It's a crying shame that this 1982 Italian classic is unavailable on a Region 2 DVD release but it's well worth acquiring on a VHS (especially if like me, you can convert it to DVD). I would say this was easily the best of the early 80s batch of post apocalyptic thrillers that Italy churned out en masse in the wake of Mad Max 2 & Escape From New York. The story is quite insane; an accident involving a nuclear submarine results in the domed island of Atlantis rising from the sea (??!!!) - swiftly followed by the Atlantean hordes terrorising the Miami coastline in true Road Warrior fashion! These guys are straight out of the handbook for this genre, what with mohawks, leather bondage gear, warpaint and all manner of heavily armoured bikes & cars - not to mention lots of guns & bladed weapons. Hell, the Atlantis army's leader even wears a crystal skull straight out of Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World!! The only thing that stands against them and world domination (well ok, Florida at least) are a couple of veteran mercenaries and a handful of scientists & refugees. Finally after umpteen car chases, sieges & shootouts, the good guys pilot a chopper to Atlantis and take the good fight to the heart of the ancient empire.
Yes it often makes no sense at all & questions abound; why would the denizens of such an ancient civilisation have such a predilection for punk fashion and 1950's style vehicles (complete with revolving blades on the wheel trims)?? Are some of the Atlanteans already in place on the mainland before their city rises from the sea?? How exactly does the sub accident cause Atlantis to return (or is it Atlantis that causes the sub to crash?) And in the midst of all this mayhem, where are the police and the army?? Why does it fall to two soldiers of fortune to save the day??!!
The thing is though it's pace is relentless, the action is non stop and reasonably bloody. The stunts & practical effects are excellent and the generally the film has decent production values for it's type. The visual fx are variable to be fair. There's a tidal wave that strikes an off shore platform that is straight out of the the old days of Dr Who and the domed island looks every inch the model it really is but hey full marks for trying as we aren't exactly talking Industrial Light & Magic here. Some better FX are to be seen once the action shifts to Atlantis with a fairly impressive robotic sphinx that fires laser beams from it's eyes. To be honest though its all about the machine guns, shotguns, petrol bombs and explosions. There is a stunning highway pursuit scene where our heroes having commandeered a bus find themselves under pursuit by helicopter. The stunt work is A grade Hollywood for sure as several Atlanteans leap from the chopper and storm the moving bus for yet another Mad Max style setpiece. Full marks to director, Ruggero Deodato for orchestrating all of this action.
What I really like is that compared to a lot of the Italian exploitation cinema of the time, the artwork does not grossly exaggerate what is in the film itself. It's pretty accurate compared to the likes of The Iron Master and especially Endgame. The dubbing is mostly ok with main man Christopher Connolly delivering all his lines in english. There's even a catchy 80s style theme tune as well! The music is mainly of that early electro style but is rather suited to the ott proceedings.
So as you can see I really like this cultish near classic; I first encountered it in VHS form waaay back in 1983 and still enjoy it today some near 30 yrs later. It earns it's 5 stars for it's sheer sense of fun! If you aren't sure, there are trailers knocking about on You Tube...
Obv the quality can't be guaranteed on an aged video tape but it's worth the gamble if you can get it. Just can somebody please release this on DVD properly though?? Bronx Warrors & New Barbarians are available so no reason why this shouldn't be too :-(
"We Have Come Back From Atlantis, This Is OUR World, You Have No Place In It..."
got this a while ago and to be fair the acting is not too good and some of the special effects are really bad but overall it is not a bad film. The basic plot is: some Americans are trying to raise an old nuclear submarine, the reactor has been leaking and an island (Atlantis) raises from the sea, all the power gets disrupted and the platform they are on collapses. some survivors get a lift off a boat to San Pablo island which has been taken over by the Atlantis interceptors and they have killed all the locals so the survivors have to find out whats going on, its kind of and apocalyptic film but the story line is not very good. but the film its self is not too bad.