Where do I start with this little seen Italian post apocalyptic gem? Well, I first rented it back in 2005, as one of the “Rent 3 get 1 free” rentals at the Mom And Pop shop that I rented tons of vhs tapes from. I just grabbed it because it seemed interesting, and it turned out to be damn great. First off the movie The Running Man is HEAVILY influenced by the beginning of this movie, because it has 1 man being pursued by Hunters. The man is the longest running winner of “Endgame”, and his name is Ron Shannon, played by Italian action/sci-fi/horror stalwart Al Cliver.
This is the first movie I saw him in a starring role in, after seeing his performance in Fulci’s Zombie, and it’s a shame that he never really headlined any others, because he’s a pretty capable leading man.
He defeats most of the other hunters in battle, except for Kurt Karnak, the only other player who’s gone the longest without being defeated. They once before hunted each other, and the game came out as a draw. Needless to say they loathe each other, but have a grudging respect.
Shannon gets hired by a doctor to transport some mutant children, and adults, since the radioactive fallout has resulted in people being telepathic, and in one case, a young boy who may be the next step in evolution.
Shannon puts together a group of mercenaries with the promise of gold once the Doctor and the group of telepaths get to safety. Included among the group is a fellow named “Ninja” (played by Al Yamounouchi, most recently seen in Push, as the father of the screamers), and an old buddy of his named “Bull” played by another Italo genre stalwart: Gabriele Tinti.
I neglected to mention, that among the telepaths is Laura Gemser. The Indonesian beauty of such high class art films as “Emmanuelle Around The World” and “Emmanuelle And The Last Cannibals”.
The movie is filled with TONS of action, and an amazing synth score by Carlo Maria Cordio. The movie and the synth score were obviously influenced by John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, but where that movie had “The Crazies. End of the month, they’re out of food.” this movie has MUTANTS. There’s a sequence involving blind monks that needs to be scene, and there’s people that look like they got blended with farm animals. All the while, Karnak is switching allegiances between the main bad guy, and helping out Ron Shannon and his group, but this is mostly out of the fact that he doesn’t want anyone else to kill Shannon but himself.
This all leads up to the final confrontation between the bad guy who runs the “Security Service. The SS. Complete with Nazi looking outfits and helmets” and his henchmen.
The ending is pretty awesome, and has a freeze frame at the start of the battle between Ron Shannon and Karnak over the gold, as well as to finally see who is the better warrior.
It’s a sad fact that this movie isn’t available on dvd, and definitely deserves a release by a company like Blue Underground, Severin, or Synapse. If you happen across the vhs tape, buy it. It’s worth it. I got my copy at a Hollywood Video that was going out of business.
Rene’s song of the day: “Endgame, End Title” by Carlo Maria Cordio.
Thanks for reading my blog and see you next time!
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