Original Title:


2019: Dopo la caduta di New York






Alternative title(s): 2019: After the Fall of New York - International title

Fireflash: Der Tag nach dem Ende (Fireflash: The Day After the End)
German video title


Year of Release: 1983

Duration: 91 Minutes

Country of Origin: Italy/France

Tagline(s):
In the year 2019 the Future Depends on One Man. - US poster

Reviewed Version: UK pre-certificate VHS

Review:

  By Michael Petch
5th March 07
So what will the world be like in 2019? The movies surprisingly have quite a lot to say on the subject and that particular year. Akira (1988) shows a technologically advanced civilization that suffers from violence. Soylent Green (1973) shows a society overrun with an oversized population and lack of food. Blade Runner (1982) shows a world dying, the skies permanently blackened and the majority of people moving to other planets. As per usual, the predictions are rather grim, and 2019: After the Fall of New York, in terms of prediction, is probably the grimmest of them all.

Before I get started on the review, I really have to get this bit out of the way. Here's the description of the movie that you will find on the UK pal VHS tape. This was copied onto later VHS releases, too.



Whoever wrote this had obviously not seen the film, or had been watching with both eyes closed. Here's a more precise version cutting out all the complete nonsense (although I think the protective bubble secret as mentioned above sounds rather good).


Right, that’s been nagging me for ages, so it’s good to get it out of the way. Moving on...

There's a lot to be said about this film. I actually haven't heard the rare DVD commentary on the original DVD release and there isn’t much information about this (or, in fact, any of the Italian PA’s out there) so I don't know much about the making of the film, but when you see it you will know that this is obviously the pinnacle of Italian sci-fi rip-off cinema. This movie is crammed full of all the best bits they learnt from the previous year or two of individually copying successful mainstream sci-fi movies. Although Escape From New York seems to be the main basis of the film, there's plenty of action ripped from other movies such as Mad Max II, Planet of the Apes and even Star Wars. So sit back, relax, and whatever you do, don’t expect anything serious. It’s a rollercoaster ride of action filled with crazy costumes, ridiculous characters, wasteland settings, synthesized music and woefully out-of-synch dubbing.

The main character is called Parsifal and is played by Michael Sopkiw. Despite the American posters for the movie really pushing Sopkiw as the next big thing, he only went on to star in three more films. I find this a bit surprising because he's actually pretty good compared with most PA heroes. The reason I start the story with his name is because, as is typical with Italian PA’s it's sometimes hard to pick up names throughout the film. For some reason the characters refuse to make things too easy for us. In fact, I only remember two names directly from the movie, without having to check IMDB (Ratchet and Shorty).

The film starts off with a few shots of the desolate model of New York at night time. An old man watches the city from a distance and plays sorrowful synthesized music through his trumpet. Every extra who isn’t important to the story or unique in some way (midget/monkey man) has at least one big radiation scar on their face somewhere. Trumpet Man is no different. Cue the voiceover. As we know, voiceovers at the beginning of PA’s are essential. Here’s the facts: The war was 20 years ago (so 1999) and there hasn’t been any children born for 15 years. The Eurax won the war and the Pan-American Confederacy went into hiding. The Eurax are happily wiping out all the survivors of the war, experimenting on the healthy ones and brutally murdering anybody else. To reinforce this we get to see the Eurax on one of their raids, dressed in black like Darth Vader wannabe’s on horseback and with flamethrowers. The pitiful families living in the ruined city soon get annihilated by the silly laser sound effects.



Meanwhile, far away from the city in the desert, people are having much more fun. All the people (mostly leathered Goths) are watching and betting on two cars fighting to the death! A Death Race type show has set itself up in an old quarry (where else!) where two beefed-up post-apocalyptic vehicles with weapons are fighting to the death. Parsifal (Michael Sopkiw) is in one vehicle while a whole team is in the other. No fair! After much bumping and grinding, Parsifal’s vehicle is defeated and shoved off the side of a cliff. Luckily, he managed to get out just in time and when the other men get out of their car a fight is soon won by Parsifal. After collecting his prizes (including a woman!) from the top-hat wearing circus man and his robot clown (madness) he heads off into the wasteland on a beefed-up tricycle.





Check out these loons

While driving along, they pass the remains of some cyborgs. It’s explained that the cyborgs were no good and are no longer in use. Moments later some kind of hovercraft ship appears and the pilots demand that Parsifal come with them. Parsifal refuses and they fly off. Soon enough they bump into a group with green foaming mouths. Drinking radioactive water is Parsifal’s diagnosis and a quick laser beam to the chest puts them out of their misery (he has a license to kill apparently). See, he’s a good guy, and to prove it he sets the woman free. The woman rides off on one of the dead groups' horses and Parsifal is just about to leave when he's knocked out cold with a big green stun gun fired by the hovercraft people. Now we are off to Alaska, or at least a poor model of it.




After an establishing shot of a model base on a frozen tundra in Alaska, we are soon whisked inside to meet the leader of the Pan-American Confederacy (Edmund Purdom, Endgame). The old guy seems a bit ill. He knows Parsifal and knows that of course he's the only man capable of completing the mission. Mission you say? That’s right! It seems there's a fertile woman still alive in New York. The Confederacy want to harvest the woman’s 500 eggs (nobody ever asks whether she has any choice in this) on their trip to another planet to start a whole new world. Of course Parsifal’s prize for bringing back the woman is a one-way ticket on the one and only spaceship. Ratchet, a one-eyed hard man (Romano Puppo, Bronx Warrior 2) and Bronx, another hard man this time with a metal claw (Paolo Maria Scalondro) are teamed up with Parsifal to complete the mission. Parsifal is typically hesitant but soon enough they are off.


mega future dandruff

The trio rides through the desert on motorbikes and eventually pulls up on the outskirts of the city. The Trumpet Man is still playing his synthesized music. “Do you see that? They baked the big apple!” comments the tramp. He’s pretty surprised that anybody would want to break into the city, but helpfully points out some tunnels that should get the group in. Cue a lot of footage down in a fast-flowing sewer infested with rats. At one point Ratchet can’t resist squeezing one of the poor rats to death, just to prove his strength/manliness.



"What do you mean it's not a real trumpet?"

Finally, they break into the city to find giggling tramps pouring boiling oil on them, then just to get warmed up they have a fight with a leather-clad gang in a bus junkyard. After some traipsing around the city of rubble and dodging Eurax troops they bump into a gang of needle people; tramps and mutated survivors who are out hunting for rats with their litter pickers. The trio tries to stay out of the way, but when the needle people start chasing a dwarf and decide to kill him, Parsifal realizes that it’s his duty to save this defenseless little guy. The trio step in, the dwarf escapes and after a brief fight with the bearded boss of the Needle People (Al Yamanouchi from  2020 Texas Gladiators and Endgame) who the credits call Rat Eater King, they are soon outnumbered and taken hostage.





The tramps fight back with boiling oil.


Parsifal has his eye on a good-looking blond woman who seems extremely out of place in the Needle People's gang. Giara (Valentine Monnier) is your typical blonde in distress who has some fighting spirit but ultimately needs Parsifal to help her out. The three are all tied up, and just when the Rat Eater King is portioning out the women to his men for the night, the Eurax storm the area and start killing. In all the confusion Ratchet manages to escape and slips off into the darkness. Giara, Parsifal and Bronx all stand out as uncontaminated, so the Eurax commander takes them all back to their base.


The Eurax commander (Serge Feuillard, a fanatical baldy with a love of Picasso, starts off by questioning Bronx about his mission. Fantastically, Bronx decides to poke out the commander's eyes. Ouch! Meanwhile, Parsifal is strung out on a torture table, like a futuristic version of the rack. As the torture doesn’t seem to be working, the Eurax (Eurax, Euracs? Even the video boxes can't decide) decide to send in their second-in-command with an alternative technique. Enter Officer Ania (Anna Kanakis from The New Barbarians) who decides to kiss the information out of Parsifal. And, low and behold the technique works. He tells her that they are there to find the last fertile woman on earth. The thing is, Parsifal tells her that Giara is the fertile woman. He's let loose and goes to point Giara out to Ania from the crowd of prisoners (not very nice or heroic of him). Ania sends poor Giara off for "tests" and Parsifal manages to escape. At the same time, Bronx is being tortured on the stretch machine as punishment for taking the commander's eyes, with his limbs pulled in all kinds of painful-looking ways. 



Good work Bronx!



Futuristic tourture techniques. 


Soon enough Parsifal bursts in and rescues him, although he suffers a knife in the leg from one of the guards. Finally, Parsifal decides that he needs to save Giara too, forgetting about all the less good-looking prisoners. For a while the three are being chased through a large factory. Bronx, who is still suffering from his torture, elects to stand his ground and give Parsifal and Giara time to escape. Soon Bronx is shot, and then finished off by Ania.



Bronx dies an honerable death

Just when it looks like they have escaped, they arrive outside to find a big group of Eurax waiting for them. Luckily, at this point Ratchet turns up again from wherever he was hiding and helps them fight off the troops. Soon they are over the hedge and heading for the sewer – The Eurax are still chasing but the Dwarf, named Shorty “What else?” turns up and helps out. Soon enough they are hiding below the ruins of the UN building with Shorty and his friends.

After a good sleep they wake up and Shorty tells them just what they all wanted to hear. He knows where the real fertile woman is! Of course the Eurax haven’t given in yet, either. The commander is busy getting replacement eyeballs and Ania is getting angry. They mention that they have eight submarines on patrol watching for the group's escape. Of course, we never see these submarines but maybe that’s why the description on the back of the box mentions one (see above). Nowhere is safe in the city and soon the Eurax find Shorty’s hideout. The Eurax have a new tool now. They pump in a high frequency noise that causes everybody to bend over in pain holding their ears. Ratchet thinks quickly and passes around candle wax to Shorty, Parsifal and Giara to put in their ears. They escape, but Shorty’s people are killed.


Shorty's place ain't exactly the Ritz

Still being chased by the Eurax they soon bump into Big Ape (George Eastman from The New Barbarians, Bronx Warriors and Endgame) and his crowd of hairy men, who are all at various staged of devolution, with a couple looking like they came straight from the set of Planet of the Apes. Big Ape looks like a reject from a pirate film, covered in hair, but George Eastman plays him quite well. Don’t expect any kind of explanation for this motley bunch, simply because there isn’t one. Parsifal’s group persuades Big Ape that the fertile woman exists. Big Ape always wanted to plant his seed so they tentatively join forces. Later, while sitting round the camp fire, Big Apes right hand man decides he wants Giara. Parsifal fights the guy and soon sends him running scared. Giara is obviously thankful and they start to kiss.



George's agent told him it was a pirate flick.

The next morning they head off to find the woman. Big Ape strangely leaves all his men behind. Later he proves his strength by moving a big metal-looking piece of polystyrene that's in their way. I think Ratchet was a little jealous, being the previous resident strong man. It turns out that the fertile woman is the daughter of a professor who has frozen her for the future in his cave (where else?). Shorty is the professor’s friend. Unfortunately, when they get there the big metal door is locked and the professor is not responding. They blow up the door with some handy dynamite and find the professor dead. Probably of old age but who knows. The woman is still alive and asleep, wearing a semi-see-through plastic gown. What an odd way for a father to dress his daughter (although it's pretty weird that he froze her in the first place). But now how to escape from the city?





Big Ape spots his opportunity....

Luckily, the professor had built his lair right next to the main tunnel out of the city, and just as lucky, Shorty knows all about it. There's just a thin wall between them and the roadway out. Any more luck? Yep, there's a fully-fueled vehicle ready to go. Unfortunately, it seems that the Eurax defenses along the road are well-documented, so they need armor for the car. Shorty heads off to a junk yard with Parsifal and Ratchet, stupidly leaving Big Ape and Giara to guard the woman. Of course Big Ape didn’t get his name just for being a bit hairy. He knocks out Giara and heads to the fertile woman to presumably impregnate the poor defenseless girl. At the junkyard they find some good sheets of metal but those pesky Eurax turn up again. This time it’s Shorty who decides to distract the Eurax and let Parsifal and Ratchet escape with the goods. The Eurax catch Shorty who dutifully commits suicide on some spikes before they get any information from him. What a hero (gave himself for the survival of the human race) /idiot (could have at least tried to run away and get them to follow).





RIP Shorty

They arrive back at the cave and nothing seems wrong. Giara has recovered and Big Ape seems pleased with himself. Soon enough they beef up the car, load up and head off. Parsifal knows that Big Ape has done something, but he claims they need all the friends they can get.

The escape scene now plays out just like a computer game. After easily making it past a check point they head into the tunnel. The tunnel starts off easy but slowly gets more difficult as they go on. First up are mines, luckily they glow and there's enough space to drive around them. Then more mines and troops. A thrown sword results in some troop beheading. Next is more mines troops and a big, big laser gun. Unfortunately for the Eurax, their big laser gun for stopping vehicles is foiled by the two centimeters of metal tied to the bonnet. A bit of driving on the curved wall and they are almost through. At the exit of the tunnel is some kind of laser that bizarrely penetrates the vehicle and fries Big Ape, leaving just his sizzling skeleton. Strangely, there's no damage anywhere else. Finally they are out, rolling through the desert.


Nice modification!






How does the lazer fry only Big Ape?

Back in the Eurax headquarters, the boss if finally finishing his new eyes treatment. He complains that they escaped so Ania shoots him and takes command.

Now that Parsifal, Ratchet, Giara and the frozen woman have escaped, it's time to call the Pan-American Confederacy to come and pick them up, and time for one final twist. For no good reason, Ratchet decides it's time to kill Parsifal! It turns out that Ratchet is a Cyborg, something Parsifal claims to have realized earlier (yeah, whatever). Why Ratchet would want to kill him I don’t know. Maybe I missed something. Unfortunately, during the fight Giara is mortally wounded. Parsifal wins and Giara, with her dying breath, persuades him that humanity is worth saving.




Eventually, Parsifal and the woman arrive in Alaska. The commander thanks him, although he doesn’t look so happy. It seems the commander is dying and is letting Parsifal have his seat. He lied that there was a seat safe for him, but the commamder realised that the force of the take-off would finish him off. As the huge model rocket launches (and shows very little of thses forces that the commanders frail body couldn't stand), Parsifal is asked to explain to the woman what has happened, as she's finally being woken up. As her eyes open and their gazes meet we cut to the credits. What he said we shall never know, but I would not like to be in her shoes. Maybe it was something like this: “You were raped by Ape Man and we want to take all of your eggs. We expect you to be pregnant repeatedly for the rest of your life. By the way the Earth is in ruins and we are off to another planet.” Probably something like that, poor woman.



"Hi, we are off to another planet!"


"Oh no a little green man!"


Final Thoughts:

OK so the acting is mostly poor, the dubbing is way out of synch, the plot is crazy and the sound effects silly, but it's great fun all the way through. It never gets boring and despite all the copying of other films there still seems to be some original and inventive ideas present. Enjoy the action, enjoy the cast of PA regulars and enjoy the ridiculousness of it all. “Do you see that? They baked the Big Apple!”

Recipe for 2019:

Take the plot of Escape from New York as your base, spread a generous amount of The New Barbarians and top with a portion of Bronx Warriors. Add a touch of Planet of the Apes for taste. Finally garnish with lashings of Anna Kanakis, Al Yamanouchi and George Eastman. Serve hot with a few beers.

Alternative Versions: None known, although early releases may have some gore edited out.

Connections With Other PA's:

Most of the cast and crew worked on other PA's before and after this movie, including Endgame, The New Barbarians, Bronx Warriors and more. I normally go through the entire crew to find minor connections, but here there are so many it would take forever. Check out IMDB for Cast and Crew info.

The leader of the Eurax (the bad guys) has a large Picasso mural in his office which also briefly features in Children of Men (2006). Both films feature the plot of one fertile woman surviving in a childless society.

Critic's reactions: N/A

Regular Movie Goers Reaction:

Most people would laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but many would be entertained.

For the PA Collector:

The original PAL EIV cover is superb and in my mind highly coveted. It fits nicely with the Endgame release with the same gold outline. Keep an eye out for the DVD with extra features, specifically the one that has a audio commentary. This was cut from later releases, supposedly due to some libelous comments! An important PA for your collection and an enjoyable film. Essential.

Countries Released:

Worldwide.

DVD Release Info:

Released in the UK on a standard region 0 DVD, Poundland poor quality transfer. An almost perfect transfer version is available from the US with some extras, and a rare earlier version includes a commentary track that was later removed due to supposedly libelous content!

Actual Budget/Guessed Budget: I'm guessing this was one of the more expensive Italian PA's. They even released a proper cinema poster in the US! 1 to 2 million dollars is my guess.

Our Score:

 8 out of 10

Media

 



UK Pal VHS pre-cert big box (Click to enlarge)

     
UK Pal VHS in cardboard slipcase (Click to enlarge Front / Back)


UK Region 0 DVD (another 23rd Century basic release)


US VHS




US Region 1 DVD (with some extras)


Unknown VHS

Finnish VHS


Unknown VHS


The popular triple feature US DVD release


German DVD packaged with The New Barbarians


US Cinema release


German poster


Alternate German poster


Unknown Variant


Italian poster


Italian VHS


French poster


Unknown poster


Another unknown poster

Trailer:   Trailer:

 Clip 1:

 Clip 2:


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