It is the far future, and civilisation has broken down as the ozone layer broke up and the world turned to a desert, with two things the most valuable around: fuel and water. There are still police patrols of a sort, and one such car is travelling along the dusty highways ignoring their control room's advice to return when they spot an abandoned car and caravan by the side of the road. Stopping to investigate, they discover the skeletal bodies of the couple who patently ran out of water and expired, but just as the cops are pondering their next move, a heavily armoured car appears from nowhere and tries to run them down. It is being driven by Alien (Robert Iannucci), a scavenger who takes advantage of every situation...
George Miller had a lot to answer for, as in the wake of 1981's Mad Max 2 with its tense mix of post-apocalyptic action and brutality, along with a sprinkling of dark humour should you care to seek it out, there were a host of imitators from all corners of the globe. The Italians especially were keen to cash in on this ingenious combination as it seemed precisely what the industry needed, science fiction with an action movie twist, but the problem there was they didn't often know quite what to do with this great new idea except make copies of it, which brings us to their The Exterminators of the Year 3000, or Il giustiziere della strada to give it the original title. Casting a Calvin Klein model in his sole starring role, it forged ahead with the sincerest form of flattery.
It was difficult to argue with some of this at least, mostly the stunts which if not as plentiful or in many cases daring as the Miller films did present a few instances of that feeling someone could get killed pulling these. So explosions went off of course, and vehicles were sent hurtling nose over tail, and stuntmen fell off their motorbikes on purpose, all the goodies you wanted from those days before CGI began to encroach on the business of throwing yourself about for the camera. But how did this fit in with the plot? The script was reluctant to allow Alien either carte blanche to ride roughshod over all and sundry for an hour and a half, nor be allowed to continue without a shot at redemption, therefore before long a new character was introduced.
We cut to a community which is in dire need of water, and they have sent out one man to fetch some but he has failed, leaving his young son Tommy (Luca Vennatini, son of Vennatino Venantini, who also appeared in this) to face the music. That's why when a fresh expedition is dispatched, he and his pet hamster (a creature who received a surprisingly generous amount of screen time, indicating the director's love of small furry animals) stowaway in the back of the water tanker and reveal themselves only when Giorgio the rodent (see - he even has a name) squeaks a tad loudly, that in spite of hamsters being rather quiet beasts, so perhaps he knew something we did not. Anyway, before long the truck has been stopped by the local gang of ruffians.
These are led by the curious Crazy Bull (regular, beefy heavy Fernando Bilbao) who in the English language dub comes across as a particularly pretentious chap given to mangling archaic phrases like "Once more unto the breach, you mother grabbers!" In fact the strongest language you'll hear is "shit" occasionally, as if director Giuliano Carnimeo was keen to keep the family audience for post-apocalypse adventure in mind, in spite of the degree of violence involved. True, the Mad Max influence was far more violent, but we still had characters getting stabbed, shot and otherwise maimed, so you could chalk it up to the Italians' downright odd approach to their genre formula which could see goofy comedy rubbing up against enthusiastic bloodshed without a care in the world, as long as they got the reaction they wanted and the box office tills ringing. Later a woman called Trash (Alicia Moro) shows up as antagonistic love interest once Alien and Tommy team up, but the way it's wrapped up in the cheesiest deus ex machina possible was rather charming. Terrible music by Detto Mariano.