CANNON MONTH 2: The Final Executioner (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was on the site for the first time on April 4, 2021. The Final Executioner was not produced by Cannon but was released on video by Cannon / MGM/UA Home Video.

The Italians get post-apocalyptic movies better than anyone else, because they realize that at best, they are just Western movies remade with cars instead of horses. The costumes, the dirt, the violence are all the same. They can even use the same sets — now rundown with age — from the 60s and 70s heights of the Italian cowboy era to become the Xerox Bartertown of their low budget epic.

Romolo Guerrieri had been around as a director for years, working in all manner of genres like the giallo (The Sweet Body of DeborahLa Controfigura), poliziotteschi (The Police Serve the Citizens?Young, Violent, Dangerous) and, you guessed it, Westerns (he wrote Any Gun Can Play and wrote and directed Johnny Yuma).

In a film also known as The Final Executioner during its U.S. video shelf life, after a nuclear war, society has been broken into two groups: the clean, uncontaminated elites and those they hunt, the people left behind who have been contaminated by radiation. At least 80 million have been killed for sport as this movie begins.

Alan Tanner tries to put a stop to this, as his wife has been selected to be hunted. He pays for it by getting shot and left for dead before being rescued and trained by ex-cop Sam (Woody Strode, who is pretty much playing the same role he played in Keoma). Together, they go against the system.

Footage from this was used in Giuseppe Vari’s Urban Warriors and Vanio Amici’s The Bronx Executioner, which should please you that even after the end of the world, some folks try to keep it green. In fact, Woody Strode’s character is renamed Warren and is in the latter, with new footage shot for Margit Evelyn Newton’s character.

Speaking of Margit, she was shooting this and The Adventures of Hercules at the same time, which she claims exhausted her and made her lose ten pounds.

Look, this isn’t great, but a dude rides around on a motorcycle and has a samurai sword in an Italian wasteland. That’s enough to get me to watch. And they’re all different . . . but the same, none the less.

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