The place is North America, what used to be the United States, a thousand years or so after the nuclear war that wiped out civilisation. Now what remains of humanity is ruled by the females, known as Frals, who divide the men into either those who can work for them doing physical tasks to save the women the bother, or into breeding stock to ensure their numbers are numerous. The males must live under this yoke of oppression since they do not know any better, but for Korvis (Chuck Wagner) an opportunity arises for he and his best friend Gruss (William Wallace); they sieze it and are soon escaping into the wilderness to strike out on their own. Yet what they find is not something they expected – a link to the past.
In the documentary film Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, this film is mentioned as one of their productions, and to make clear what one of the stars, Laurene Landon, thought of both the movie and the producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, she takes her sole existing VHS copy of America 3000 and sets fire to it. She may have had a rotten time on this, but given the cachet Cannon mustered some decades after their heyday, was there anything for the aficionado to appreciate? Truth was, it was a chore to sit through as well, but could the blame be placed at the door of director David Englebach, who also wrote the script? After all, he also wrote Over the Top, and complained about the results of that.
It did appear as if there had been some post-production tinkering, no matter how bad the task of making the movie had been, most blatantly in the voiceover delivered by Wallace as if he were narrating an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard and not some post-apocalyptic epic. There was one reason for that: Engelbach had seen to it that his Mad Max 2 rip-off should be more authentic, and had his cast deliver their lines in “futuristic” slang – “Hot scan what I say!” – that more often than not left the plot incomprehensible. Not that Gruss’s observations were much assistance, as he lapsed into this gobbledegook as well, but from what you could discern it was your basic boys against girls science fiction scenario as seen most popularly in the nineteen-fifties.
So the feminists – sorry, the Frals were the baddies, and what they needed to see the light and live in harmony with the men in charge was a damn good rogering, as we see when Automan himself seduces the leader of the ladies (Landon) in his recently discovered boudoir bunker. How he gets there is quite a story, being shot with an arrow that misses his heart and hits his children’s picture book (which is what he learned to talk from) and falling about fifty feet into a hole, survives without a scratch, then investigates to find the underground control room of the President of the United States, which is the greatest thing a man could aspire to be, so naturally he sets himself up in that position by donning a gold lame anti-radiation suit which makes his voice echo when he puts on the helmet.
It was that kind of movie, shot in a drab-looking Israeli desert where Golan and Globus used to make Westerns before science fiction began to dominate the low budget field, though enlivened, if that was the word, by the presence of a Bigfoot who periodically showed up to goof off, reminiscent of the out of nowhere creature on the Six Million Dollar Man television show, yet if anything even less explicable. Throw in Korvis’ discovery of a (durable) ghetto blaster which he plays generic hair metal on, and this was evidently of the opinion the eighties were the finest decade, despite – or maybe because of – its nuclear Armageddon since at least that meant the Russkies had lost, though there remained a little work to do in putting the women in their place. It was this sort of short-sighted regard for current events that defined America 3000, that and the frequent lapses into explosion-filled action sequences which emulated, but didn’t better, plenty of other similar would-be moneyspinners of the day. The fact remained it was terminally stupid and undermined by a general, unconvincing air of “Er, ha ha, you didn’t think we were serious, did you?!”, the ideal disclaimer when things go wrong. Music by Tony Berg.