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Well, once again, I'm the only person in the world that liked this movie. From reading all of the terrible reviews, I almost changed my mind about that. City Limits is about rival biker gangs feuding in a post plague-ridden America (you know, poor man's Road Warrior). It's a good B-movie written by Don Keith Opper from The Critters movies. The only thing that no one could deny was the great cast. John Stockwell, James Earl Jones, Kim Cattrall, Rae Dawn Chong, John Diehl, Robby Benson, Don Keith Opper, and even Kane Hodder are all running around in this movie. The best part is that the gangs use comic books to make major decisions. That's classic. City Limits is absolutely nothing special, but that's why I love it. I suppose B-movies are somewhat of an acquired taste nowadays. So, if you enjoyed the Road Warrior...you probably won't enjoy City Limits. But if you like post-apocalyptic films that are B-movie treasures (garbage to most) along the lines of Def-Con 4, Cyborg, and Fist of the North Star, you should like City Limits.
A bunch of teens on bikes living in a post-apocalyptic city? That
sounds like the premise for a pretty fun movie to me but sadly it just
wasn't to be.
The costumes are nothing short of ridiculous even allowing for the fact that this was the 80's and although that sounds petty it constantly reminds you that this film has just been flung together much like the actors costumes. There's no plot, no characters, absolutely nothing to cling on to so the film just rolls along with not much happening. At one point I thought the film had given up and started again but it was just a bit of footage reused. Or maybe it just looked the same because honestly ten minutes after this film ends you won't be able to remember a single significant scene.
It's a shame because every once in a while you catch sight of something in the distance that looks a bit like a plot and the film perks up slightly. I can't recommend this film but I like the setting so it gets an extra point for that and it does have curiosity value because of the unusual cast.
It's a dud though, even for fans of bad movies.
City Limits is so mind boggling since it can't make it's mind up if it's an apocalypse/biker/romance/comedy. Admittedly, I have never seen a society relying so heavily on comic books and the significance of Insect Man. Add lots of crappy costumes, cheapo sets and even more cheapo actors, typical 80s soundtrack drenched with crappy casio tones and James Earl Jones impatiently waiting for his check and City Limits will have you wishing for Soonya Corp. to take over!! Guest starring (oh, I don't think so) Robbie Benson as the epitome of corporate lifestyle refusing to die in the apocalypse. And Kim Cattrall, one of the dues she had to pay early on. She was great in Big Trouble in Little China, why this Kim?? I still laugh seeing James Earl Jones shooting a shotgun and delivering fine lines like, "Damn boy. I told you to find adventure, not to drag it home." Watch this MST style and it becomes a tad more entertaining.
I'm so mad at this movie. The plot was absent. The acting was awful. The sound was unintelligible. I can't believe that this came out the same year as Back to the Future! Poor James Earl Jones! Poor me! There was a montage in the middle of the thing that referred back to things that were apparently cut out of the film. The costumes were cheesy, and the hair--don't get me started on the hair! You know, I do kind of enjoy a B movie, but I need something to chew on. Some fixed reference point--like a character name or something. I mean, even the credits were inept...they lasted for about 15 minutes and were filmed in irritate-o-rama--a cheesy stop-frame thing. I've had more enjoyable infections.
Though I enjoy the post-apocalypse genre, even I'm hard pressed to mention
anything that I liked in this dung heap. Well...some of the music wasn't
bad, though it got repetitive eventually. The rest of the movie I was
amazed at how lame the action and story were, and how cheap everything
looked. This actually got released to theaters? Amazing. I hope James Earl
Jones and Robby Benson only accepted their (tiny) roles for the
Maybe this is fun to watch in the MST3K version - but it's certainly a chore to watch in the original version.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really had to study this thing to find out the plot, which I think is
this: after total economic collapse, a young man leaves the countryside
(where there is plenty of clean water, food being grown in fields and
chicks willing to have sex in cisterns) to pursue a vague rumor he has
heard of fun-fur-wearing motorcycle gangsters in the city. There, food,
water, electricity are unavailable (so wouldn't the trend of movement
be from city to country?) and a Bad Guy, played unconvincingly by Robby
Benson, who doesn't like the gangs (because of reasons never
explained-- if he wants to rule his world, he needs people to rule, and
they appear to be the only ones left in the city). And there's a rival
gang identical to the main gang, and a comic book culture (I suppose it
was predictive in this) and unsuccessful fights which result in them
regrouping to James Earl Jones's house where hero-guy bonks one of the
motorcycle gang girls. But at the end, the gang returns to the city and
succeeds in defeating Benson (I think) and all is well because they
achieved their goal of...um, well, they never really had a goal, and
one must assume there's still no water or food in the city, so maybe
after the closing credits end, they all die. One can hope. Five times
through to understand this much, and I wouldn't swear to half of it.
However, it only takes one viewing to see this is incomprehensible crap with horrible sound (not that I think we're missing anything by missing some dialog). Some of the actors are phoning it in; some are trying for sincerity, so maybe they had a different shooting script that made them capable of mustering caring or maybe they were on better drugs than the writers, editors, and sound guys.
On the good side, Benson gets one of the oddest screen deaths I've ever seen, and you have to admire the actors for wearing fun furs under hot lights.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"City Limits" is not nearly as badly made as some of the "Bottom 100"
movies described here on IMDb. It's got better sets than something like
"Robot Monster", better production values than anything Coleman Francis
or Bill Rebane ever did, and somehow it attracted some actual acting
talent (both known and unknown).
But the movie commits two unpardonable sins: it's boring and it has a plot that is barely comprehensible and makes no sense (if Robby Benson wants to crush the juvenile motorcycle gangs in the city, who is he going to sell things to afterward? All the adults are dead, remember and nobody else seems to be left in the city?)
I feel especially bad for Robby Benson in this film - his scenes are airless and disconnected from anything else in the film and he sucks in them. (Not his fault - given his lines, blocking, and the cinematography, he could hardly do anything else.)
On top of that, the costumes are lame wannabe affairs, the dialog is under-baked and under-rehearsed - whole scenes go by where not a single actor gives a believable read - and the whole comes off like a dystopian ABC after-school special.
I saw the MST version of this (yes, I can make a fair judgment of a movie by the MST cover, because I enjoy their japes but know they often are unfair in their coverage of a movie so they can be "funnier"), and even with their added entertainment, it was slow going.
You can skip this one...or if it happens to come on cable or something while you're watching, you can fall asleep in front of the set to it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the future, two rival gangs are vying for turf: the Clippers and the
DA's. Lee (Stockwell) leaves his rural life behind and heads to the big
city to be part of the action, and gets embroiled in the gang warfare.
Mainly this includes riding around on modified motorbikes and wearing
silly outfits. But their masks are pretty cool. Even more trouble forms
in the guise of Carver (Benson) who wants to control the city, or
possibly the world, and is willing to use the gangs towards his evil
ends, even pitting them against each other. Will Lee and his buddies
prevail? At the outset of this movie, we're informed that what we're
seeing is "fifteen years from now", but the Vestron VHS box tells us
the movie takes place in the distant future of 2003. But one
character's Masters of the Universe (1987) coat really tells us what
decade we're in. But apparently Steven Seagal's personal style had an
impact, as a lot of people in the future wear fringed jackets. While
City Limits isn't quite in Shredder Orpheus (1990) territory, it is a
bit reminiscent of Wired To Kill (1986). These are not favorable
comparisons, as this movie seems like it could have been directed by
Albert Pyun. When are filmmakers going to learn that annoying
characters doing annoying things does not a movie make, and you cannot
skip character development. Isn't that movie-making 101? This movie
makes no sense, and it's hard to imagine anyone, whilst making it,
thinking it was a good idea, much less NOT a total waste of everyone's
time, but here you go. It's total shelf-filler tailor made for the
expanding video store market in the 80's. It seems only the Italians
can make entertaining post-apocalyptic movies. Basketball fans may get
a kick out of the fact that one of the roving street gangs in this
movie are called the Clippers, but it falls on deaf ears for mostly
everyone else, including us. Also Robby Benson does what we call a
"sit-down" role, where a character never moves from his seat.
Why did James Earl Jones agree to be in this? Sure, this movie may be boring, pointless and adds nothing new whatsoever to the post-apocalyptic genre, but the filmmakers were shrewd enough to realize Jones has a commanding voice, so they had him narrate this slog. Seeing as how it was the 80's, and JEJ wears this brown fur coat in the movie, and how he's the narrator of course, only one thing comes to mind: Teddy Ruxpin. But this movie is an insult to Mr. Ruxpin as whoever wrote the cassette that was placed in James Earl Jones did a horrible job. Only Jones' professionalism prevails.
It's easy to see why MST3K chose to do this movie. It's just weak on pretty much every level.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I only watched this film on MST3K so I could bare watching the whole
thing, but watching it on that show didn't take my attention away from
the film itself. I could still notice the sadness and the general
rubbish of the movie. It looked more like a music video for a 80s rock
band than a actual movie.
There's a lot of bad points to this, such as the acting. It was boring, plain and it didn't make me react at all, just made me want to go to sleep more than anything. Also the acting of the mentally handicapped character was pretty unconvincing as well, and slightly offensive. I mean he was portrayed as somewhat of an idiot and someone who doesn't get anything, even the part when he was eating the dog food was completely wrong for the character he was supposed to play. It's not how it works and how the character should've been portrayed. I don't mean to make out that this movie is rubbish just because of this, it's rubbish for many reasons.
The action was like watching paint dry, I just couldn't get into it because it was just so corn. The fighting scenes for one was very slow, it seemed like they were both scared of injuring each other when they were fighting, even though they were wearing god knows what inches thick. It's all staged of course, but you have to make it seem like it isn't, which wasn't very well pulled off here, that along with the other forms of action within this movie such as the bike riding and carnage etc.
The only thing that was least unbearable about this movie was the theme. I mean an apocalyptic world is a good setting for a movie I've found with watching others such as Children of Men or The Matrix, but the difference between those movies and this one, is that they were very well written and everything about them was great and provoked the right reactions out of you when you watched them. But this, the only reason I didn't fall into a trance-like state was the fact I was watching it on MST3K, which is where it is only worth watching.
In short, boring, corny and generally you'd just rather go to sleep than watch it.
Gee, are we done with the high points already? This is for the people who watched Mad Max and said, "this is nice, but why can't the gangs wear dumb plastic masks, have even less personality, find their savior in John Stockwell, and be weak enough to be ruled by Robby Benson? Add in a script by Don Keith Opper(Critters) and you start to realize why many people consider the eighties to be a horrible decade for cinema. James Earl Jones(Conan the Barbarian, The Star Wars Trilogy), Rae Dawn Chong(The Color Purple, The Principal), John Diehl(A Time to Kill, Stripes) deserve better; not that anyone deserves this movie. This is like Battlefield Earth lite without aliens. That is the kindest thing I can muster. Tony Plana(Three Amigos!) and Jennifer Balgobin(Repo Man) appear in small roles. In my opinion Jennifer could probably destroy John Stockwell in a fight. Less discriminating video heads may be pleased, but I find this movie dull and more than a little pointless. Put this together with Porky's and you have a full frontal shot of Kim Cattral(rejoice or recoil as needed.)
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