Shitty Movie Sundays: The Exterminators of the Year 3000, aka Il giustiziere della strada

I’ve seen a lot of Mad Max ripoffs. American ones, Italian ones, Filipino ones…but never one from Australia. Hmm.

This particular Mad Max ripoff is of the Italian variety, and it might be the most barebones of the bunch. It has the most desolate wasteland, the smallest cast, and the least amount of tricked out hoopties. That last note is something of a sticking point. The cars are a big draw for me when watching these movies. I want to see rust buckets with all sorts of doodads welded to them to make them look tough. Crucially, they need to have been decent muscle cars at one point in their lives. In this flick, the auto de résistance is a sixth generation Ford Thunderbird, which was the heaviest coupe Ford ever made. That thing couldn’t outrun a squirrel, and belongs nowhere near a film like this. This was the best the filmmakers could do? Anyway…

From 1983, The Exterminators of the Year 3000 comes to us via Guiliano Carnimeo, directing a screenplay from a passel of writers, including Dardano Sacchetti, whose name seems to pop up every time I watch an Italian flick from the ’80s or ’90s.

It’s the future! Nuclear war has ravaged the planet, destroying the ozone layer and rendering the surface of the planet a desert. There are no more cities, there are no more farms. Civilization has collapsed, leaving behind small settlements of people struggling to survive, and gangs of bandits that roam the wastes, searching for water.

The film follows Max Rockatansky analogue Alien, played by Robert Iannucci. He wanders around the wasteland getting into and out of trouble, as is the wont of any decent antihero. His latest misadventure leads to him partnering with a boy named Tommy (Luca Venantini), who is on a quixotic quest to find water for the settlement from where he hails. Tommy is out in the wastes on his own after the convoy he was in was attacked and slaughtered by this film’s Lord Humungus/Wez analogue, Crazy Bull (Fernando Bilbao).

Crazy Bull is the best character in this flick. The cut I saw was the dubbed version released by New Line, and that seemed to be a cut made for television distribution. All the colorful metaphors are family-friendly, and I laughed every time Crazy Bull would prod his The Exterminators of the Year 3000 movie posterbandits along by calling them mother-grabbers, as in, “Onward, my merry mother-grabbers!” Or, “Once more into the breach, you mother-grabbers!” It doesn’t stop there. Another fantastic line was, “Hit their flank, you lousy squad of aberrations!” Whoever dubbed the voice in English had the perfect balance of enthusiasm for the material, and awareness that it was garbage.

Alien and Tommy don’t have to face Crazy Bull’s horde with just the two of them. In the middle of the film they join up with mechanic and former astronaut Papillon (veteran Italian Luciano Pigozzi, often credited as Alan Collins), and Alien’s ex-girlfriend, Trash (Alicia Moro). The film then becomes a running battle between Alien and his people, and Crazy Bull and his goons, ending in predictable fashion.

It looks as if Carnimeo had the barest of budgets to work with, and I believe he did a good job with what he had. The lack of flesh on this movie is disguised by a slick pace, and a never ending series of car chases. This might be down to the shorter print that I saw, which had to have excised slow bits (and most of the bloody stuff — boo). Still, for a film that takes place almost entirely on dirt roads surrounded by dirt hills, it didn’t get boring.

In short, there is nothing offensive or untoward about this film to those of us who like cheap movies. Whatever promise it has in its poster or trailer it delivers — no pretensions. Do you like Mad Max movies? Check this out, it says. I agree.

The Exterminators of the Year 3000 doesn’t have enough going for it to make it into the top half of the Watchability Index, but it still lands far above the dregs, displacing Cyborx X at #226.

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