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The New Barbarians – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

New-BarbariansOh those lovely Italian movies from 1980s.  Find one cool, hit American genre movie and exploit, exploit, exploit it.  Much of their fare in the decade were either zombie films inspired by George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (But really set into motion by Zombie Flesh Eaters) or post apocalyptic wastelands akin to George Miller’s The Road Warrior.  Personally, these are pretty trashy, but I dig them.  They are great late night movies and can be fun to watch for reasons both intentional and unintentional.  While knocking things off, they often try to push their own limits, making for an unpredictable and bolder adventure than your common popcorn cinema escape.  Blue Underground is giving us three of these classics from director Enzo G. Castellari.  Today, we’re covering The New Barbarians.

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Film 

In the year 2019, after a nuclear war, humanity is reduced to a few starving groups. A ruthless gang called “The Templars” constantly raid settlers in an attempt to exterminate everyone in order to purge the Earth. A former Templar, Scorpion, along with his allies, prevents a small band of religious colonists from being massacred by the Templars.

Well, nobody is going to fail to notice that this is a straight Mad Max knock off.  Even the plot of this one completely resembles it.  Its scavengering heroes trying to protect a kind, peaceful bunch from ruthless raggity and savaging outsiders.  All the details are also renegade stylings and goofy suped up automobiles.

This film was actually the subject of a Riff Trax Live! theatrical screening a few years back.  I can see it fitting that.  The film is truly goofy and makes some weird decisions and plot turns.  But, I also think its something you don’t need all that hub bub for.  Some of this stuff doesn’t need a joke on top of how crazy or humorous it is.

As a fan of Fred Williamson, its a delight to see him in a ridiculous costume, armed with a bow and arrow taking out baddies in the futuristic dump of a word (That once looked like a model set).  He’s got a head band and this armor that only he could sell it on being cool to wear.  Its his third time working with the director (Also did Inglorious Bastards) and he seems to be given a lot to do this time around.

If you’re into random adventures in the post apocalyptic wasteland that George Miller set up for all the Italian filmmakers to knock off, then New Barbarians is an easy sell.  Its also a really violent movie with some badass deaths in the movie.  Exploding heads, body parts and all sorts of mutilation can occur.  It also takes a really dark, unexpected (well, I guess when it gets there it makes sense) turn toward the final act.  Make no mistake, this movie is trashy, but its an enjoyable trashy.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  This picture quality is roughly similar to that of the others, if not a tick up from Bronx Warriors.  Detail is there in good spots, but ultimately the image is softer and can look smoother in some areas.

Depth:  There are some really good moments in some of the ruinous interiors, with separation of character and environment.  Motions, for the most part, work out smoothly and cinematic.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and probably accurate to their cinematic appearance.  Crushing is minimal and detail is average on clothing articles, surfaces and hair that are black in color.

Color Reproduction: Colors look natural and a tad reserved in their element.  This film doesn’t feature a wide array of a bright stand out colors, but what is there looks well rounded and represented.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Detail is solid in static close-up shots.  Although it is a little hit and miss between good deal and looking smooth and smudgy at times in further out shots.

Noise/Artifacts: A layer of grain is present as well as a little bit of noise.  Dirt, specs, scratches in the print are surprising very minuscule.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Pretty much the same experience as the other films.  This is a decent sounding theatrical mix that does very well by its score.  Drums, bass and everything is very individualized in the mix.  Punches, crashes and effects all sound nice, natural and loose.  The vocals are a little bit dated sounding, but this mix sounds really balanced and cleanly.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is loud and clear.  Much of it does sound a little like dated ADR and slightly muffly.

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Extras 

The New Barbarians comes with  DVD copy of the film.  The reverse side of the cover features a production photo along with a chapter selection layout.

Audio Commentary

  • With Co-Writer/Director Enzo G. Castellari

Enzo G. Castellari and Fabrizio De Angeles In Coversation: Part 2 (HD, 13:55) – Picks up from where the Bronx Warriors interview left off.  They discuss blatantly ripping off Mad Max while it was hot and go over various production aspects of the film.

Tales Of The Hammer (HD, 20:22) – An interview with star of the film, Fred Williamson.  He takes us on a journey from getting his nickname, to his football career and then his work on movies up til New Barbarians.  He’s pretty loose, candid and as always, fantastic.

Theatrical Trailers

  • International Trailer (HD, 3:25) 
  • Italian Trailer #1 (HD, 3:26) 
  • Italian Trailer #2 (HD, 1:58) 
  • 1990: The Bronx Warriors Trailer (HD, 2:42)
  • Escape From The Bronx Trailer (HD, 3:15)

Poster & Still Gallery – Features many posters, lobby cards, VHS artwork, news clippings, promo & behind the scenes photos.

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Summary 

Basically, if you were on board with The Bronx Warriors, you’re likely going to find interest in The New Barbarians.  This one has the more Mad Max’ish approach to it.  Blue Underground’s release features a release comparable to the others, if not with a tick better in the video transfer department.  The extras are a continuation of what was started with the first movie, but this time includes an interview with “The Hammer” himself which should make fans plenty happy.  Definitely look into it if this is your thing.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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