• 2019: After The Fall Of New York



    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: April 10th, 2017.
    Director: Sergio Martino
    Cast: Michael Sopkiw, George Eastman, Edmund Purdom, Valentine Monnier, Paolo Maria Scalondro, Louis Ecclesia, Romano Puppo
    Year: 1983

    The Movie:

    Directed by Sergio Martino, who co-wrote with Ernesto Gastaldi and Gabriel Rossini, 2019: After The Fall Of New York takes place, as you’d expect, in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. War has had terrible effects on the planet, turning much of it into desert, mutating many of its populace and leaving everyone infertile. Or so we’re led to believe. See, the President Of The Pan-American Confederacy (Edmund Purdom) has got word that one fertile female remains left alive on the planet. The catch? She’s located somewhere in the middle of Manhattan, an area controlled by the evil Euracs (an alliance made up of Europeans, Asians and Africans) – a sinister bunch with a penchant for white horses and flamethrowers.

    The President is now fool, however – he knows there’s one man for the job. That man? A demolition derby enthusiast in studded jeans named Parsifal (Michael Sopkiw). He’s basically kidnapped from the deserts of Nevada and brought by space ship to Alaska where the president makes a deal with him. If he goes into Manhattan and gets this girl out alive, Parsifal will have himself a seat on a spaceship leaving soon to a planet that can supposedly support human life. Really though, Parsifal has no choice in the matter, he literally has a gun to his head, so before you know it he and two pals, - Bronx (Paolo Maria Scalondro) and Ratchet (Romano Puppo) – are making their way into the heart of New York City by way of the sewer system.

    Before it’s all over Parsifal will make out with a Eura officer named Ania (Anna Kanakis) and then fall in love with a beautiful woman named Giara (Valentine Monnier), the crew will befriend a helpful midget named Shorty (Louis Ecclesia) and they’ll work alongside a monkey-human gypsy pirate king named Big Ape (George Eastman)!

    This one really does have it all. Sopkiw might not be the most enthusiastic leading man but he looks the part strutting about here in the aforementioned studded jeans and with a cool, tough guy headband holding back his locks. He’s good in the fight scenes and has more than enough screen presence to make up for the fact that he’s not the most versatile thespian you’ve ever seen. The supporting cast help a lot here too. Valentine Monnier might be wooden but she’s gorgeous so you won’t mind. Anna Kanakis, who has appeared in a lot of more serious fare over the years, is fun as the over-sexed Eurac officer while Louis Ecclesia is a kick as little dude shorty, zipping through the sets with plenty of enthusiasm. Paolo Maria Scalondro and Romano Puppo are enjoyable enough as Sopkiw’s right hand men, but the real scene stealer here? No, it’s not Edmund Purdom, he doesn’t really do very much, it’s George Fucking Eastman. He’s the Big Ape! Literally, he is a big ape. Eastman was never one to shy away from scenery chewing and he’s in fine form here, really going for it and using some weird, twitchy body language to remind you that even if it looks like his monkey man makeup is going to fall off, he’s as much animal as man. The fact that he’s dressed in what looks like a silk shirt and has long boots and a swashbuckling sword just adds to the screwiness of his part.

    The score, from Guideo and Maurizio De Angelis (credited, for some reason, as Oliver Onions!) is good, if derivative, and Martino keeps the action coming quickly. Lots of awesome miniature work is on display here for those who can appreciate such things (guilty as charged!) and despite the fact that this was obviously made for peanuts, there’s some pretty decent set pieces: the demolition derby duel to the death where we first meet Parsifal and the big finale with a tricked-out station wagon are two good examples of that. This one is a blast, just pure entertainment through and through with enough violence and trash movie elements at play (exploding heads!) to keep everyone happy.

    Three years after this film was made, Martino would dive back into post-nuke territory with 1986’s Hands Of Steel, another apocalyptic action film once again starring George Eastman.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    88 Films presents 2019: After the Fall Of New York on a 50GB Blu-ray disc framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p from a “Brand New High Definition Restoration from the Original Negative.” The image is remarkably pristine, there’s not a scratch on it, but it does look like some mild DNR has been applied here. It’s not a complete debacle by any chance but skin looks just a little too smooth. Aside from that, which does result in a bit of softness, the image looks good. Colors are really nice and detail is definitely above what DVD could provide. There are no noticeable compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues. Good contrast and black levels too.

    The only audio option for the disc is an LPCM 2.0 track, in English, with optional English subtitles (that contain a few flubs but more or less get the job done without any major issues). This track sounds fine. There’s the occasional bit of mild hiss but if you’re not listening for it you’re not likely to notice. Dialogue is clean and clear and the score and effects all sounds quite good.

    The main extra on the disc is a thirty-three-minute-long featurette called After The Fall which is an interview with Sergio Martino. He’s pretty honest here about the Escape From New York influence but also talks about other films that had a hand in his take on things shown in the film. He also discusses some of the people he collaborated on for this production, working within the confines of a modest budget and more. Also included on the disc is a ten-minute featurette called The Art Of The Fall: The Magic Of Antonello Gelleng in which the film’s art director is interviewed about what went into getting the film’s distinct look captured on film. He also shows off some great archival photos that he’s saved for decades – interesting stuff.

    Included inside the Blu-ray case is an insert booklet containing an essay from Calum Waddell entitled All The Colours Of Martino which is essentially a text interview with the storied director who talks about his genre hopping career and, of course, his work on 2019: After The Fall Of New York. 88 Films has also provided some very cool reversible sleeve art showcasing two different one sheet variations.

    The Final Word:

    2019: After The Fall Of New York remains one of the most enjoyable of the Italian ‘post nuke’ films to come in the wake of Mad Max, only this time it throws in a whole lot of Escape From New York for good measure. A fun cast highlight the picture while Martino’s direction keeps the pacing tight and the action nearly constant. 88 Films’ Blu-ray release is pretty decent, presenting the film in nice shape and with a few choice extras too.

    Note that Code Red released this on Blu-ray in the United States, but at the time of this writing that disc isn't available to compare.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!