HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  New Gladiators, The Sports Night
Year: 1984
Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: Jared Martin, Fred Williamson, Howard Ross, Eleonora Brigliadori, Cosimo Cinieri, Claudio Cassinelli, Valeria Cavalli, Donald O'Brien, Penny Brown, Al Cliver, Mario Novelli, Hal Yamanouchi
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the future, and increasingly the citizenry are distracted from the totalitarian government by the television they watch, which takes the form of violent and/or humiliating programming to channel the population's bloodlust. There are now two separate stations producing this, both bitter rivals and seeking to one-up the other if they can, one broadcasting a game show where contestants undergo horrible tortures, but not in real life, only in their minds as the audience see their thoughts: get through that and you win a prize. The other competition is Killbike, a true gladiatorial combat all the way from Rome...

Director Lucio Fulci isn't best known for his science fiction, but he did dabble in a variety of genres as well as the horrors and thrillers he was most celebrated for, making The New Gladiators his rare try at the sort of post-apocalyptic sci-fi that many Italian studios churned out during the eighties, never ones to miss a bandwagon. Actually, this wasn't so much post-apocalypse (there is a society here, it's just seriously decadent) as it was your basic dystopia where human rights have been torn up and thrown away for the sake of keeping the public docile and unquestioning, with the secret police on hand if necessary.

Which made this yet another of those deadly game show entries in the genre, well before The Hunger Games but not long after Rollerball, The Running Man (film version) not far off over the horizon. That said, there wasn't that much emphasis on scoring points, as the best the participants can do here is survive and besides, the game itself doesn't really get into action until the last half hour, leaving a long build-up where the extent of the government's corruption is revealed to our hero. He being Drake (Jared Martin), a Killbike champion who is framed for killing the men who murdered his wife and must take part in the latest bloodsport the TV stations have devised as a result.

As with many movies of this exploitative stripe, they can look better now than they did at the time thanks to the frankly wacky way they deport themselves, and in this case Fulci certainly delivered. There are those who have observed he may have been out of his comfort zone when he tried out the futuristic mayhem that many of his fellow filmmakers were reaping the benefits of, and point to this and Conquest as his most embarrassing works, made within months of each other. But of course, that makes them a more mouthwatering prospect for aficionados who relish the more outrageous styles of Italian movies, and while this was a shade too dour there was enough to entertain.

Mostly in overemphatic methods as Drake two-fistedly barges his way through various tests to prove himself worthy of the competition, including one where chief baddie (or so we think) Howard Ross yells at him to pick up a gun in spite of Drake's protests that he's not that kind of person. Circumstances will make him that sort of person, but his rivals on the show have no such qualms, numbering among them Fred Williamson who indulges in much manly exertion until oddly he starts keeping his motorbike helmet on and then disappears altogether, which may make you wonder exactly how much filming The Hammer did on this movie in the first place. Martin would be most famous for appearing on supersoap Dallas - unless you were into cult TV, which would have you remembering cancelled seventies weirdness Fantastic Journey, where he took a lead role. Anyway, here it was largely the stuntmen who were the stars, flinging themselves around on bikes for our pleasure - eventually. Stupid, but watchably so. Music by Riz Ortolani.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1736 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Lucio Fulci  (1927 - 1996)

Italian director whose long career could best be described as patchy, but who was also capable of turning in striking work in the variety of genres he worked in, most notably horror. After working for several years as a screenwriter, he made his debut in 1959 with the comedy The Thieves. Various westerns, musicals and comedies followed, before Fulci courted controversy in his homeland with Beatrice Cenci, a searing attack on the Catholic church.

The 70s and early 80s were marked by slick, hard-hitting thrillers like A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, Don't Torture a Duckling and The Smuggler, while Fulci scored his biggest international success in 1979 with the gruesome Zombie Flesh Eaters. Manhattan Baby, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery were atmospheric, bloody slices of Gothic horror, and The New York Ripper set a new standard in misogynistic violence. Fulci's last notable film was the truly unique A Cat in the Brain in 1990, a semi-autobiographical, relentlessly gory comedy in which he also starred. Died in 1996 from a diabetic fit after several years of ill-health.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: