Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Ultimate Warrior (1975)



When you're directing Enter the Dragon in 1973 and Gymkata in 1985, it's fair to say that something has gone wrong with your career in the mean time. For writer/director Robert Clouse, that 'something' probably wasn't this film, but ... well, it's certainly no Enter the Dragon, despite featuring fairly big names Yul Brynner and Max von Sydow in the cast.

In the far future of 2012 (tee hee), economic disaster and a succession of crop-destroying plagues have led to complete social collapse. New York is in ruins, though the Twin Towers are conspicuously still standing.  The city is populated mostly by scavengers and gangs. Chief among the latter is the crew led by 'Carrot', which is an unfortunate name for a villain, I think. Fortunately, the actor playing him has plenty of physical presence to compensate.

One of the few enclaves of civilisation is run by a man known as 'the Baron' (von Sydow). His son-in-law is a botanical genius who has developed plague-resistant seeds. Their community is slowly dwindling though, and cannot survive in NYC. So the Baron hires an outsider (Brynner) to lead his people out of the city and to a place of safety.

Alas, not everyone in the commune has the Baron's calm rationality, and the ever present menace of Carrot (a sentence I find hard to type with a straight face) is wearing heavily on the small group. Will someone crack under the pressure? Wiill hope for the human race survive? You'll probably answer both of those questions correctly unless you've never seen a movie before.

This was a mildly interesting bit of film history but not one you need to seek out. Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior has a similar premise and much more enjoyable execution.

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