Just as there are varying degrees of excellence among "good" movies (Back to the Future is truly great, but it's not exactly The Godfather), there's also a whole spectrum of (relative) quality among the seriously BAD movies. Nobody in the universe could, with a straight face, classify 2019: After the Fall of New York as a "good film" or even a "moderately well-constructed time-waster." No, After the Fall of New York is just plain old bad through and through: the sets, the costumes, the actors, the script, the prop guns and futuristic motorbikes ... the whole thing just reeks of Z-grade, no-budget "post-nuke" refuse from the year 1983. And it most certainly is all of those things.
But it's also a whole lot of broad, goofy fun (albeit in an inadvertent way) and, to its credit, the movie's actually just cohesive enough to keep you interested until the end credits. (I've seen a lot of these Italian post-WWIII hack-jobs, and very few of them actually tell a story.)
Michael Sopkiw (that's sop-keef, in case you've always wondered) stars as an ass-kickin' futuristic anti-hero not at all unlike the ones called Mad Max and/or Snake Plisskin. Known only as "Parsifal," our lead lughead is given a simple choice: trek into the wasteland of New York City and return with the world's last fertile female - or die a slow and horrible death. Tough call.
So based on that one brief snippet of plot synopsis, you already know that After the Fall of New York is not much more than a thinly veiled ripoff of John Carpenter's Escape from New York - and when I say "thinly veiled" what I really mean is "not even remotely veiled in even the slightest way." Suffice to say that Parsie heads into the violent world of New York circa 2019, a bleak and barren landscape full of spiky haired miscreants, wobbly milk cartons hoping to pose as hollowed-out skyscrapers, and a whole lot of sidekicks who exist partially to assist the hero in his numerous gunfights, but mainly to die in very graphic fashion when the gunfights are over.
If it sounds like I'm actually leaning towards a recommendation on something called After the Fall of New York, that's because I've already seen movies like Warriors of the Wasteland and Warlords of the 21st Century ... and the Sopkiw flick is like Citizen Kane compared to those two.
Yes, it's a very tacky and very silly Xerox of a much better film, and the producers really should have pulled back on the plagiarism just a bit, but taken strictly for what it is ... After the Fall of New York is actually a pretty good time. Most of the flick is "so bad it's good," and for a few stray moments here and there, it actually works on its meager merits.
Plus it's got a heroic cyborg, a feral man-ape warrior guy, a gorgeous fertile babe in a see-through blouse, and a whole lot of nasty violence.
I sure wasn't expecting much when I slid the disc in. Last time I saw this movie it had a Vestron label and the tracking was all off. Glad to say that there's practically no gol-durn way that this movie could look much better than this. It's a Widescreen Anamorphic transfer, and (considering the source material) it looks a whole lot slicker than you might expect.
Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0, and both are pretty darn good. You'll always get that early-80s aural vibe from movies like this, but the dialogue is clear and the explosions are appropriately chaotic. We're not talking Phantom Menace-style sound effects here, so what we're offered is more than adequate.
One solid handful of goodies here: a brief video introduction with Michael Sopkiw, a trio of interview segments with director Sergio Martino and actors George Eastman & Hal Yamanouchi (running about 25 minutes altogether), a poster gallery, and the original theatrical trailer. And click around for an egg while you're at it.
This sort of low-rent cheese certainly is not for everyone; heck, even I have a low tolerance for the bottom of the "post-nuke" barrel. But if there were 25 of these blatant ripoffs made between 1979 and 1985, I'd bet that this is one of the best ones. Unquestionably bad, but fans of the genre will have a good time.