Three things got me to watch this film: Persis Khambatta. Donald Pleasence. Post-apocalyptic. Then I found out that Fred Williamson was also in it and I raced to find this. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so hasty.
Released as Il Giustiziere Della Terra Perduta (Vigilante of the Lost Earth) 4 years after Mad Max and 2 years after The Road Warrior, this Italian schlockfest proves why you need the right director to make a great shitty movie instead of just a shitty movie. Trust me. There’s a difference.
First, we have a long wall of words to set the movie up.
Robert Ginty (The Exterminator, TV’s The Paper Chase) plays The Rider, who has arrived on his computerized motorcycle to do something and save someone. Also — there is an AI on his bike called Einstein that is the most grating cute computer in perhaps the history of film. He is the Bob of bots.
I love that this movie sets up The Rider as this awesome hero and he dies ten minutes into the movie by crashing into the “Wall of Illusion.” Yes, the greatest motorcycle rider of his time does not know how to avoid a giant wall.
Luckily for him and not for us, The Enlightened Elders bring him back to battle the totalitarian state run by Prossor (Pleasence). Along with the help of the Outsiders, he frees McWayne, but loses the scientist’s daughter Nastasia (Khambatta).
Then, The Rider joins a ritual brawl, fighting the cast of every post-apocalyptic movie ever made: karate dudes, truckers, punk rockers, soldiers, Amazons and more. He wins their trust and they battle the Omegas and their Megaweapon, but not before his motorcycle and Einstein are destroyed.
Existential question: can he still be The Rider when he has nothing to ride on?
Finally, the good guys win, Einstein is brought back and the Prossor who was killed turns out to be a clone. Yep, Fred Williamson was a traitor and they’re setting up a sequel that never came.
Director David Worth would go on to do Kickboxer, but you can really tell the difference in end of the world films when a normal person and a maniac like Fulci, Sergio Martino, Joe D’Amato or Enzo G. Castellari direct the movie. Also, this film needs a George Eastman heavy to show up and threaten the manhood of The Rider, ala Warriors of the Wasteland.
You know why Fred Williamson is awesome? Because he was already in Italy working on a movie and wanted to stay longer, so he tracked down the director David Worth and asked for a role so his work visa could be extended. He loves Italy just that much.
In case you didn’t pick up my subtle jabs at this film, I didn’t really enjoy it all that much. The poster is way more awesome than what’s inside. And if you’re going to pick an end of the world movie, we’ve already shared plenty that are way better. But who am I to get in the way of you watching a giant truck run over a beep boop robot?
If you want to watch it, there’s a Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. Or you can watch it on Con TV or Amazon Video.