Original Title:

Endgame - Bronx Lotta Finale






Alternative Title(s):

Endgame: gioco finale (Italy - 'Endgame: final game')
I Mutanti (Unknown Italian version - 'the mutants')
Le Gladiateur Du Futur (France - 'The gladiator of the future')
Bronx Lutte Finale (Unknown French version - 'Bronx final fight')
Endgame: Bronx Lucha Final (Spain)
Endgame: Das Letzte Spiel Mit Dem Tod (Germany - 'Endgame: the last play with death')
Duelos Mortais (Brazil - 'Mortal duels')
Koncowa rozgrywka (Poland)
Shannon - taistelija (Finland - 'Shannon - survivor'?)

Year of Release:

1983

Duration:

98 minutes

Country of Origin:

Italy

Tagline(s):

A future world where violence explodes in duels to the death - Pal VHS
A futuristic film of survival - Pal VHS
For an "Endgame" Champion in the year 2025, there's only one way to live. Dangerously
 - US VHS

Reviewed Version Rating:

UK Pal VHS (Pre-certificate)


Review:

      By Michael Petch
17th March 07
To be honest I’m having trouble starting this review. What should I talk about?

How about the hero Al Cliver and the fact he was in 2020: Texas Gladiators just before this? The fact that he looks just like Mark Hamill in Slipstream and the fact that he seems to have very few acting emotions?

How about talking about all the other actors that were in other PA’s before and after, PA stalwarts such as George Eastman (The New Barbarians, 2019 After the Fall of New York, Bronx Warriors), Al Yamanouchi (2020: Texas Gladiators and 2019) and Gordon Mitchell (Rush and She)?

Maybe the fact that half the actors and crew (including leading lady Laura Gemser) were serial soft-core sex flick stars/producers?

Maybe I should start with some jokes about the silly game show that starts the movie and how post-apocalyptic TV just isn’t what it used to be?

How about the story that director Joe D’Amato chose this as his favorite film of the hundreds (literally) of others (mostly porn) films he has made?

What about the crime that it isn’t available on DVD?

No, I think I will just get on with the review. That would all be too much hard work.

Boom! See that? It’s a nuclear bomb going off. No voiceover, no text. No silly explanation of what’s going on. If you don’t recognize the mushroom then this is not a film for you! Actually, wait just a second. I may have seen a million post-apocalyptic films but I'm so used to silly voiceovers that I kind of feel like it's missing here.

Luckily, it’s not long before a TV is heard in the background, and the commentator gives us all the juicy details.

It’s 2025 and a few million people struggle on after the nuclear war. The city (not sure which) is run by some maniacal generals who’s Darth Vader wannabe men keep the city under a veil of terror, shooting up most anybody they want, mutants in particular. To keep the people happy there's a game show called Endgame, and this is what occupies the first 20 minutes of the movie. One player heads out into the ruined dark streets and is tracked down by three others. The three trackers all place a stake and the one who defeats the prey gets all the cash. If the prey defeats all the stalkers, then he gets the cash. It's a poor mans The Running Man. Pretty simple and mostly pointless. Basically everybody is after our hero; Ron Shannon. Expressionless Shannon (Al Cliver) is the current champ of Endgame. After some silly make-up additions and some Life Plus pill adverts (“Life Plus, favorite food of Endgame champions”) the competition gets underway with some Blade Runner-style uplifting music.


All the contestants wear silly eye make-up. The future sure is strange.


They also all live in caravans.

Shannon’s first fight is against some typical, fur-wearing big guy who is soon defeated. Next up is the superbly-named Gabe Mantrax, who puts Shannon on the ropes, but is ultimately Shannon’s second win. Where are all the cameras that are supposed to be filming this for the Endgame viewers?

Meanwhile the SS are hunting down more people living in the abandoned buildings and the military general's are all seen watching the Endgame programme.


Surely you can't call them the SS?

Before Shannon fights with the final contestant, he bumps into Lilith (Laura Gemser). Lilith is a mutant who can read minds and talk to Shannon with her mind telepathically; exactly the kind of person all the SS troops are hunting for (yes, they really are called the SS). She offers Shannon a job with lots of money. He’s not too keen (harboring a mutant apparently gets you 2-4 years hard labor) and he has more important things to worry about. The third contestant is Kurt Karnak (George Eastman) another previous winner. Shannon hides and Lilith uses her mind to tell him exactly the right time to jump out on Kurt. It’s a good idea but looks pretty silly as he could have just looked himself. Finally, we do see one camera mounted on a wall and a camera crew is seen heading to the fight to catch the final kill. Shannon gets the upper hand in the fight and gets Kurt in a position where he can finish him off. As Shannon is the hero, he does the good deed and spares Kurt’s life.


Al Cliver - a passionate man with a plethora of emotions.

While Shannon is being interviewed about his win, he gets a message from Lilith (she talks to him in his head). Mind rape! Anyhow, she's in trouble, so hero Shannon heads off to help her out. After beating up a couple of SS Troopers  who were troubling her she takes him to meet some of her friends. There's a young kid called Tommy who has a alternative mind power (more on that later) and a Professor who isn’t a mutant but who wants to help the people. How kind. The job that Lilith wants Shannon to do is to transport her, the boy, the Professor and a few other people (about 8) to some place a couple of hundred miles away from the city to meet some people who will look after them. Shannon protests that getting out is nearly impossible, but the offer of gold entices him. So off he goes to recruit a gang of tough guys to help out.

Hmm, now let’s see. What kind of people do we want in the group? First off, Shannon heads to some gym where an old friend seems to be the boss. Eye-patched Kovack joins the team along with martial arts expert Ninja (Al Yamanouchi). Then it’s off to recruit a big fat strong man called Kijawa from a desolate farm. Finally where would we be without a knife expert? Stark is found frequenting a seedy bar. shannon negelects to tell any of the recruits that the people they are transporting are mutants. Nobody likes mutants in the future.


Al Cliver - Now thats what I call acting.

Before they all head off, Shannon goes to pick up his post-apocalyptic car from the back alley he left it in. The thing has no doors so he’s lucky it's still there! There are tons of mutants and scavengers around and not one tried to take it! Unfortunately, the SS turn up again, and they now have orders from Colonel Morgan (Gordon Mitchell) to capture Shannon after he ran off at the end of the last Endgame competition. Shannon fights off a few of them but he's is severely outnumbered. Luckily for him Kurt, his rival from Endgame, appears and helps him out. “Now we’re quits.” claims Kurt as he disappears back into the shadows. Personally, I wouldn’t say it was such a fair swap.


Nice car. How come nobody stole it? It has no doors!

The whole group finally meets up and all the mutants are herded into a big white van. Convoy time! I was under the impression that it was going to be tough to get out of the city, but no, the scene suddenly changes and they are in the countryside. Easy. It seems no proper roads exist in the future, unless you count the quarry trails. All easy so far.


Convoy.

After a bit of traveling they come to a crashed vehicle with some dead bodies. All the mutants we've seen so far have been good guys with mental mutations. These dead bodies are also mutants but these are visibly mutated. The Professor gets out of the truck and explains that people have started to devolve. This makes sense in the case of the monkey-looking people, Planet of the Apes-style, but the film takes it even further and has a woman who is part fish. She has scales on her face and webbed fingers (an extra from Waterworld?). Everyone is suitably disturbed by the weird bodies so they head off quickly.


Fish? seriously? Monkeys I get, but fish!

Now time for a big fight, a long overdue big fight! The group arrives at a small town that would “take too much time to go around”. Yeah, whatever. The truck and car wait with Kovach and the mutants just outside the town square and Shannon heads in on foot to check it out with Ninja, Kijawa and Stark. A black cloak-wearing guy comes out and starts talking about trading goods, claiming he, and all his people are blind. Eventually loads more of these black-cloaked people come out and surround our team. Shannon tests the leader by pointing his gun at him, and the leader reacts like a sighted man. Suddenly the action starts and all the blind people don’t seem so blind anymore, waving their big knives all over the place. The team seems to be doing ok, but they are hugely outnumbered.


Al Cliver - with that same serious face again.

Time now for some more psychic talking between Shannon and Lilith. She knows how all these blind people can suddenly now see. Apparently, they have a mutant captured in one of the buildings. The mutant is seeing everything our team is seeing via mind reading and is sending the information to the blind guys. When they find this out, I wondered why they didn't just all close their eyes. Shannon’s tactic is to get on a motorbike they brought with them, ride around a bit, do a pointless jump and finally head into one of the buildings to find the mutant and kill him, taking out tons of blind guys along the way. Soon enough the mutant is dead (axe to the head) and the blind guys are all suddenly blind again. Just to make it real clear to us, they all start moaning “I’m blind, I can’t see!” and similar. With the trouble dealt with, the team heads off.


Al Cliver - an extremly passionate man.


Polintless but cool motorcycle stunts.


Poor bugger. Owch!

Later they all have a short break in a quarry (yes a good old PA quarry) which supposedly used to be a beautiful lake. While there, Lilith and the kid Tommy practice Tommy’s mutant skills out of view of the team. Apparently he has huge powers, so strong that Lilith needs to constantly keep some kind of mental cap on them. He plays around floating rocks in air, Star Wars-style. The technique is actually quite good as I couldn’t see the strings (80% of the budget right there...). As they head back on the journey we see someone in the background. It’s Kurt and he's secretly following the team!


"use the force"

Later on they arrive in another desolate location where a few industrial buildings splatter the landscape. Four or five bodies lie on the ground beside a building, and a topless woman is tied up and covered in blood. The group stop to check out what happened. The Professor, as usual, is quick on the scene to explain. Lilith senses danger and jumps out of the van shouting about how it’s a trap. All the dead people and the topless woman spring to life. The Professor is stabbed, but thanks to Lilith’s warning the team is prepared and quickly deal with the scavengers. The professor soon dies from his wound and the rest of the team are really angry to find out that the people they are transporting are mutants. There's is a big argument but it's interrupted by the arrival of a huge group of Barbarians!


No doors!

Most of the Barbarians are on dirt bikes but there are also a few PA cars installed with mandatory topless women. The fighting starts and there's general chaos. Kovach is up in his gun turret on top of the van and everybody is fighting all over the place. Ninja takes out his sword and just when we think he's about to start kicking ass somebody stabs him in the back (what a letdown). They are totally outnumbered and spread out all over. Lilith gets in the driver's seat of the van but can’t start the engine. Silly mutant. One of the cars with the pointlessly topless women drives up and a fat guy grabs Lilith and drives off with her. The fat guy is another fish mutant!


The first aperance of fish man and his trophy topless women.


Al Cliver putting all his passionate emotions into the part.

Meanwhile, Kajima and Stark are killed and Shannon is cornered. Kurt turns up again and gets into the van. Kovach is still busy with his gun turret on top when Kurt gets the van running and drives off to safety. The fight is nearly over but it looks like the end for Shannon. Suddenly, Ninja turns up out of nowhere driving one of the Barbarians car's. He’s bleeding and obviously on a suicide mission. He targets a rival car that is pinning Shannon down and smashes into it, causing a huge explosion,aided by some dynamite (where did that come from?). Yay! Shannon grabs a spare motorbike and manages to escape.


Ninja bites the dust much too early.


Ninjas back! Yay!


Oh.

Shannon meets up with Kovach, Kurt and the van. Kurt wants in on the deal and Shannon has no problem with that, considering that most of his team is now dead. Kovach waits with the van while Shannon and Kurt head off to rescue Lilith. Meanwhile, Lilith is tied down to a bed. In comes the fat fish guy who rips her top off and rapes her. Raped by a fish! Shocking stuff.

 
Apologies to thouse who have eaten recently.

Shannon and Kurt sneak into the Barbarian base when everybody is asleep and rescue Lilith. Shannon kills the fish guy in his sleep. They are just about to leave when they notice a guy who is concreted into a wall. Yes concreted, just his head and hands are sticking out. He seems to be some kind of living trophy, like Han Solo at Jabba’s palace in Star Wars. Kurt surprisingly volunteers to put the poor guy out of his misery. Sadly for Kurt, when he twists the guys neck some blood drips down the wall and drips on the monkey-man who is sleeping below, waking him up. Shannon and Lilith escape but Kurt is surrounded. What happens to him we do not know (Nice job, Shannon, the guy has saved your ass twice now and you just run off and leave him to die).


Al Cliver could learn a lot from George Eastman.

Shannon, Kovach and the mutants finally get to the intended meeting point, another quarry (or maybe just the same one from a different angle)! Unfortunately, the SS turn up and surround them. Kovach is gunned down and Shannon is captured. Angry Colonel Morgan wants all the juicy details but Shannon is busy talking to Lilith via her psychic skills. 

It’s now time for Tommy to unleash those extreme powers and save everyone from the evil SS. I don’t know what exact powers Tommy is supposed to have but he starts a very strong wind that’s sends all the SS troops and Shannon’s hairstyle all over the place. He starts the machine gun on the van firing at the troops and even causes a humorous polystyrene rock to fall on some of the men. One of the SS’ vehicles is lifted off the ground and dropped on a group of troops. It culminates in Colonel Morgan being mentally forced to shoot himself. Little Tommy may now be a mass murderer but at least everybody is safe.


Al Cliver - a passionate man.


Polystyrene rocks.

All the mutants are still alive as the helicopter arrives. Shannon is given his crate of gold and all the mutants somehow manage to squeeze into the tiny helicopter. Lilith offers to take Shannon but he stupidly refuses. That’s right, another idiot hero. He prefers the wasteland to a beautiful woman and easy life! Off goes the helicopter and Shannon leans over to pick up his crate of gold, only to find he's being shot at. It’s Kurt and he’s alive (and pissed for being abandoned). Kurt takes out his knife, so does Shannon, and they have a brief face-off. “Winner take all” snarls Kurt who just loves his Endgame. As they thrust themselves towards each other the film ends, like the fight at the end of Rocky 3 (made one year before). Who wins? We will never know, but I hope it’s Kurt. George Eastman is just too cool (and he would have gone with Lilith...).


Al Cliver - a  man of a thousand faces.

Final Thoughts:

Despite Endgame being produced after the Italians had already made some great PA’s, it still ends up being one of the most typical and unremarkable, learning little from what came before. The addition of mutants with powers could have livened it up, but it was all a bit simple and straightforward. There’s plenty of action, silly costumes and good characters but something is missing. It doesn’t have the same heart and creativity that you will find in The New Barbarians, Exterminators of the Year 3000 or even 2019. I hate to blame people, and Al Cliver certainly looks the part, but he just seems so bland playing Shannon. George Eastman again shows everybody how it should be done as Shannon’s nemesis Kurt. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, and it's absolutely essential for a post-apocalyptic collection, just don’t expect too much. OK?

Alternative Versions:

Some versions are listed as shorter than others, so there must be some edited-down copies out there.

Interesting Facts etc:

Apparently director J D'Amato liked this film more than any of his other films (and he made a lot of films).

coldfusionvideo.com counts that 161 people die in the film.

Supposedly George Eastman helped out with the screenplay.

Quotes:

“Winner take all!” - Kurt at the end.

Surprisingly there were no real quality quotes that I noticed.


Connections With Other PA's:

Cast:

Al Cliver - 2020: Texas Gladiators
George Eastman  -The New Barbarians, 2019 After the Fall of New York, Bronx Warriors
 Al Yamanouchi  - 2020: Texas Gladiators and 2019
Gordon Mitchell -  Rush, She
Edmund Purdo (uncredited voice of the blind leader) - 2019

Crew:
Michele Soavi was uncredited as one of the helicopter pilots and was also 2nd unit director. He was also 2nd unit director on 2020.

Music by Carlo Maria Cordio - 2020

Probably half the crew also worked on 2020 and others.

Critic's reactions:

No critics reviews available. Mostly forgotten.

Regular Movie Goers Scores:

It's all too dark for the first 20 minutes which would put most people off. Only for PA and bad movie fans.

For the PA Collector:

Essential. Filmed during the peak of the Italian PA love affair and starring a solid gold line-up of PA stars.

Purchase Point:

  Click Here to shop at eBay.co.uk
You won't find this anywhere else.

Links / External Reviews:

http://www.eatmybrains.com/showzc.php?id=42 (always a fun read)

"Unfortunately they soon find themselves under attack from a whole gang of mutants, fish-men, ape-men, cat-men and topless women standing up in cars and have to fight all over again. Jim briefly cheered on Ninja (“Hooray – Ninja! Oh... shit! Is he dead? Ninja was shit!”) but then he ‘died’ before briefly being resurrected to do that good old noble death - the heroic suicide bomber thing."

"Right, now let’s talk about Al Cliver. Why anyone ever cast Al Cliver in a film is beyond me. He’s got as much charisma as a brick wall but still managed to get cast as the main hero in Endgame. “Ok, Al, this is your big chance to show them what you can do!” So what does he do? He walks around the place looking like he’s on the way to the supermarket rather than leading a band of mutants to the promise land. There’s no excuse for this. Having said that, I’m a huge fan. And so is Jim. I doubt if tonight’s performance will prompt Rawshark to start an Official Al Cliver Fan Club though."

http://www.coldfusionvideo.com/e/endgame.html

"the fat scaly leader of the mutants grabs Lilith for himself.  Can't say as I blame him; he's travelling with two topless women from his harem, and I really would have appreciated it if they'd put their tops back on."

http://www.kult-movies.com/load_review.php?id=212

"The first half of the film was relentlessly dull. The sets were dark and misty and the music kept an incessant low background tone. This wasn't helped by the fact that not much of anything interesting was going on. However, the film manages to put itself back together with some outrageously well done action scenes towards the last half. The music picks up and becomes exciting, the sets and props get much cheesier, the pace quickens to a virtual rush. you should do yourself a favor by tracking down a copy!

Countries Released:

Mostly worldwide.


DVD Release Info:

Not available. Unless there's a legal reason, I expect it will appear before too long.

Actual Budget/Guessed Budget:

It's one of the bigger budget rip-offs. I'm thinking up to $1 million but more likely half that.

Our Score:

 7 out of 10

Media:

 

Box Cover(s):
UK Pal VHS - pre-certificate (Click to enlarge)


US VHS


Alternative PAL VHS cover


Pal VHS


Japanese VHS


Italian VHS


Unknown VHS


Unknown VHS

Advertisement Poster(s):


French Cinema poster


Alternative French poster


Spanish Poster


Unknown (unofficial DVD?)

Additional:
 
  NOT ENDGAME - Equalizer 2000 (France)

 
  NOT ENDGAME - Equalizer 2000 (France)

Now this is complicated. Cirio H. Santiago probably made more wasteland adventures than anybody else. Above is the French cover for his film Equalizer 2000 (1986) stolen straight from Endgame. It's strange because Equalizer 2000 had some good covers of its own. His later film Raiders of the Sun (1992) was also released as Apocalypse Warriors in France and used footage from Equalizer 2000 and Wheels of Fire (1985, another Santiago classic) although it didn't use the Endgame cover again. Strange.

Press Cuttings etc:

Wanted

Trailer(s): Wanted
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