Thursday, April 19, 2012

2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)

Title: 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)

Director: Sergio Martino

Cast: Michael Sopkiw, Valentine Monnier


Italian post apocalyptic rip-offs should have their own sub genre, there’s so many of them out there. One thing these movies have is that they will always, almost certainly make you laugh. I still haven’t seen an Italian rip off that hasn’t started me off on a fit of laughter, 2019: After the Fall of New York is one of these movies. The thing about these rip offs is that they steal their ideas from films that have no comedy in them whatsoever. So why is it that when Italians try and make their own version of The Road Warrior it comes off as a comedy? Did the filmmakers have any idea how funny their films were gonna end up being when they made them? I doubt it, but I think the funny is in the dubbing, the lack of budget and the cheesy nature of the films themselves. I’ll elaborate.

Fallen New York! 

In 2019: After the Fall of New York we meet our hero, a loner by the name of ‘Parsifal’ as he is about to begin participating in a car race. The object of the game is to get to the finishing line as both cars try to blow each other out of existence by any means possible. If your co-driver has a bazooka with which to shoot the other car, then he has every right to use it!   Since Parsifal is the hero of the film, of course he wins the race and gets the big prize: a woman/sex slave who is willing to obey his every desire. She calls him ‘Master’. Since Parsifal is a good guy, of course, he gives the lady her freedom. Five seconds later, a ship hovers above Parcifal’s head requesting his acquaintance for something, they don’t tell him what it is, but they say it’s urgent. He tells them to fuck off because he won’t give the time of day to anyone unwilling to identify themselves. So they the natural thing to do: stun him with lazer beams and take him to the offices of the Pan American Confederacy; a group of people trying to rebuild the human race. They offer Parsifal a seat in a space ship towards ‘Alfa Centauri’ a planet in which supposedly life can thrive once again! But first, he needs to find the last remaining fertile woman on earth! And she’s lost somewhere within the bowels of deadly Manhattan Island. Will Parsifal find her amidst all the whackos?

So, Parsifal goes to the wasteland filled with infected people and mutants. You see this world was ravaged by nuclear weapons, and so we get to see entire cities burned to a crisp, of course they look like cheap miniatures, but hey, there's the charm of a b-movie for ya! You'll also see people with their skins falling off and mutants that look like half men, half monkeys! There are all sorts of crazies in this post apocalyptic world concocted by these crazy Italian filmmakers. And yeah, these guys were crazy. I mean, they’d have to be to make a movie like this one! But to tell you the truth, the film was actually entertaining.  I’ll give ‘em this: the film wasn’t boring. It starts off with a bang with the derby scenes, it’s basically a sequence with two cars crashing on each other as much as they can and the drivers and passengers shooting each other with assorted weapons. These moments of the film reminded me of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 (1975). To make things more twisted, this whole derby sequence is being watched by a post apocalyptic circus troupe of clowns and their ringmaster! Like I tell ya, it’s crazy idea after crazy idea in this movie.

Some things simply defy logic. Take for example the main character, Parsifal. He probably hasn’t been with a lady for years and years (this is the apocalypse after all) and when he wins one, he simply cuts her loose. I don’t want to sound like a pig or anything, but this lady was actually willing to be with him, she was like “let’s make love Master!” Yet, apparently this is a dude who can keep his libido in control even under strenuous circumstances such as these and so he is waiting for the right post apocalyptic lady to be with; so he sets his lady slave free. Ha! Another thing that makes no sense: the main character appears to have an endless arsenal of vehicles. He opens up the movie with a cool ass looking car, which he quickly bangs up, but no problemo, then he appears with this huge ass chopper! Minutes later, he has another motorcycle! And the cycle goes on and on through out the whole film! Inconsistencies don’t stop there; we actually see characters travel from Alaska to New York on motorcycle! In the blink of an eye! From New York to Alaska in a matter of seconds, one second were in Manhattan then blam! Cut to Alaska and we’re there. How did that happen? Who knows what happened to these characters on their journey, it must not have been that important. The filmmakers simply cut from location to location without the faintest notion of time passing by. So be ready for a film with lot’s of nonsensical moments; which of course is a given in Italian Cinema of this era.

The hero uses this gun once, then it dissapears for the rest of the film!

Finally, it was apparent to me that 2019: After the Fall of New York was simply trying to create an amalgam of every other post apocalyptic film that came before it. We get glimpses of Escape from New York (1981) because practically the whole film takes place in New York. Parsifal is a mix between Max Rockatansky and Snake Plissken. It’s got a lot of the Mad Max films in it, especially when it comes to those car chase sequences and the crazy looking characters; in fact, Mad Max (1979) and Mad Max 2 (1981) are the main reasons why these films exist. Post Apocalyptic films where a real hit during the eighties for this fad in films was not only rampant in Italy, United States had its own rash of post apocalyptic films. I guess it had a lot to do with living under the shadow of the mushroom cloud. That cold war had people paranoid. So many post apocalyptic films surfaced because of this collective paranoia. And finally, 2019: After the Fall of New York even has a bit of Planet of the Apes in it because one of the gangs that exist within Manhattan is a gang of ape men that resemble the monkeys from the Planet of the Apes movies. So basically, it’s an amalgam of all of these films, but with a sci-fi twist because it’s all about Parsifal trying to achieve his mission just so he can go to another planet to live a better life. I also think that director Albert Pyun must have been a huge fan of this film because Pyun’s own Cyborg (1989) shares a lot of similarities with it: the idea of having to protect a female through a waste land in order to get her to a safe location, so that she can save the human race.

In conclusion, this one was fun. In accordance to Italian Rip Off Rule # 5016; this flick is cheap as hell, but its nonsensical nature will keep you entertained through out its running time. To be honest, this is what I like about these films, how crazy they get with their situations. 2019: After the Fall of New York falls perfectly in the same category as films like Endgame (1983), 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982), The New Barbarians (1983) and Warrior of the Lost World (1983), you know, cheap, fast paced, nonsensical fun. I mean in no other type of film but an Italian rip off will you hear dialog such as: “That thing back there was a cyborg! Half Man! Half Robot! Funny thing is, I didn’t know what it was until I made love to him!” Only in an Italian Rip off ladies and gentlemen, only in an Italian Rip Off!

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5


James Gracey said...

Man, this looks all kinds of awesome! I agree with you, Italian 'rip-offs' are such a fascinating breed of films. Aside from Sergio Martino's gialli, I have seen none of his other genre work. I feel I should check this one out just for those laser beams!

Jack Thursby said...

Got to say this is probably my favourite Italian rip-off. It borrows A LOT from Escape from New York - for instance, instead of escaping over a mined bridge in a taxi cab, they escape through a mined tunnel in a car. Love the model shots of New York at the start.

Interesting trivia: Parsifal sounds like the most ridiculous hero name but it's actually the name of a knight from Arthurian legend!

Franco Macabro said...

@James: the dialog will have you rolling! I've enjoyed a lot of these Italian rip offs, one of my favorite ones is 'Star Crash', what an awesome movie, so funny! I think it's okay to say, Star Crash is my favorite of all these, at least so far.

The Italian rip off that Im dying to see yet haven't is Great White; the Italian JAWS rip off that was so obvious with its stealing of ideas that they were sued by Universal! And Universal won! So that's why we've never seen it released over here. Still, I'd love to check it out cause from what I hear its not all that bad.

And how's about the Saxophone man in 2019, the one that warned them about how evil Manhattan was! Hilarious stuff.

But back to 2019; I also liked those scenes with the Rat Killing Gang, where they go around just lynching every rat they see, was it me, or does it look like they might have killed a couple of real live rats?

It wouldn't surprise me, they've killed real animals in Italian cinema before, Cannibal Holocaust for example.

@Jack Thursby: Agree, this one is pretty enjoyable. And how's about that midget? They meet a whole Colony of midgets just like in Logan's Run (another fun post apocalyptic film) where the mutant midgets live in the sewers of the city as well, so I guess that's another film that 2019 takes ideas from.

Unknown said...

This sounds like a fun movie if only to spot all the films it shameless rips off. Awesome review. I must check this out!

venoms5 said...

This is probably my favorite of the Italian post apoc movies, too, Fran.

There were a few of these prior to THE ROAD WARRIOR in America such as THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (1975) and RAVAGERS (1979) in terms of a post apocalyptic wasteland. And I guess if you really wanted to get technical you could go as far back as DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1955), LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) and THE OMEGA MAN (1971).

Oh, and Pyun did do a few more of these types of films, too, lol. One of the weirdest was this flick called KNIGHTS (1993) with these kung fu cyborgs, but his futuristic-cyborg-kung fu-Terminator knock off NEMESIS (1993) is highly recommended. Have you seen one of the last Cannon films AMERICAN CYBORG, STEEL WARRIOR (1993)? It had pretty much the same plotline--escorting the last fertile female to a safe haven.

Franco Macabro said...

J.D.: You should have some fun with it. What's funny about it to me is that it's trying to rip off these American films, but then they suddenly shift into completely cheesy territory with the more sci-fi elements like a space ship going to a planet called Alpha Centauri? Ha! Check it out J.D., its fun times.

Venom5: The Ultimate Warrior is the one with Yul Brynner right? I was looking into it, but apparently, MGM wont release it for some reason.

Haven't seen The Day the World Ended, but I did check out Last Man on Earth, which to me is the most faithful adaptation of Matheson's I Am Legend, because Omega Man is not Matheson's story, and neither was I am Legend.

The Last Man on earth got pretty close to capturing what Matheson was going after with his story.

Yeah, Pyun is kind of like the king of cheap post apocalyptic movies..the dude just won't stop making them! I can't blame him, most directors stick to their favorite themes their whole lives. The most recent Pyun post-apocalyptic flick I saw was Omega Doom (1996) starring Rutger Hauer....boy that one was a disaster!

Out of Pyun's filmagraphy, the one I am most curious for are the Nemesis films, well, at least the first one.

Pyun hasn't stopped making post-apocalyptic films, he is currently filming 'Cyborg: Rise of the Slingers' which is slated for a 2012 release. Straight to dvd for sure, like most of his movies after Cyborg.

INGO said...

I had a lot of fun aint boring, thats for sure...Id be willing to see it again...def no waste of time..:)

Unknown said...

You see the connections with Children of men. Same theme and a big clue just to let you know they know you know.


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