Film #340: NEW GLADIATORS aka I GUERRIERI DELL’ANNO 2072 aka ROME 2072 AD
2 out of 5 stars
NEW GLADIATORS (aka I GUERRIERI DELL’ANNO 2072 aka ROME 2072 AD aka a ton of other titles) is a film from 1984 that is pretty obviously inspired by Stephen King’s 1982 novel, THE RUNNING MAN and/or John Carpenter‘s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. The results are, well… varied. The plot is exactly what you’d expect in this sort of thing. But, from the looks of things, director Lucio Fulci had ZERO budget in which to make his film. The result is a sort of goofy sci-fi action thing that betrays its influences early on and continually wears them on its sleeve. The acting by such luminaries as Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, Jared Martin (WESTWORLD, DALLAS), and Al Cliver (ZOMBI) is terrible. The sets… pretty much made of some cardboard and flashing lights. The score by Riz Ortolani (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) is pure cheesy synthesizer schmaltz. Still… with all these things going against it, Fulci still manages to make a film that, while certainly not particularly good, still manages to hold one’s interest. There’s plenty of pseudo-science to go around and The Maestro even manages to throw in a couple of gruesome decapitations. NEW GLADIATORS is by no means one of Fulci’s better films, but… it’s also certainly not his worst. For that, you’d have to rent (or not rent in this case) his film(s) TOUCH OF DEATH, AENIGMA, or DOOR INTO SILENCE.