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RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS is one of the biggest genre duplicators to come out
of early 80s Italian action cinema. If something was an international
hit, it is most likely to be found at some point in here. One need
merely look at the US box office reports from 1979-82 to find the
workings of this Ruggero Deodato flick. Assorted ingredients include
THE ROAD WARRIOR, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE WARRIORS, FIRST BLOOD,
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, FLASH GORDON, SUPERMAN:
THE MOVIE, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, and even a little NIGHT OF THE LIVING
But this is part of the fun of RAIDERS (and most Italian films from this era). Picking out what bit came from where is like a cinematic version of "Where's Waldo?" For example, the group of survivors encounters a formally dressed family hiding out in an abandoned house. Hmmmmm? NOTLD perhaps? Of course, Deodato one ups his sources in some cases and has the family immediately become graphic gang fodder. This mishmash approach also allows you an opportunity to see which films had a huge impact on Italian cinema (let's just say George Miller and John Carpenter should be pleased).
The cast is led by Christopher Connelly, who looks like a more energetic Jurgen Prochnow here. Connelly is clearly having fun in the role and even doing some of his own hazardous looking stunts. He is partnered with Tony King, whose character Washington is always insisting on being called Mohammed and delivers some funny lines. For example, when the group land on Atlantis someone says, "If you ask me, we're just heading around in circles." To which Washington uh, I mean Mohammed replies, "What's wrong with circles?" This type of head scratching dialogue is abundant. Rounding out the cast are low budget familiars Ivan Rassimov, Bruce Baron and George Hilton doing his best "Clark Kent" as a nerdy professor. If you don't blink, you can also catch appearances by future filmmaker Michele Soavi and Deodato himself.
The budget is obviously low (watch for miniatures that would make Sid & Marty Kroft shake their heads) but enough bullets, explosions and mayhem (including a gruesome decapitation) is supplied to help you quickly overlook that fact. Plus, the film opens with the soooooo out of place but incredibly catchy disco theme "Black Inferno" by Oliver Onions (the pseudonym of the De Angelis brothers). Deodato seems to have completely thumbed his nose at the conventional rules of cinema, jumping from day to night and back to day in scenes that are supposed to continuous. Hell, what do I know, maybe things are like that in Atlantis?
This is probably the best of Ruggerro Deodato's films. Starring
Connelly, Tony King, Ivan Rassimov, and George Hilton, this
thriller revolves around Mike (Connelly) and Washington (King), two
vets, who find themselves muddled up in a battle between good and the dark
face of Atlantean evil.
When a team of scientists, led by Professor Peter Saunders (Hilton), attempt to raise a sunken Russian submarine off the coast of Miami, an ancient Atlantean tablet is recovered from the ocean floor. They call in Dr. Cathy Rollins, and expert in pre-Columbian dialects, to examine the artifact. During the attempt to bring up the sub, a tidal wave destroys the platform and leaves only a tiny group of survivors, including Saunders, Rollins, and Bill Cook (Ivan Rassimov). They are rescued by Mike and Washington, and after cruising around aimlessly for a day, hit an island off the Florida coastline. On going ashore, they find everything and anything has been destroyed, and a string of bodies have been left amongst the ruins. Coming face-to-face with the culprits, a viscous mob of Atlantean killers, led by their leader "Crystal Skull", Mike and the gang must find a way to escape before they too are added to the growing list of victims.
There is so much that makes this movie the classic that it is. Superb acting, an interesting if not exciting storyline, and brilliant effects combine to create this hard-to-find classic. Wonderful and often hilarious use of action scenes, including the gruesome decapitation of a motorcycle raider, and a hapless woman being shot in the throat with a dart. Also featuring an excellent soundtrack, this movie is a must-see for post-apocalyptic fans and even those who simply enjoy a great action flick.
From the director of Cannibal Holocaust and the Barbarian Brothers,
Ruggero Deodato, comes this Italian action rip-off. These types of
movies have a nostalgic feel for me, especially this one. It reminds me
of the old mom & pop video stores, before Blockbuster. The action movie
section would be filled with row upon row of movies like this one.
These would be all the movies I'd love to see but couldn't. C grade
movies with B grade video cases. The video cases always looked like
some fantasy artist just did the movie poster. The covers would rarely
live up to the actual movie, but we could hope. Nowadays, the same type
of movies have horrible covers to boot. I am not sure when this
developed, but I think it has to do with the ready availability of
Photoshop and computers. Now on to the movie.
Miami, Florida 1994.
It actually looks more like Miami, Florida 1984, but who's counting. Over a Super Fuzz like disco theme song, we get the Circle Line tour of Miami via water and air. Two guys (we later find out these are our "heroes") break in through the front door of a house, commit several acts of murder, assault and one act of kidnapping. They escape through the front of the house. We never get any real background on the two men other than the following : Mike (played by a leathery-looking Christopher Connelly) and Washington (but please call him by his new name, Mohammed) are ex-military privateers/mercenaries. The initial mission they were on was for someone called the "Colonel". After getting paid for their services, they are off to Trinidad on a boat for R&R.
At the same time, an attractive Dr. Rollins (Gioia Scola - another veteran of Lucio Fulci's Conquest) is forcibly transported via helicopter to a military research platform at 68 N - 28 W (middle of the ocean) to investigate a crazy artifact that was found when a Russian sub crashed. The artifact is reportedly 12,000 years old. She deduces that the artifact is a "Rosetta stone" for Atlantis, using a pair of tweezers, a small magnifying glass and a slide show. As they attempt to bring the submarine to surface, a giant storm breaks loose which sinks the platform. Also a "model of an island in a plastic bubble" apparently rises from the ocean. Mike and Washington (I mean Mohammed) rescue the survivors of the platform, including the attractive Dr. Rollins. At this point the cabin boy, Manuel, has a minor freak out and jumps ship.
The crew end up back on land and they discover a city that has been totally devastated. It was caused by a group of rejects from the Auto and Gun shows that dress like an offshoot of the Village People's leather guy, with lots of shimmery golden makeup and crazy haircuts. Their leader wears a transparent skull mask, leather vest and neck guard and carries a riding crop (even though he rides in a 50's Ford with the Ben-Hur modification to the wheels). At first he just attacks, but later he reveals the plot.
Apparently they are Atlanteans and they're back. These xenophobic Atanteans are on a Greenpeace mission to kill everyone (except 1 person) and reclaim all that was theirs. It took 52 minutes to find out what this movie was about, but better late than never. We then get Assault on Drug Store 13. Somehow the Atlanteans kidnap Dr. Rollins and it's up to our wrinkly hero to rescue her. How do we do this ??
Step 1 : Commandeer a bus.
Step 2 : Blow up a helicopter from the bus.
Step 3 : Run over the bad guys.
Step 4 : Commandeer a military helicopter.
Step 5 : Fly to Atlantis.
Step 6 : Rescue (involving lots of killing and puzzle solving)
This movie is predictable, once you figure out what's going on. That is only a matter of time since the plot is quite simple. You can expect the typical B/C grade movie pyrotechnics (feels like we're watching the A-Team or something), point and click gun fights (noone aims), models of vehicles and buildings, and the gratuitous dummy kill (a.k.a. close up kill shot).
All the things I've said should not distract you from this laugh-fest. It is quite enjoyable, when not taken seriously. This is never a problem because everyone involved seems to know what kinda of bucket everyone is standing in and its not full of bananas.
Some scientists team up with a duo of Vietnam vets to fight make-up
wearing biker punks from the lost city of Atlantis which reemerges from
under the water due to a sunken Russian submarine's radioactive
missiles. Just typing that previous sentence makes my brain hurt and I
haven't even gotten to the more nonsensical stuff. Ha.
OK, the plot is ridiculous and the film itself doesn't make a lick of sense, but this b-movie is amazingly fun and doesn't let up on the action. Think of it as a cross between Assualt on Precint 13, and mad max. If you loved those films, are willing to keep and open mind, and can turn your brain off for the duration of the film, you'll like this one a lot as well.
My Grade: A-
Side note: This movie can be found on side A of Disc 2 of the Grindhouse Experience 2 four DVD set, alas it's from an old VHS dub and the picture is far from optimal. Hopefully this unsung b-movie classic will be re-released in a remastered form (ok, probably not, but one can hope)
This film is in a league of it's own: I won't bother to re-state what every other person has already posted regarding the plot. Needless to say it makes no sense what-so-ever in the big scheme of things, but there is plenty of violence and preposterous characters such as the "Crystal Skull" liven things up no end. The best line in the whole film has to be "We can't move; we're immobilised" (by an invisible force field), so how come he can still move his jaw to speak? As I say ultimately in a league of it's own and one of the best examples of how practically any script was considered during the 80's as a potential blockbuster!
This is one of the dumbest Italian films I've ever watched, but don't
let that put you off It's brilliant! The plot, what there is of it,
concerns the ancient lost island of Atlantis somehow being brought up
from the sea bed by the radiation from a sunken nuclear sub, causing
either the Atlaneans or local humans to turn into Mad Max style killers
and before you know it you've got everything being destroyed and
everyone being killed but don't worry. We've got a list of Italian
exploitation vets out there willing to pick up a machine gun and blow
these mental sub-aquatic upstarts to hell.
You've got mercenaries Christopher Connolly (Strike Commando) and Tony King (The Last Hunter), professor George Hilton (Devil with Seven Faces), pilot Ivan Rassimov (Eaten Alive) dubbed by Nick Alexander (every Italian movie ever) in a double whammy of greatness, Michele Soavi (Blade in the Dark) and even Mike Monty (Zombi 3). These are the folks I'd be calling if the apocalypse loomed (even though at least four of them are no longer with us)! The head bad guy? Bruce Baron of The Ultimate Ninja fame! I'm getting faint just typing all that out.
After meeting up on Connolly's boat after some lab is destroyed in a storm, our heroes head for the mainland and from then on it's a toe to toe battle with our ridiculous looking antagonists involving shotguns, loads of petrol bombs, machine guns and even some electrical wire (which chops off some guy's head).
I love the way that Connolly and co lay waste to hundreds of Atlanteans over the course of the last hour of the film. Sure, he's no good at protecting people, especially when he promises three scared people they'll be fine shortly before they're all killed, but I reckon he was just fobbing them off anyway as they were distracting him from mowing down dozens of bad guys. There's a slim plot about a lady who can decipher all these languages getting drawn to Atlantis in some plot to free the Atlanteans (which confused me regarding who all the bad guys were), but just strap yourself in a let the contant sound of gunfire roll over you.
I said this film was dumb, and I mean it. Soavi's character states at one point, when they're all trapped in a building, that he's going to scout around for a way out, then he walks out the front door and gets captured. Check out the Atlanteans their costumes are like rejects from the Bronx Warriors! And what's with the echoey voices? And what purpose does it serve to have Tony King's character as a recent convert to Islam? It's this kind of stuff that draws me back to Italian films again and again.
It's a Ruggero Deodato film, so there are fleeting bits of gore (decapitations, a woman being shot through the mouth with an arrow etc), and this is so much more a guilty free pleasure than Cannibal Holocaust no animal cruelty here, thankfully. Get in! I loved this one.
The Italian film industry was really booming in the 1960s, 70s, and
80s. During this period some of the best and worst of Italian cinema
was made, and everything in between. One film trend that was pretty
lucrative at the time was imitations of successful films from other
countries. George Romero's zombie films were very popular overseas and
many filmmakers at the time wanted to cash in. This was also the case
with George Miller's cult 'Mad Max' series, which have been ripped off
in countless films. Some of them are unwatchable junk that deserve to
be forgotten, but there are some exceptions. Take this little known
number from the director of 'Cannibal Holocaust,' one of the most
controversial films of all time. It offers very little in the way of
novelty, but is a deliriously entertaining 90 minutes that is a must
see for b movie and Action buffs alike.
Pros: Cast is game. Exciting score and a wonderfully 80s theme song. Lots of beautiful, lush scenery. Moves along at a fast pace. Lots of cheesy goodness. Cool production and costume designs. Plenty of fun action sequences.
Cons: Wafer thin plot. Derivative of other, better films. Most of the effects are cheap looking, even for the time. Some choppy editing. An abundance of plot holes.
Final thoughts: It may be dumb and cheesy in the extreme, but 'Raiders of Atlantis' is undeniably fun. Just about everything a fan of these types of films could ask for is here. Ruggero Deodato has done better, but his first Action effort is a solid one and further proof that he is one of the kings of great trash cinema. Not yet available on DVD, but well worth searching for on VHS.
My rating: 3.5/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WARNING: MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS
Can you imagine a movie including a Russian submarine, the ancient continent Atlantis, a evil Punk-Rock-Gang trying to capture the world and some Vietnam veterans fighting against them? No? Nor do I, till I saw "Atlantis Inferno" yesterday - This is trash at it's best! The story is so funny, you can't believe anyone took this crap serious not even the director of "Atlantis Inferno". Some American Scientists try to get a sunk Russian submarine from the ground, without the UdSSR recognizing it. I can't believe this was possible in the years of the cold war. Also, I don't understand why they use a oil platform to lift the submarine But, whatever. Unfortunately, the atomic rockets inside the submarine somehow (??) wakes the continent Atlantis, which rises from the ground. Why? Well, who cares? At the same moment, Punk-Rockers from Atlantis (please, imagine it! Punk-Rockers from Atlantis! Who ever thought that a Punk-Rock-Gang lived in Atlantis and their Leader is a weirdo with a Glass skull as Face??) arrive in the USA and start killing every human they find. A massive storm destroy the platform, and some of the soldiers, the scientists and a pilot get saved by two retired Vietnam-Fighters, now working as soldiers-of-fortune. These bunch of survivors now fight against Mr. Glass skull and his none-human (but look like humans) army of rockers. I don't wanna spoil everything, so watch the movie and enjoy the Indiana-Jones-meets-Alien End by yourself.
The Action is bloody, real bloody, sometimes even disgusting. The Special effects don't deserve the word "special", they were made with models from a toy-steam-train, maybe in the bathroom of the director (e.g. the storm scene). The Acting is standard for a B-Movie.
If you really love trash movies with a REALLY strange story, this is a must-seen! All others should avoid "Atlantis Inferno" at all costs.
Ruggero Deodato's 1983 classic is one of the most entertaining B movies I have ever seen, the story might be out there, but this is one film where the actors and action drive the narrative. Christopher Connelly and Tony King make a great double act and director Deodato was obviously having a good time directing something more entertaining than his previous film THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK. Find this film and enjoy, because they don't make them like this anymore!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mike and Washington are two mercenaries who kidnap some guy for 50,000
dollars and head out to sea for some R&R. At the same time scientists
are raising a Russian sub only to somehow trigger the rise of Atlantis.
Mike and Wash manage to rescue a few scientists that are lost at sea
and head to an island. The island, however, has been wasted by bikers
who are descendants of Atlantis. Mike and his team try to rescue a
captured scientist and get away safe. Along the way there's lots of
gore and gun-play.
I saw this movie as a teen. I loved it then and I loved it when I saw it again recently. Admittedly, a suspension of reality is needed. The plot is far-fetched and there are some things that just aren't explained.
For instance, no one explains how the character of Crystal Skull knew how Atlantis was coming. The lady scientist ends up in the chopper at the end and we're not told how she got there. A lot of film time is wasted watching a copter land when it could've been used to fill us in on the plot holes.
But in spite of these things this movie is a whole lot of fun. The action is nonstop. Tony King and Chris Connolly are great as the two male leads. They have a great chemistry. There are moments of humor too. A fight with a German military man stops because Mike drops his cash and they realize they are both good guys. You have to see it to get what I mean. A biker gets beheaded with wire in another great scene. All in all this one won't leave you bored. I recommend it. It's tough to come across so good luck getting it. It's worth finding.
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