Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Endgame (1983)

An Italian action film (a.k.a. by the great "Bronx Lotta Finale") set in the distant future year of 2005, after a nuclear blast has wiped out the cities and left people either burned, mutated, or made up like 80s new age band members- a fate worse than death. I’ve never entirely understood why, in the 80s action movie dystopian future, people are starving and desperate but have lots of face paint. Anyway, the main form of entertainment is “Endgame” a televised game show in which three hunters try to track and kill a player designated as prey. It’s hard not to wonder if Stephen King saw Endgame before writing The Running Man- then again, “what if there was a game show where they hunted people?” isn’t exactly blazingly original.

Alas, the game show plot doesn’t last very long. Mark Shannon (Al Cliver, yet again) is the prey in the game. Meanwhile, black trench coat and gas mask wearing storm troopers called the Security Services (SS- get it?) are on a secret military mission to exterminate the mutants and a strange woman (played, of course, by Laura Gemser) repeatedly tries to enlist the hero’s help. And, about a half-hour in, he’s won the game and the story switches to his mission to protect the mutants on their way out of the city. Shannon assembles a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude: martial artist, guy who catches knives, fat guy with a battleax, etc.

The government wants the mutants- really psychics- dead because they pose a threat of some sort in a society that has no order anyway. And our heroes want to help the mutants in order to get a lot of gold in a society where there’s nothing much to buy. Anyway, the government agents drop out of the story after the first half hour anyway, only to show up at the last ten minutes, and our heroes are inexplicably fighting blind monks and guys on dirt bikes until then. There’s lots of scenes shot in quarries and abandoned buildings. There’s a battle with hundreds of monks in black cloaks getting gunned down that gets sillier and sillier as it goes on. There are souped-up battle cars. And there are Laura Gemser’s nipples for a few seconds. Basically, it’s a movie for 12 year old boys awaiting its Saturday matinee.

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