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I Nuovi Barbari

Nuovi Barbari, I (1983) Movie Poster
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  •  Italy / USA  •    •  91m  •    •  Directed by: Enzo G. Castellari.  •  Starring: Giancarlo Prete, Fred Williamson, George Eastman, Anna Kanakis, Ennio Girolami, Venantino Venantini, Massimo Vanni, Giovanni Frezza, Iris Peynado, Andrea Coppola, Vito Fornari, Zora Kerova, Fulvio Mingozzi.  •  Music by: Claudio Simonetti.
        It's the year 2019, and the world has been devastated by a nuclear war. The only hope of the few remaining survivors is to reach a distant land from where radio signals indicating the presence of human life are being emitted.

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 3:18
 
 

Review:

Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Image from: Nuovi Barbari, I (1983)
Once I quite strangely had the opportunity to encounter both director Enzo G. Castellari and star Fred Williamson in the same room. It was at a INGLORIOUS BASTARDS retrospective at the Chinese Theater here in Hollywood. I handed them both the DVD of this movie to sign and they traded a lot of snickers and knowing glances at each other, which confirmed suspicions that this movie was basically the result of some lucky grown men playing around with toys (dune buggies and exploding arrows) in a sandbox (abandoned rock quarry) for a couple weeks somewhere in early 1980's Italy.

This film really is quite childishly bizarre to the point where it's difficult to imagine anyone ever taking seriously, so I wonder why there barely is a sense of humor to it. It comes so close but never quite goes far enough over-the-top to enter Monty Python territory. Imagine MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR as written by English-as-a-second-language 3rd Graders and on a budget barely adequate to secure some muddy film stock, a trip to the Salvation Army (or Italian equivalent) for costumes, and a couple old dirt bikes and golf carts rigged up with needless piping and tubing to make it all look futuristic. I don't know if the actors were even paid or just showed up when they felt like it to have fun running around in the dirt between scenes on the other, better movies they were working on.

With such a low budget, it's tempting to say this film doesn't offer much as far as entertainment as it's bereft of the ability to really sell us on anything. The sets and locations fail to convey any sense of futurism, the prop cars are too slow and weak to give the chase scenes any thrills, and the actors look a mixture of bored and embarrassed as they wander around opening and closing their mouths, hoping their post- looped dubbed dialog will make more sense than the script pages they were given. What this film does have is a highly pleasing over-the-top level of violence and mayhem, featuring exploding bodies, body parts, severed heads, and even an eyebrow-raising, totally un-asked-for rape scene right in the middle of things.

What this film must have been was a lot of fun to make. The women are pretty, stunt men get to jump and fly around, and actors get to punch each other while driving in the mud. The only ones who suffer here are the audience, who have to endure "pew pew" sound effects (even when extras fire contemporary assault rifles) and what surely must go down as Claudio Simonetti's worst score of his career. Musically, things really are quite toxic, and even a cleaned-up, full quality DVD presentation with the bass bumped up does this film no favors.

Castellari redeemed himself somewhat with his other two pseudo- apocalyptic action movies BRONX WARRIORS 1 & 2 made around the same time. There's enough decently handled stylish slow motion gunplay and pyrotechnics in here buried deep below the juvenile silliness, but one gets the idea that Castellari would be just as well remembered as Sam Peckinpah or John Woo had he ever been given enough time or money to do what he really wanted to do.


Review by Michael A. Martinez from the Internet Movie Database.