The year is 2019, twenty years after the world war that caused nuclear bombs to rain down all over the planet, destroying the major cities including New York. As if that wasn't bad enough, the fertility rate has been utterly devastated, meaning that no child has been born for fifteen years although there are rumours that somewhere in the ruins of New York the last female able to have children is still alive. Unfortunately, the city is ruled over by fascists who exploit the survivors in their attempts to find a cure for the radiation's effects... but could adventurer Parsifal (Michael Sopkiw) strike a note of hope?
As director and co-screenwriter Sergio Martino readily admits, Italian exploitation movies of which this was an example were very much indebted to American influences, and so it was that here we had yet another science fiction action movie inspired by John Carpenter's Escape from New York. That said, there was an Australian hit, Mad Max 2, that held thrall over the post-apocalypse genre as well, so with this there are souped up cars and bikes to go along with the the windswept (and that's just his hair) hero's endeavours to capture the precious woman.
As ordered to by the President (Edmund Purdom), no less, who is head of the Pan American Confederacy, the rivals of the Euracs who have New York in their grip. We first meet Parsifal at what is essentially a demolition derby where the object is to kill your opponent and at the point where it seems as if he is beaten, what do you know, he manages to fight back and win himself a woman calling herself Flower (Siriana Hernadez) who he sets free in a magnanimous gesture designed to illustrate to us what a decent chap he really is.
But soon he has been kidnapped and taken to see the Pres, who gives him his mission and two he-men to assist, one very strong and the other with a metal claw for a hand. After about thirty seconds' riding their motorbikes through the desert they are at New York and contemplating their next move, which turns out to be entering the city via the sewers. Once they've made it past the borders, they meet up with a variety of gangs who exist to make life difficult for the the Euracs, but it's not long before they've been captured by the bad guys who are taking an interest in their mission.
Everyone comes across as very self-serving in After the Fall of New York, even Parsifal has his moments of selfishness, but he's caught between characters who only want to find Miss Fertility 2019 to further their own bloodline, including a certain Big Ape, leader of a Planet of the Apes-inspired gang and essayed by... George Eastman! It was only a matter of time before he appeared. It's tempting to think that a viewing of this fired the imagination of P.D. James, or at least the adapters of her book Children of Men, but actually it goes to show you how the same idea can fly off in two directions. Not especially slick this may be, but it provides a solid hour and a half of action if nothing else, along with the usual bemusing oddities inherent in this strain of movies. What's wrong with being a cyborg, for example? That guy was really helpful! Music by Guido De Angelis and Maurizio De Angelis.