Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Bronx Executioner (1989)

"Freeze! Fashion Police!"

Man, this film is cheap, even by the standards of Italian post-apocalyptic films. It's directed by Vanio Amici under Umberto Lenzi's ocassional pseudonym Bob Collins, so sometimes it's misattributed to Lenzi. This is Amici's only film as director although he was editor on some infamous trash like Troll 2 and Black Demons. I guess his editing skills were put to good use here, since over half of the footage was ransacked from another 1984 post-apocalyptic cheapie called The Last Executioner. Not a good sign.

Naturally, it opens with two or three minutes of stock footage; slow pans over early 80s computers dubbed with Atari sound effects and some guy talking some shit about robots. Welcome to the FUTURE. Then an exposition-heavy conversation is narrated to us over some tourist-board footage of a decidedly pre-apocalyptic New York, since I guess they forgot to shoot the actual scene. It seems that a rookie cop named James is being sent into the Bronx as the final stage of his training to become a "Sheriff". Or something.

Cut to a jungle. You know, the Bronx Jungle. James (Gabriele Gori) is being pursued by some faceless guy with a hunting rifle and is saved at the last second by a mysterious stranger. Turns out the hero is James's new boss Warren (Woody Strode), the Sheriff of the Bronx, and he seems to be acutely aware of his role in the film when he says "My name is Warren, but everyone just calls me The Black Man." Nice. He explains that the Bronx is now overrun by two warring factions of malfunctioning robots, the Androids and the Humanoids. What's the difference? Fuck if I know, and as Warren explains "they are the only ones who can tell eachother apart." They aren't allowed to wipe them out for some reason (Warren makes some vague reference to bleeding-heart politicians and scientists), and it's their job to make sure the war doesn't spill over into the human world. Should be pretty easy, since there's only about three humans in the whole film. Well, two, since all of the footage containing Strode was taken from The Last Executioner.

The Androids are led by the evil Margie (Margit Evelyn Newton from Hell of the Living Dead), who slinks around in a red PVC mini-dress and says things like "violence is the best aphrodisiac" and "I only love death" (awkwardly adding "Other people's death, naturally"). Her second-in-command in an Android named Shark who is dressed in studded leather and has a scar on his cheek that looks more like a smear of... well, let's say chocolate. Shark is in love with Margie, who manipulates him and taunts him for being an Android. Wait, so is Margie an Android too? A Humanoid? A human? Honestly, I have no idea. Her monotone voice and blank facial expression are not enough to distinguish her from the rest of the cast.

The peaceful Humanoids are led by the brawny Dakkar, who looks like he should be throwing styrofoam boulders around on a Hercules set somewhere. Wait, is that...? It is! Jakooooodaaa!! Yes, it's Alex Vitale from Strike Commando. While Dakkar and his soldiers are out searching for supplies, Margie and her troops attack the rest of the Humanoids at an abandoned quarry in the middle of nowhere (again, this is supposed to be the Bronx), no doubt the same fucking quarry from every Italian post-apocalyptic film ever made. This provides lots of opportunity for stuntmen to dramatically flip into the air and tumble down the sides of the pit, distracting you from the fact that they couldn't afford stage-blood or squibs.

It turns out that the humans are conducting experiments with the two factions by airdropping cans of food (apparently they eat worms or something) and then observing the Androids and Humanoids as they fight over the supplies on their sweet dirtbikes. Look, I didn't write this thing, okay? James and Warren head to the drop-off point (that quarry again) and while James cowers behind a dune, Warren, who is in his 70s I might add, leaps into the fray for no reason and starts smacking the Androids around with a pipe until they run away. Disgusted by James's undeniable pussiness, Warren takes him back to headquarters and puts him through a brutal training montage. He berates him, insults him and finally tells him that he has failed. Heartbroken, James falls asleep while creepily fondling his pistol, but when he wakes up he finds a letter from Warren saying that they've run out of stock footage so now it's all up to him.

Dakkar, meanwhile, is driving around in a jeep trying to find his human girlfriend. Unfortunately she has been kidnapped by Margie and her men, who rape and kill her. It's a strange scene, because they both fail to remove their pants, but he's an Android so maybe he doesn't understand how intercourse works. Neither does Dakkar, I guess, because he stumbles across her dead, clothed body and also concludes that she has been raped. Dakkar seeks help from James, who says "No, I can't help you", then sits there clenching his jaw for nearly a minute while some of Warren's flashback narration tells him that he must help any Humanoid in need. Then he immediately turns to Dakkar and says "Sorry, yes I'll help you." Awesome.

Dakkar gathers up his remaining men and he and James bust into the the Android's hideout, an old castle in the middle of a forrest. Once again. The Bronx. Once they break into the security center and throw stealth to the wind, the film erupts into an orgy of shamelessly re-used footage. A shot of Dakkar shooting some men on a staircase is looped three times in the span of a couple of minutes, and a first-person scene of James shooting bad guys as they pop out like paper targets is stretched out to comical lengths. After Dakkar hugs some radio-controlled dogs into submission, he has his final confrontation with Shark and Margie. It's pretty boring, but you can make a fun game of watching Margie's hairstyle change from scene-to-scene. It changes more than her expression (so more than once, basically). Ironically, when the credits roll the first on the list is Janet Berger with a wildly undeserved credit for "Continuity".

Say what you will about other post-apocalyptic actioners like 1990: Bronx Warriors , Bronx Warriors 2 or even Endgame: Bronx Lotta Finale, at least they looked like the director had seen a picture of the Bronx or at least had it described to them. This film looks like it was shot everywhere except the Bronx. Acting is bad. Dubbing is unbelievably bad. Storyline is incomprehensible. Action scenes are repetitive and boring. We are talking a Joe D'Amato level of incompetence here. This can be recommended only to the hardest of hardcore bad movie afficionados.

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