Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 14 - We're immobilised!

Atlantis Interceptors (1983)
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Format: DVD (Part of First Look's 5-disk Grindhouse Experience Vol 2 box set)

In the past couple of years I've seen exactly two movies that feature a Crystal Skull - the newest entry in the Indiana Jones series and this one. One was a steaming pile of crap, the other... was Atlantis Interceptors! And it was awesome!

This is exactly the kind of flick that this blog was made for. It's cheap, derivative, unrealistic, but so much fun!

Italian director Ruggero Deodato (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, JUNGLE HOLOCAUST) takes a break from entrails and flesh-munching to helm this action flick, which has scifi thrown in for good measure.

A pair of mercenaries for hire - Mike Ross (Ryan O'Neal lookalike Christopher Connelly, 1990: BRONX WARRIORS) and Washington (Tony King, SHAFT) are cruising in their boat when they end up at a deep sea oil rig. It's being used by scientists who have discovered an Incan-looking relic on the bottom of the sea and are trying to refloat a sunken Russian submarine.

When they do refloat it, the weather goes nuts and a mysterious island comes to the surface as well, completely covered in a see-through dome. Seeking refuge on another nearby island with some of the scientists - including beautiful Gioia Scola (CONQUEST) and Ivan Rassimov (SHOCK, THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER) - they find it has been trashed by a gang of misfits who look like extras from THE ROAD WARRIOR.

Mike, Washington and friends engage in a lengthy firefight against the gang. Machine guns, explosions, flamethrowers, bad guys dying via spectacular dives (and strange echoey screams) - it's balls to the wall action!

The bad guys (who turn out to be from Atlantis - hence the movie title) kidnap Scola and our heroes go to her rescue, commandeering first a bus (see gang members leaping from a helicopter onto the roof of the bus!), then a helicopter.

The island offers more awesomeness, including a cameo from Michelle Soavi (when he was just an actor, prior to directing the likes of STAGEFRIGHT and CEMETERY MAN) and statues that shoot lasers out their eyes. We also get a humorous moment when our heroes come under the influence of the Atlanteans and Washington, leaning close to Mike, says: "Can't move, we're immobilised!"). Did I mention statues that shoot lasers out of their eyes?

The climax doesn't make much sense but is satisfactory enough.

Oh right! At the start to this review I mentioned a Crystal Skull. The leader of the Atlantean gang wears a clear plastic skull mask and is credited as Crystal Skull. His gang is just awesome - their costumes and vehicles are straight out of MAD MAX, BRONX WARRIORS etc and, like all good b-movie bad guys, they jump out and make a lot of noise when attacking, rather than just shooting, giving the good guys time to react.

If you're any kind of fan of 70s/80s Italian scifi action, or just b-movies in general, seek out Atlantis Interceptors. You won't be disappointed.

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