Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Giuseppe Vari - Urban Warriors (1987)



badmovies.org wrote:
The Characters:
Brad - Despite being a lab technician he maintains a healthy physique and is well-suited to survival in a world without law.
Mourie - Fellow technician and competent mechanic. He is killed, but that is not important. Where did he find the motorcycle equipped with smoke launchers is what I want to know.
Stan - The third guy from the lab who has the worst of luck. His leg is injured by a tunnel collapse when the group exits their underground lab and then a pack of madmen decapitate him.
Angela - Untouched by radiation due to her people living in a sheltered valley. Her speech makes it sound like she was the member of some primitive tribe. It has only been a few days since the bombs dropped! I don't understand...
Emelia - She helps Brad get away from the gang, then is shot and probably drowns (it's a long story).
Julia - Briefly seduces our hero with the help of her heels and tight black body suit. She was a member of the gang and one of the others breaks her neck after they capture Brad.
The Gang Members - Supposedly mutants created by nuclear radiation. What they look like is a bunch of, well, gang members. Most die.

The Plot:
Sometimes these films seem like they were created to personally insult me. While viewing them I start imagining things, like subliminal messages flashed every few frames. In this case it would be a hand flipping me the bird. A big dirty paw with black soil under the fingernails and dry calluses flaking off. Ick.

Brad and his two coworkers are deep underground, in a lab that does something, when World War III happens. Despite a world network of early warning radar and satellite, the stock nuclear footage comes as a complete surprise. Our hero is speaking with someone on the phone when everything goes dead. The lab is plunged into darkness (so much for backup power) and the technicians scramble around for a while before finding their way topside. It might seem the journey, through "air ducts" that look like catacombs, takes forever. Not so, because about one day passes for the characters and that translates into roughly ten minutes for us viewers. Ten minutes!

Just in case you were wondering. I am not waffling with all the "something" and "someone" references. Twice has this VHS disgraced my VCR and I'm still clueless about a number of inane details. There is a sneaky rumor going around (somewhere) that the people who made this film do not know the answers either.

It is baffling that the three do not discuss what might have happened. They emerge from the "air ducts" and survey the "blasted landscape" (better be careful or I'll pull my irony muscle); still no exclamations! Looking in one direction they see an undamaged office building (the windows are even intact) and, in the opposite line of march, an old sand and gravel pit with some battered structures nearby. They hike over to the strip-mining operation. Nobody ever said Brad and his friends were rocket scientists.

In one of the dilapidated warehouses the survivors search for food. Unfortunately, all they find is canned chili and cheap beer. For the rest of the movie this is what Brad and his companions subsist on. The consequences of such a diet are beyond mortal comprehension. Is that radiation poisoning rotting out your insides or breakfast doing its dirty work? Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Stan unwisely gets up to investigate a noise during the night. The others find his head (body MIA) lying on the hood of an old clunker the next morning. Priorities change at that point. It is time to fix the car, get some guns, and clear out. Mourie accomplishes task number one while Brad opens the big wooden box labeled "GUNS" (I'm kidding) and discovers a cache of pistols. In the nick of time too; the gang members return and chase them along some dirt roads before the sun sets.

Ah, the mutant gang that now prowls the wastelands looking for victims. Roughly two days have passed since society ended in a nuclear holocaust and they are already armed, organized, and have a communications net. These people are on the ball! One of the drawbacks of their radiation-induced metamorphosis is losing all coordination and impetus between dusk and dawn.

The two untainted humans set up a new home before beginning a systematic search for other sane refugees. There is a touching scene where they talk about their shared lack of social connections and, in a wrenching confession (crap, pulled that irony muscle after all), Brad says that he once had someone special. "Then she died." Okay, great. Most people would be a little more specific. Saying that a car accident or sudden illness took their loved one for example; unless the death resulted from a faux pas. What did she do Brad? Stick a fork into an outlet?

Death visits again when Brad and Mourie meet the gang during one of their outings, leaving the latter a bloody corpse on the dusty road. Then Brad waxes sentimental for about ten minutes (movie time, not real time) before Julia shows up and puts him to sleep. No, not with drugs or gas. The two have a really pitiful sex scene. Afterwards Brad takes a nap, waking up in time to notice his new woman is going to shoot him. Gang members bust in to drag the unlucky fellow out and kill Julia for trying to hoard his spinal marrow for herself.

Why do they eat spinal marrow? Apparently the radiation also caused it to become a daily requirement. I'm really at a loss to explain why. How they figured out that spinal marrow was what they were hankering for is also puzzling.

Brad is subjected to a totally unnecessary trial during which Emelia walks around him for a few minutes saying how much he sucks. Then she sentences him to death and spine consumption. In the "cell" (ouch, it is starting to get sore) he meets Angela and the two bond immediately. Emelia steals into the cell at dawn and reveals that she is a normal person pretending to be a mutant to survive. Everybody dashes out the door, including the groggy gang members, for a final chase. Why didn't the idiot release them at midnight or sometime the night before? Screw it. The movie is almost over. I don't care.

Things I Learned From This Movie:
Nuclear war and volcanic activity are two reasonable excuses for missing a dinner date.
Wooden boxes always contain three handguns along with ample ammunition.
Atomic bomb blasts will level cities, but leave vegetation untouched.
Motorcycles are not equipped with odometers.
Drinking and driving is no big deal after the apocalypse.
Chili and beer makes women horny.
Spinal column marrow tastes better than normal bone marrow.

Stuff To Watch For:
10 mins - I know the power is off, but could we please have some light?
15 mins - They couldn't afford a real rat! This is looking bad.
32 mins - What the heck? A cartwheel? Maybe?
39 mins - Notice the bright spot in the middle of the lighted area. That would be the flashlight's beam in the center of the spotlight they are using to simulate the flashlight.
52 mins - You know what? Screw this movie.
62 mins - She wants to have sex. Get it? Duh!
77 mins - Cars! Motorcycles! Weapons of opportunity! Fighting! (And I'm still bored.)

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