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Published by David Carter on 2015/7/19 (791 reads)
Directed by Enzo G Castellari
Review by David Carter

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Released by Blue Underground
Running Time: 91 minutes
Rating: Rated R
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 1.0 DTS-HD mono English/English, Spanish & French Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Director Commentary, Second half of Castellari interview, interview with Fred Williamson
Trailer Online: Yes

Enzo Castellari followed up the success of 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS with the second film in his post-apocalyptic trilogy, THE NEW BARBARIANS. Also known as WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND, BARBARIANS was a more traditional post-apocalyptic film than its predecessor, more clearly showing the influence of THE ROAD WARRIOR. BRONX WARRIORS coupled post-apocalyptic tropes with the gang film THE WARRIORS, and BARBARIANS similarly synthesizes influences from the genre in which Castellari started his career: the spaghetti western. THE NEW BARBARIANS is now available on a Blu Ray/DVD combo pack from Blue Underground.

After a nuclear apocalypse, the few remaining humans struggle for survival in an unforgiving wasteland. Those wastelands are ruled by the brutal Templars, led by the maniacal One whose sole goal is the extermination of anyone his men find alive. The only one who can oppose the Templars is the mysterious Scorpion. Scorpion draws the ire of the One after rescuing a beautiful woman – Alma-- from roving gang of Templars and then further infuriates the leader by killing his favorite warrior with the help of the bow-wielding Nadir (Fred Williamson).

Scorpion, Nadir, and Alma take refuge with a religious sect led by a man named Moses. Moses’ people welcome the trio with open arms but soon regret their hospitality when the Templars lay siege to their encampment. The solitary Scorpion must accept the help of his friends if he hopes to overcome One and his hordes of marauding Templars.

THE NEW BARBARIANS disposes with the anonymity typically seen in post-apocalyptic cinema for a more character driven piece. Castellari pulls from his background in spaghetti western to create a movie structured around the showdown between Scorpion and One. The technique works well as it gives a sense of narrative movement missing from other films in the genre: even scenes of wanton, gratuitous destruction are given a sense of purpose in the film. The aforementioned gratuitous destruction is a highlight of THE NEW BARBARIANS and the movie’s multiple decapitations and explosions are among the genre’s best. BARBARIANS has gotten something of a bad rap due to being the source of a RiffTrax, but the film’s shortcomings are fewer than you might have heard.

Blue Underground’s Blu Ray of the film was used for this review and it is vastly superior to the several previous versions of the film available. The print is excellent and admirably shows the high level of detail in the movie’s sets and costumes. THE NEW BARBARIANS was a strong follow-up to 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS that is more engaging its predecessor.
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