I was listening to episode 22 of the Destructomundo Podcast, Anarchy, the other day, and they made reference to a post-apocalyptic movie I had never heard of before, The Ultimate Warrior. I did some checking, and even though it is available on DVD (as a combo disk with Battle Beneath the Earth) it’s not on Netflx or the torrents. So I shelled out the cash to buy it on Ebay, and it arrived today.
Released in 1975 and starring Yul Brynner, The Ultimate Warrior is the earliest example I can recall of a PA scenario with a traveling hero figure who is enlisted to protect a group of survivors, a la Mad Max 2 from several years later.
The film takes place in New York City, just about 30 years after a series of plagues and crop diseases reduces civilization to scattered communities, each struggling to resist succumbing to hunger, and/or the groups of marauders intent on getting hold of their resources. One such commune hires Carson, Brynner’s character, to serve as their fighter and drive off any attacks.
I was surprised at how violent the movie was; not that the times it portrays would be less dangerous, on the contrary of course, but the body count just kept piling up. There were more stabbings than I could count, multiple throat cuttings, a garroting, one mob murder, a few heads bashed with rocks, two men purposefully thrown off buildings, one face pressed into a cooking fire, etc.
On the whole, I enjoyed it, and am glad I spent the money to be able to see it. It doesn’t rise to the level of the more well known 70s PA entries (Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, Logan’s Run) but I did like it more than I liked A Boy and His Dog. (Though I do have to wonder why every film maker from the 70s assumes that bell-bottoms and hippie hair-dos will remain the prevailing fashion through the collapse of the world as we know it.)
If you’re reading this, you’re obviously a fan of the post-apocalypse, so if this one drops into your lap, it’s well worth the time it takes to watch it.