill One. Hurrah!

It’s hard to say who ought to be more offended by this film. Women are seen as barely objects, and despite both our brave heroes having sexual partners who’d presumably like to see them remain in one piece, they do nothing – the kid with a slingshot does more than them. But really, it’s gay people who should be hating on this film. They’re referred to as “queers”, they all hate God, rape honest straight men and are trying to kill humanity. It’s not even subtext, it’s just right out there, front and centre. Whoever made this film was either the world’s dumbest person or a misogynist homophobe (or more likely both).

It’s certainly never boring, and provided you can laugh at its appalling gender / sexual politics, you’ll have a decent time. And it’ll cost you nothing other than bringing you 86 minutes closer to your own death, so enjoy!

Warriors of the Wasteland on IMDB


Rating: thumbs down?