New Barbarians, The / I nuovi barbari (1983)

5.0 out of 5

From its unforgettable opening, complemented by, quite possibly, the grandchild of director Enzo Castellari's miniature work that explodes and burns over the credits, this Italian post-nuclear offering is one of the best. Great 20 m.p.h. car chases oftentimes equal the speed of the movie's slow-motion scenes, which comprise at least half of its running time.

The Claudio Simonetti synth score is one of the most satisfying of the 1980s. The shrill, piercing sound of the numerous blenders and vacume cleaners used to Foley the film's souped-up, tin-foil-laden golf carts, plus Simonetti's pounding drum machines, combine to form some impressive sound design, and, considering the dismal quality of Castellari's other post-nuke movies, the wretched Bronx Warriors series, it's comforting to find Barbarians so entertaining after 20-plus years.

Remarkable dummy explosions, squashings, impalements, and other notable dismemberment improve upon the movie's more clumsy attempts at dazzling stuntwork. Plus, the costume design is almost as laughable as the performances, excepting the 7 foot 8 sodomite George Eastman, who seems to be delivering his lines with the passion of a Shakespearean figure.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics