The New Barbarians (1982)
After a long hiatus, the Million Monkey Theater is back, this time with a mini-roundtable with Matt from Really Bad Movies (very mini as there's just the two of us...). The theme we picked was Foreign Rip-Offs of Big Budget Western Movies. His half is a Turkish Star Wars rip, and my half will be the trashy Italian post-apocalyptic The New Barbarians, which is a "re-imagining" of the genre classic The Road Warrior from 1982. They both share the same basic theme of lone wasteland warriors saving peaceful survivors from bloodthirsty brigands, but The New Barbarians adds a lot of uniquely Italian touches, as well as some weird homoerotic subplots and lots of shoulder pads. It's a mash-up of Mad Max, A Fist Full of Dollars, The Seven Samurai and Hollywood Gay Hookers Volume Ten, stirred up in a pot and poured into an 91-minute long trough for us to feed from.
And now on to our show...
2007: Congress passes a law demanding that all new cars must resemble home-built dune buggies or retro-piece of shit 1978 Monte Carlos. The auto industry collapses almost immediately.
2008: Congress mandates that all cars, new and old, be painted spacey NASA silver. This is to be applied on thick with industrial sprayers, trim included. Asian kids in Malibu revolt and are all shot.
2009: Punk returns as the fashion norm, with metal-studded leather panties, see-through plastic bras, and ass-less chaps insanely popular with the kids. Hairstyles also go punk and everyone under the age of 20 looks like Adam Ant. Older folks are not amused.
2010: The Pentagon develops new ammunition for the M-16 rifle, allowing for high-explosive rounds that make a techno-reverb sound when fired, with no ejected brass. Pistols firing similar rounds are developed as well, modeled after Junior Spaceman Ray Guns sold at retail stores.
January 2011: A new law demands that all paved roads be broken up and replaced with rutted, muddy, uneven dirt roads. The staff of the Department of Transportation rebels and is put to death.
February 2011: An amendment to the road bill calls for all previously open woodland areas to be replaced with rock quarries.
March 2011: A new law states that all Hispanics, Asians and Eskimos are rounded up and shipped to Brazil, leaving only whites and a token number of blacks in America.
April 2011: A new law declares that everyone must speak with an Italian accent. An amendment clarifies that all remaining black men in the country must also talk like Richard Roundtree from Shaft.
May 2011: A new law is passed that forbids hot women to wear anything other than black leather dominatrix outfits and clear plastic pants. Ugly women may continue to dress normally.
June 2011: A new law demands that all telephone poles, power lines, street signs and billboards along every stretch of road be taken down and scraggly shrubs planted in their place.
July 2011: A new law states that all cars must be converted to run on hydrogen fuel cells, which causes them to whine like a weed eater on crack when driven. An amendment excludes vintage American V-8 muscle cars, which can still thrum and rumble on gas with manly strength and glass packs.
August 2011: A new law mandates the return of shoulder pads for men, along with cod pieces and feathered mullets. Leather and black metal are the vogue.
September 2011: A new law authorizes the silver spray-painting of just about everything, from buildings to trash cans to radio headsets. The red, white and blue American flag is replaced by one that is all silver and has Mel Gibson's face in the center.
October 2011: A new law makes it illegal to remember anything about modern Western civilization prior to October 2011, regardless of what year you were born in. People are forced to forget everything and wistfully reminisce about the good ole' days (September 2011, that is).
November 2011: A final congressional law decries that all men must have perms that make them look like Bea Arthur.
December 2011: During the Christmas recess, all members of congress are lynched by their constituents when they return to their home districts. The President is rather pleased.
January 1, 2012: War Day. A global nuclear exchange wipes away civilization and kills 99.9999% of the human race. Keith Richards walks out of a smoking atomic crater unscathed and wanders off into the woods to find some pot.
2019: Seven years after the War, the remnants of humanity battle for survival in the harsh land...
We open with the standard pan-across-the-wastelands to set the scene. This is fairly effective here (as it is in most of these movies before the wheels fall off) in showing us the vast Kansas-like emptiness and the wreckage of society's once-glorious creations. The camera tracks across a few skeletons in weather-beaten radiation suits (including one that has transparent boobs!) before zooming in on an isolated group of survivors.
Seriously, who makes haz-mat suits with see-through boobie domes?
This survivor group is your typical PA movie lot, with about a baker's dozen ragged men and women encamped in a circle of old rusty cars. As we see trees and mountains in the background, we wonder why they are here on the open plains, totally exposed to the elements and potential threats. They have some firearms but no one seems to have made any effort to secure a perimeter or set up defensive positions within the camp.
The survivor camp, look at all that NASA silver paint.
The survivors, looking like Bosnian refugees.
Did I say "potential" threats? I meant "here they come!" threats. Roaring in from the distance is a motorized column of your typical post-apocalyptic wasteland raiders. These are the "Templars", and they are up to no good. Let's step aside from the review for a minute to examine these guys, ok?
As the movie goes on, we get to learn a lot more about the Templars and their ways, which I will just condense here and now (hey, just thought I'd try something different this review). In the first crazy days after the War, the Templars coalesced around a violent strongman who came up with a tragic view of humanity's role in the end of the world. The Templars' stated goal is the total elimination of the human race, pure and simple. They believe that the world was "meant" to die in the War, and they are the instruments to carry this "divine judgment" out. To this end, they ruthlessly hunt down and kill every survivor they can find. Men, women and children all fall before their weapons, victims of their insane crusade to finish what the War started. Once all the survivors are dead, they plan on killing themselves to complete the quest. They are an utterly nihilistic and kill-crazy cult/gang of murders bent on destruction (Doomriders of Darwin's World, anyone?)
The Templars are armed with a variety of small arms, including exploding-bullet pistols and sharp pointy knife-thingies. They occasionally use nets and ropes to catch their prey, but usually just run them down in their cars or blow them up with cannon fire. Not very sporting, of course, but effective.
Templar guy with exploding-bullet pistol, check those
shoulder pads and that perm, awesome.
The Templars are highly mobile and drive a large number and variety of vehicles, both two-wheeled and four-wheeled, about 13 cars and four motorcycles. The cars are mostly chopped-down rear-engined Volkswagen Bugs, with welded-on armor plate and tubular-frames to make them look like dune buggies. A few of the cars are sedans, Chevys and Fords, with modifications to make them look futuristic. The motorcycles seem to be standard 1970s Yamaha dirt bikes, though they have green circles painted on them for some reason. Weapons are limited to crew-carried firearms for the most part, though one car has a front-mounted autocanon and another has a skeet-shooter sort of thing that launches exploding mines. And yes, that all sounds like a bad version of Steve Jackson's Car Wars game.
Templar car, version 1.1.
Templar car, version 1.2.
Templar car, version 1.3.
Templar car, version 1.4.
Templar car, version 1.5.
Templar car, version 1.6.
Templar car, version 1.7.
Templar car, version 1.8.
As far as the Templar personal dress code, it's clear that early on they settled on a "uniform" of sorts to set them apart from other post-war groups. Big-ass shoulder pads and puffy sleeves were a must, as were motorcycle helmets and strap-on knee pads and codpieces. The outfits are bright white (perhaps a sign of "purity") and are made of a dirt and stain-resistance fabric, as they are always spotless regardless of the circumstances. They look like low-rent Imperial Stormtroopers, but I'm sure they have a sense of pride and unity in their matching get-ups. Since everyone's outfit fits him perfectly, I assume that they have a large supply of different sizes, or maybe they only take new members who are a comfortable 42 long.
Templar Stormtrooper outfit.
There's only one "base camp", called "the garage" here. This is a mobile group by nature, so the base has surely moved over the years from place to place as the "hunting" has thinned out in each area. There are some corrugated sheet metal Quonset hut sort of jobs, and some canvas and nylon tents, but for the most part the garage looks like it could be torn down and transported with relative ease.
Templar garage, all painted regulation silver.
An accurate head count is difficult, but close watching of all scenes with a notepad shows that there are just about 35 total Templars, counting officers. There are really only three Templars who have enough depth to them to take the time to get to know.
The leader of this death-cult is and always has been "The-One", a tall, older man who looks like an ultra-violent version of Michael Gross from Family Ties, with graying floppish zebra hair and a cheesy beard. He leads through sheer force of will and a nasty sadistic streak, which he uncoils on both hapless victims and disobedient followers with equal ferocity. His favorite weapons are his explosive-bullet pistol and his penis, both of which he uses to torture captives (more later). The-One has been in control of the group since the beginning, though he's getting old and he knows it.
The-One played by the great George Eastman, a legend in Italian cinema.
The Templar second-in-command is named "Shadow". He's a bit shorter and looks rather like Gary Sinise in the face or Karl Urban's Eomer from Lord of the Rings with the hair. While loyal to The-One and the Templar cause, Shadow is clearly looking out for himself. Unlike the others, he doesn't plan on martyring himself after all the survivors are killed off, though he doesn't seem to really have a plan. An efficient killer, Shadow uses his pistol and his cannon-armed buggy to slaughter the innocents.
The heir apparent is named "Mako", a young warrior that The-One is grooming to take his place eventually. This has caused some friction with Shadow, obviously, though The-One has the final say. Mako has a ridiculous moussed-up New Wave pompadour that makes him look like a psychotic killer version of Fabian. He's mostly seen behind the wheel of his custom dune buggy, armed with spinning head-cutters (more later).
The rank and file footsoldier of the Templars is a silent, loyal and expendable Joe Stormtrooper-type of guy. Like their Star Wars namesakes, they are brutally efficient against lightly-armed civilians but are cut down like wheat by a "hero" or anyone with even a remote concept of weapons proficiency and small unit tactics. They rarely have any dialogue, never seem to have an independent thought, and don't care that they are seen as murderous thugs.
Joe Stormtrooper, nice to meet you.
Ok, back to the action, namely the Templars attacking the survivor camp. This assault is a horrible rip-off of the similar attack in The Road Warrior, which was the benchmark for this sort of thing, and follows the same formula. The bad guys circle around at high speed, trading shots with the hapless defenders, until one of their number peels off to hit a conveniently hidden ramp and fly into the compound to open the breach.
Flying motorcycle. Cool.
There are grenades, autocannon fire, pistol shots, bodies flying everywhere, blood and guts spraying liberally into the air, M-16s making "pwing!" sounds when they fire, women screeching and men laughing at their plight. The defenders get in a few good hits, killing three Templars, but they are clearly both outclassed and outgunned and the end result is not a surprise to anyone.
Stuntmen earning some Lira.
The defenses broken, a few survivors make a run for it across the muddy, broken ground. Some of the Templar cars veer off and give chase, giving us some lame chase shots as the survivors are cut down by flamethrowers and spinning head-cutters, all shown via squib-filled mannequins and editing cuts of varying effectiveness. In the end, all the survivors are dead...making them not survivors, I assume.
In the flaming ruins of the survivor camp, Shadow takes in some light reading.
Ok, lets leave the Templars for a minute. This is a wide-open wasteland, and it's no surprise that there are a few independent wandering warriors in the area. One in particular is known far and wide as the most dangerous and the most conflicted of them all. His name is "Scorpion". Lets look in detail at this nomadic fighter.
Scorpion (Why can't anybody have normal names? This guy was born way before the War in the 1980s so surely he had a nice normal name like Luigi or Enzo at one time. How does one get such a cool nickname, anyway? Can I have one?) was once a Templar. We get a few lines to tell us (hint to us, really, there's a lot of conjecture here) that he left the fold for some unknown reason, though apparently just because he "wants to live", and became the wandering vigilante of justice that he is now. Since then he has hung around the area, trying to save the innocents from the Templars when he can. As such, he's number one on The-One's hit list.
Scorpion sports a nifty perm, which is always well-poofed, and favors sheepskin and suede vests and parkas. He's not really that big, not really that buff, and even seems a bit pansy at times, making me wonder how he got this gig to begin with. He uses the same explosive-bullet-shooting pistol that many others have, though he doesn't use it that often and isn't really that good a shot.
That's damn fine hair.
Scorpion's custom pistol rig, pretty wicked, eh?
Scorpion's main weapon is his car (much like Max), an awesome tricked-out 1968 Pontiac Firebird, painted black and gray (remember that muscle cars were legally exempt from the Silver Paint Law of 2008). Unlike the sissy electric buggies with their high-pitched whine that most everyone else drives, Scorpion's Firebird roars with studly authority as he burns rubber around every corner. Some questionable modifications have been made to this car, most obviously the installation of a big clear internally-lit plastic observation bubble dome on the roof, which seems to serve no purpose at all other than giving away his position at night due to the big glowing green dome. Other modifications include a joystick for the driver that has three unmarked buttons that serve multiple purposes, including opening the doors. Why he would bother with a powered door when it would be quicker to just open it manually is not known, but I'm sure he knows what he's doing. As well, another button allows the doors to be blown off with explosive bolts, a James Bond-esque thing which doesn't seem to have much value other than for rapid escape. As far as weaponry, there are two machineguns mounted in the front grill and two small anti-vehicular missiles in a pop-up carriage in the truck. Oddly, the same unmarked button that opens the door also fires the missiles, perhaps there's some foot pedal action going on that we can't see. Some of the more cosmetic alterations include a light-up metal skull on the hood, some odd vacuum hoses on the front fenders, and a lame-ass square spoiler on the trunk lid, which looks worse than anything a spoiled rich kid would bolt on the back of his Honda.
Scorpion's Bitchin' Firebird.
Joystick, note the unmarked buttons.
Another view of the controls, he must have their purposes memorized.
More unmarked buttons, probably why no one else can drive his car.
Music player thingie, which just looks lame.
Afterburner nozzles, which shoot out six-foot long jets of flame.
Machineguns in the grill, rarely used.
Missiles in the trunk, I'm assuming that box to the left of the launcher holds reloads.
We first meet Scorpion some night as he's out driving his awesome car around aimlessly. He happens upon a trashed survivor camp, a collection of smoldering burnt-out cars and still-fresh dead bodies. This is not the same survivor camp from above, as in the very near background is a vertical rocky wall (certainly of a quarry) while the first survivor camp was clearly out in the open. A group of seven badly-clothed scavengers is poking through the wrecks as Scorpion arrives, and they all dash for cover.
The glowing bubble dome really makes it hard for him
to sneak up on anyone at night, might want to look into changing that.
These scavengers are meant to be radiation-poisoned mutants, a time-worn PA cliche that's almost never done right. These mutants shamble along like simians and are dressed in strips of plastic sheeting and toilet paper. One wonders how they have the intelligence to dress themselves, handle their tools and work together when they drag their knuckles around in the dirt and hoot like gorillas.
The mutants, Morrow Project Grunts, perhaps?
Scorpion wanders around the camp, stumbles upon the mutants and, after they charge him, shoots all seven of them dead with his explosive-bullet pistol (using only seven shots, he's an ace). He then happens upon a survivor in one of the wrecked cars, an old man clearly left for dead by their attackers. The old man begs Scorpion to put him out of his misery, which he reluctantly does.
This is actually the film's director doing a free cameo.
Scorpion has buggered up his transmission at some point off screen (probably because everywhere he goes he does so with his foot mashed down on the accelerator, the man's a lousy driver) so he has to get it repaired. Since all the Midas repair shops were nuked, and he himself doesn't have the skills or tools to do it, he must rely on his own personal mechanic.
Hidden out in the wastes is a big silver panel van that's been converted into a mobile high-tech workshop, and only Scorpion seems to know about it. Here he can get his car fixed, his weapons upgraded and find a place to rest and recoup. Most oddly, the workshop's only resident is a single nine-year old boy! Called "the Kid" by Scorpion, this golden-haired and silver-tongued ragamuffin child can build or repair anything mechanical with astounding skill, all the while looking like one of the Hanson brothers. Perhaps his impressive mental prowess comes from some effect of radiation exposure during the War, or perhaps he's just an idiot savant, but he would be invaluable to the rebuilding of man's technology if he we're out here alone hiding in the wastelands. The downside is that he's a fucking little brat and needs to get his butt beat for being so smarmy and arrogant. Still, Scorpion has a tendency to break his fancy toys, so he needs the genius kid to fix them.
The Kid. Kill him.
The Kid's van.
So the Kid fixes his tranny and then takes the car for a test spin, coming back to fishtail it around the yard in a cool display of superior driving skill. All of that was designed to show up Scorpion, who dutifully takes his medicine and meekly thanks the Kid for his work. Seriously, why is Scorpion the "hero" of this movie?
The Kid finds a torn-off ear under the hood, nice way to scar a young actor for life.
Ok, let's leave Scorpion for a minute to meet a new character. In the wastelands is also another small band of survivors traveling the roads in an armored van. Oddly, though probably because the van isn't really suited for off-roading, they seem to be driving along a stretch of perfectly flat and clean pavement, which must have survived the January 2011 law against paved roads.
The armored van, on a stretch of tarmac that we will see
three or four more times in this movie.
Up from behind come roaring two Templar buggies, driven by Mako and Shadow, with some Stormtroopers along for extra firepower. Seeing a chance at killing off some more survivors, they rapidly close on the van, which is slower, though heavily armored. One of the buggies has this extendable spear tip that's used to poke a hole in the armor plate of the van, through which a jet of flaming liquid is shot (!). The van afire, the two occupants jump out and roll to safety. The driver is chased down and killed, but the passenger, a young woman, makes it off the road and into some familiar-looking muddy fields. The Templars give chase, and it looks like she's going to get slashed up by the head-cutter thingie.
The head-cutter! Never mind that it's only three
feet off the ground, so maybe it's a belly-cutter.
Scorpion arrives just then, forcing his car in between the fleeing girl and the Templars. There's some tire spinning, some revving engines, and some dudes with Kid and Play hair grimacing madly. Intimidated by Scorpion's rugged good-looks and his Firebird's mufflers, the Templars do little to stop him. Seeing her chance at survival, the woman jumps into Scorpion's car without delay and they spin off to safety. Lets meet this girl.
This young girl will prove to be named Alma (though only in the credits, her name is never spoken onscreen) and she is indeed quite a mixed bag. On the plus side, she has stunningly sexy legs and thighs, squeezed into a pair of leather dominatrix pants. On the negative side, however, her hair is huge, a massive wall of moussed brown that looms over her head like the wave in The Perfect Storm. Oh, and her drag queen eyeshadow looks like it was applied with a bilge mop. The actress playing her (Anna Kanakis) was actually Miss Italy 1977 at the age of 15 (!).
Anna Kanakis at the age of 15.
They drive along in silence for a while, the tension in the car thick as fog, before Alma asks him why he saved her. Scorpion is pretty vague, but he makes it known that saving pretty girls in distress is what a wandering wasteland warrior does for a living these days. Alma's ok with that.
Driving along after a fight over his mother, she cold as ice,
he oblivious, tapping along to the music. He's not going to get any nooky tonight.
Been there, buddy.
Now that fall out of the burning van seems to have broken Alma's collar bone, and it's beginning to hurt her pretty bad. Scorpion has zero medical training, but he looks at her wounds nonetheless. Or maybe he's just trying to catch a peek at her bare shoulder, which seems to excite him. There are not a lot of beautiful women out here in the wastelands, so you just know that Scorpion isn't going to let this one walk away without making a move to...repopulate the planet, if you know what I mean.
Alma gives him the eye, she too wants to play hide the radioactive salami.
Nighttime comes and they stop. Scorpion has this weird transparent blow-up tent that they sleep in. Accompanied by some annoying synthesizer music and quick editing cuts, it seems that he and Alma make sweet love. It's artfully blurry, but you can see them rolling around in there and really getting into it, which is a problem because I thought Alma had a broken collar bone. I guess she blocked the pain out for the pleasure, or Scorpion had some Monterey Purple with him.
Moon-glow tent, radical! Note that the actress seems
to be wearing a flesh-colored body suit. No fair.
The next day, Scorpion and Alma are out driving around, going...somewhere. He doesn't really have a home that we see, so I wonder if he just drives around all day until time to sleep. He has to eat and take a bath every now and then, right? Anyway, they end up in an ambush, as half a dozen or so Templar cars converge on him, purple-haired Mako in the lead. There are some words exchanged, a lot of squealing tires and flying mud, and revving engines before the chase beings in earnest.
Scorpion being chased by the Templars. Scorpion turns tail
and runs a lot in this movie.
Before too long Scorpion is forced to bail out of his car and continue the fight on foot, while Alma stays in her seat and just watches with a mixture of fear and admiration for her studly man. Chased about on foot for a while, Scorpion eventually ends up on top of Mako's buggy, kicking and choking him in a battle to the death.
Go for the eyes! Go for the eyes!
Oddly, once Mako is dead, the other Templars just stop fighting. Scorpion limps up to one of them and tells him to take Mako's dead body back to The-One with the warning to stop trying to kill him or end up like his dead deputy. He then gets in his car with Alma and burns rubber off again.
Alma is most impressed with his skills and vows to make him domesticated one day.
I'll sideslip a scene ahead here to tell of when they bring Mako's body back to the Templar garage. It seems that The-One is mighty pissed with them for violating the Templar rules by going out hunting Scorpion without The-One's orders. Mako's body is ceremonially burned as the assembled Templars watch in reverence, and the surviving attackers are also put to death for disobedience. Following rules is job number one for the Templar Stormtroopers, and things like this only reinforce that.
Jesus Christ! I did NOT need to see that.
The-One and Shadow have a heart-to-heart about The-One's
burning hatred for Scorpion. I think he's just jealous of his perm.
Ok, back to our hero. Wounded in the hand during the fight with Mako, Scorpion drives down to a nearby lake to wash off his injury. Yes, that's right, he finds a seemingly uncontaminated lake in the middle of the nuclear wasteland. But, to be fair, perhaps Scorpion has some sort of high-tech purification thingie. Maybe everyone has those, because throughout this entire movie not one reference is made to radioactive fallout or contamination, everyone seems to have more than enough water and even foodstuffs are plentiful, to judge by the rather portly physiques of even the most desperate wandering survivors.
You sure that water's fit to drink?
While lakeside, they are approached by a solitary figure, who is known to Scorpion. His name is Nadir.
Nadir is also a lone wanderer in the wastes, a hulking black man with an awesome '70s porn star mustache and a penchant for shoulder pads and Cherokee-style headbands. Nadir's relationship to Scorpion is vague, they at one time were clearly friends, if not closer. Recently, though, Scorpion is a bit mad at him, and doesn't want much to do with him. Still, Nadir keeps close to Scorpion, always lurking in the area keeping an eye on him. When Scorpion gets into trouble he can't handle, the Rambo-like Nadir seems to always swoop in to save him in the nick of time. Why Nadir does this is not clear, but perhaps he sees something in Scorpion that he can relate to, or maybe just realizes that his own best chance for survival is to team up with the best fighter in the land.
Nadir unabashedly wears a lot of black leather with brass buckles and studs, and only his impressive physical presence allows him to pull it off without looking silly. His weapon of choice is a big compound bow with an optical scope, an old-school throwback weapon to be sure, but one that proves to be deadly in ranged combat. He has a variety of explosive tips that he can screw onto the shafts, making them very effective against soft and even armored targets. He keeps the color-coded tips in little loops on his wrist band. Nadir's vehicle is a one-seat four-wheeled dude buggy with a big perspex windscreen and the most annoying electric motor whine you will ever hear outside of a Toyota Prius dealership.
Nadir's bow and arrow combo. The actor is strong,
but lacks the form and steadiness of a professional archer.
Nadir's explosive tips, which seem to go off on contact,
making you wonder what happens if he swats at a mosquito, misses, and hits his
wrist against the wall.
Nadir has recently come across yet another wandering group of survivors who were passing through this area and have stopped to rest and refit nearby. He believes that someone there could have the medical knowledge to help Alma, so he volunteers to lead them there. They head off to where he last saw them, encamped in (surprise!) an abandoned rock quarry down the road a bit. This group is a caravan of religious people, survivors of a sect that hid from the nuclear war underground. I think I'll call them the "Frozen Chosen" (a buck if you get that...). Lets once more step out of the review to examine this group more closely.
As the end of the world approached and far-thinking people began to realize that global destruction was inevitable, some groups started planning for survival. One of these was a Christian sect in the Dallas, Texas area. They pooled their money and built an underground fallout shelter for their people, and stocked it with seven years of supplies. As the nukes fell they sealed up the hatch and waited. Seven years later they emerged into a drastically changed and dangerous land. For the last two years they have been wandering across the landscape of post-apocalypse America following "the signal". The signal is a radio broadcast that supposedly comes from some sort of paradise on earth where they can resettle and rebuild civilization. They haven't found it yet, but they always believe they are close, that it's just over the next hill. They are now a roving, Gypsy-like band, who never sit still for long and are always looking down the road.
The Frozen Chosen.
These being dangerous times, the group does possess a small number of M-16 rifles for protection, though not nearly enough to mount a serious defense against a determined attacker. Like all survivor groups in this movie, they lack even the basics of combat skills and can put up almost zero fight if attacked. Note that at no time do we see any of the group's vehicles in motion, and most later end up on fire, so I suspect that they are actually wrecks from a nearby junkyard purchased for the movie.
A sentry with one of those M-16s that go "pwing!".
They do have a large number of vehicles, from cars and trucks to a big tour bus, all painted in regulation NASA silver and many modified with add-on armor.
Frozen Chosen encampment, a loosely-organized defensive nightmare,
with "Attack me, pillage me, rape my women!" written all over it.
The Frozen Chosen's tour bus, formerly owned by The Who.
This sect seems to all dress like wannabe Communists or Bohemian poetry majors, with a lot of functional drab wool overcoats, skinny earthtone scarves and those round Julian Lennon glasses that all the pretentious beatnik kids who hang out in Starbucks and read Coleridge and Kerouac wear. That said, some of the women in the group have been known to dress vampy in private, and that's not all bad.
Two typical Frozen Chosen guys, looking like Berkeley
bookshop owners or a Bread tribute band.
There are about 30 total people in the group, give or take a few. The spiritual leader of the Frozen Chosen is an older man rather uninventively named "Father Moses", a distinguished patrician who, like his namesake, has so far managed to keep them all alive during two years of wandering in the desert. Moses favors beaten leather fedora hats and late '70s NATO-pattern camouflage rain parkas, and his teeth are atrociously misaligned and yellowing.
The only other character of note is "The Whizz", short for "The Wizard", the group's combination medic/mechanic/technician/all around smartyhead. He's dressed like a tenured philosophy professor who reads too much Tolstoy and speaks like a kindly old grandfather. Alma gets medical attention from The Whizz, though he makes a point to say that he has had zero official medical training, he's just "good with his hands". A broken collar bone is not an easy thing to treat even in a modern hospital, so expecting him to do anything about it in the field with no medicine or x-ray machine or anything is a stretch. Perhaps he has some sort of cool Doctor McCoy-esque analyzer thingie that he can just wave over her shoulder and fix it.
The Whizz fixes Alma's shoulder. Alma's impressive
bare breast is the only nudity in this entire movie (well, other than
Scorpion's hairy man-butt later...).
Meanwhile, Nadir's eye quickly catches sight of what appears to be the sole black woman left in America. Up to now, all the various survivor groups we've seen have been 100% lily white, so this woman is a surprise (ok, maybe she's not totally black, but close enough). This lovely young girl is clearly excited to see Nadir as well, and they soon end up in her room in the bus.
Yum, though I wonder about that thing over her
left eye. She should get that looked at.
There Nadir is nearly bursting at the seams with sexual frustration as the girl slowly teases him by talking way too much. She blabs on about the weather, about religion, about the future, about some dumbass radio signal they're chasing, about everything but why are they not naked yet.
The girl just won't shut up.
Jonesing for some booty, Nadir asks her about the "de-concentration ceremony", which he has heard religious people do. She says "oh yes" and lays down on the bed immediately. I'm guessing that de-concentration means mad monkey lovin'. Why is it in these futuristic movies that the basic act of sex always has some funky New Age name? I can assure you that in 2019 people will still be doing it the same way they do in 2007.
The de-concentration ceremony apparently involves
ass-less plastic chaps, which is never a bad thing.
Meanwhile, Scorpion says good-bye to Alma. She has decided to stay with the Frozen Chosen when they move out in a few days, they might just be the best hope for her long-term happiness. Scorpion, however, is the lone wolf and must go off by himself, both for everyone's safety (he's a Templar death squad magnet) and because it's his idiom to wander the wastes alone, loveless and grubby.
Scorpion says bye to Alma, smudging her beautiful
face with his grimy, never-bathed hands.
Scorpion now leaves, but he first goes to say good-bye to Nadir, who is snuggled up with his girl enjoying the afterglow. In the best bit of the entire movie, Nadir nearly tosses Scorpion out of the room for ruining the mood. His bug-eyed ticked-off look is priceless.
Walked in on my roommate and his girlfriend in college
once, had the exact same look on his face.
Later, Scorpion is out driving around in his cool car again, not really going anywhere that I can tell, just cruising, maybe looking for more babes to rescue. He gets ambushed by the Templars (again), who somehow knew he was out on this lonely stretch of dirt road. Actually, they always seem to know where Scorpion is, making me wonder how he's survived this long. A gaggle of cars and cycles lead by Shadow roars up and gives chase.
Scorpion turns tail and runs. Again.
Hemmed in and getting desperate, Scorpion sideswipes two cycles who unwisely get to close, causing their riders to plunge off the road down into a steep ravine. He then hits a button and the trunk opens, exposing the missile launcher. He fires twice, causing one pursuing car to careen off the road into a ditch and another to swerve off into the bush.
Whoosh! That red button does everything!
Templar car rolling off a hill. Oddly, this one is not painted NASA silver.
Before he can launch anymore, however, Shadow starts shooting back with his car's autocannon, doing 2d6 +1 damage, and one hit smashes the missile launcher in a puff of smoke and sparks. Scorpion hits the gas to escape. The rest of them chase him to a flat piece of pavement, where The-One and a bunch of Templars block his path and pin him in. Not surprisingly, Scorpion gives up, parking his car and getting out to exchange glowering stares with The-One. The-One shoots his car, disabling it, and they take Scorpion away back to their garage base.
Scorpion is now subjected to the ultimate indignity, publicly anal raped by The-One. Yes, that's right, publicly anal raped by The-One. What the hell kind of movie is this? One of the strangest and most disturbing aspects of Templar culture is the "all-male bonding ritual". By that I mean strapping male captives down and sodomizing them while everyone watches. They don't seem to be gay (I guess, maybe they all are) and the anal rape is probably more a dominance thing than anything directly sexual. Still, they need to stop that. I must say that this one scene sets this movie apart from every other PA wasteland rip-off ever made, and that's probably what the director was going for. Got to give points for original thinking.
Ahhh! Nekkid man-butt!
The-One is ecstatic about checking Scorpion's prostate for polyps.
That unpleasantness over, The-One is about to kill Scorpion when word comes from scouts that the Frozen Chosen camp has been spotted. They must attack them now before they get organized, so The-One leaves Scorpion to three Stormtroopers and rolls out with all the rest of the Templars for the attack.
The three Stormtroopers left with Scorpion.
Left with orders to kill Scorpion any way they want, the three Stormtroopers decide to have a little fun first. One drags him behind a car through the mud, which can't be good for his skin, while the other two ride beside on motorcycles taunting him.
Scorpion eating dirt, I hope they paid that stuntman well.
Nadir appears on a ridgeline now, as he always does when Scorpion is in mortal danger, and lines up his bow. Two well-placed arrows drop the bike riders, and when the car stops to check it out, a third arrow blows the driver up in a gory puff of fake blood and mannequin stuffing.
A headless Stormtrooper rides along for a few seconds
before falling off. No, that doesn't look fake at all.
Nadir drags Scorpion out of the mud and gets him cleaned up a bit. The forced rape seems to have unbalanced Scorpion (as it would most men) and he's now a skittish, emotionally wounded shell of his former self. Since it's clear that Nadir is going to need Scorpion to help defeat the Templars and save the Frozen Chosen, he takes him back to the genius kid mechanic. There the Kid fixes Scorpion's damaged car while Nadir works on his damaged psyche. This involves mostly tough love drill sergeant stuff, and maybe some hugging. In the end it works, and the three of them make plans to end the Templar threat once and for all.
Scorpion gets the Doctor Phil treatment from Nadir.
While that was going on, the Templars assault the Frozen Chosen camp, utterly routing it. Due to budget constraints, we don't actually see this attack, just the aftermath. We rejoin the Templars as they are still congregated in the flaming ruins of the Frozen Chosen camp, rooting for salvage and scaring the dozen or so survivors. The-One is tired of this now and orders the survivors lined up against a wall and shot. But first he rails against them for being alive (against the Templar creed) and lets them know that their deaths will be for the better and they should be ashamed for violating the Master Plan by not dying nine years ago in the nuclear war. Before the triggers are pulled, however, Scorpion, Nadir and the Kid begin their attack on the Templars.
Nadir and his Tenth Level Bow of Devastation. Note
the quiver, which holds at most six arrows, though seems to be bottomless
during the upcoming battle.
The Templars, never really known for their sterling infantry tactics, completely fall apart. They stand up and make easy targets of themselves, hide behind flimsy walls waiting to be blow up, and generally forget they have firearms. Like Rambo and Robin Hood, Nadir uses his bow to devastating effect, pounding and exploding everything sight as mangled Templars are tossed in the air like badly-clothed mannequins or stunt men on trampolines. The Kid is also on scene, whipping his sling shot around like mad, seemingly never missing an exposed throat or eye with his ball bearings. In the end, a whopping 23 Templars are killed by a Nadir and the Kid, presumably all the remaining Stormtroopers.
The kid and his slingshot of death, the little scamp.
Stormtroopers flipping gracefully through the air by the force of the explosions.
While all that is going on, Scorpion, channeling Clint Eastwood now, appears through the smoky haze, his torso strangely covered in a dark canvas poncho.
Sergio Leone would be proud, but I'm sure his lawyers would not be.
The-One, not really that surprised to see him still alive, confronts him, tossing a few insults in with a few rounds from his pistol. Though hit twice in the chest, Scorpion amazingly stays on his feet, much to the Templars' amazement. Scorpion now rips away the bullet-shredded poncho to reveal he's wearing a transparent multi-part bullet-proof plastic breastplate! The Kid made this, and it does look spiffy in a gay roller-disco sort of way, but we wonder why the bad guys just don't shoot him in this exposed face or lower body. And why just a set for Scorpion, why not one for Nadir?
Oh my, see-through plastic chest armor...
The battle is quickly turning against the Templars, and The-One, looking around at the dying remnants of his once indefatigable gang, wisely pulls the ripcord. Jumping into a dune buggy, he hightails it out of there, leaving his deputy Shadow to handle Scorpion.
The-One can't do this all alone, you know, and those
paper tiger Stormtroopers aren't much help.
Shadow has now had just about enough of Scorpion and takes the initiative. Holding his gun on the Frozen Chosen survivors, he tells Scorpion to give himself up or he'll start shooting the prisoners one by one. Things get ugly and he shoots three, including Father Moses, before Scorpion manages to peg him in the head with a pistol shot. Shadow goes down hard, his burnt flesh sizzling.
Shadow is not a nice man, but he has awesome hair.
Ok, now all that's left of the Templars is The-One, fleeing in his car down the road. Scorpion jumps in his Firebird and gives chase, catching up quickly due to his nifty flaming jet afterburners, activated by an unmarked switch.
Scorpion and One duel on the open road.
They bump and grind for a bit, and then Scorpion gets in behind him and turns on this long drill bit that extends out of the nose of his car. The-One's death is dripping with ironic symbolism, as he's...impaled from behind on Scorpion's shaft. An exploding car wreck later, and the threat of the Templars has been eradicated from the planet.
"Ouch! No lube!".
The ending is typically sappy, with Scorpion coming back to exchange thanks with Nadir and the Kid. A lot of meaningful looks between Alma and Scorpion suggest that a happy ending is in their future. Does Scorpion give up his wandering ways and settle down with Alma? Who knows, but at least he has the choice now.
Scorpion and the Kid start a future (perhaps).
"I will now insert my penis into your rectum..."
Written in July 2007 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda.
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