I don’t think I’m blowing too many minds when I repeat information online that this Italian-Spanish co-production is a Mad Max 2 derivative. Thanks to the glut of independent companies releasing cheap films from yesteryear to home video, it’s easy to spot these cinematic wannabes and have a quick laugh. Whether these laughs last the running time of the film is all up to the viewer. Exterminators of the Year 3000‘s director Carnimeo is known more for his spaghetti westerns and sex comedies and he clearly finds himself struggling with a sci-fi action film. It has even less of a unique personality than Enzo G. Castellari’s 1980s attempts. Among the characters here, we have a complete rip-off of Wez from Mad Max 2 named Crazy Bull (played by Fernando Bilbao) and Robert Iannucci as Alien, who resembles Mad Max only in uniform. Alien lacks the character arc of Max and seemingly just drives around as a lone wolf, jumping from being a villain to hero every other scene.
I mean, it’s not hard to spot the similarities. Even in Spain, the film’s poster even says, “Hey audience! It’s like Mad Max!”
Spanish film poster is at least not trying to bullshit us about the films origin
The script, by Lucio Fulci regulars Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti, fills the film with bizarre dialogue. The writers get pretty phoney here with lines from Crazy Bull referring to the crew as a bunch of “mother-grabbers”. Far too much of the script sets up problems that are resolved way too quickly to make any impact or are solved in lame ways by cheap sci-fi toys. Got a locked door? Why kick it down when you can just use my device that plays an annoying high-pitched sound effect that inexplicably unlocks things. The screenwriters are also aware that it’s an Italian production, so it’s not above showing children getting maimed. One of the more bizarre scenes in the film features a young boy (with the surprisingly un-Mad Maxish name of “Tommy”) has his arm ripped straight off by bikers. But don’t worry folks – it’s revealed to be a robotic arm (!) and is partially repaired by Alien, who puts it back together with duct tape(!?)
The only slightly original villain comes from singer and model Beryl Cunningham, in her final film role. Her weapon of choice is a glove with surprise spiked knuckles that shoot out whenever a camera zooms in on it. She wears this glorified switchblade glove along with a spiked leather bodysuit. . Seeing Cunningham in the suit makes one wonder if the role was intended for someone else, as the suit doesn’t appear to fit! Even a pinch saggy, Cunningham appears to be in great shape here and you think an exploitative film would want to make the most of this.
One of the few unique action scenes. I dig the Skull rollin’
The action scenes are just as delightfully stolen from Mad Max 2. Did you ever not want to sit through the entirety of that film to get the final chase? No worries, Exterminators of the Year 3000 gives it to you during the second big action scene. Outside a few Castellari styled slow motions shots, we get some very obvious issues such as the cars moving far too slowly to represent any real chase (imagine a slight traffic delay around your local highway during rush hour) or any shot from the inside of a vehicle where it’s way too easy the spot that vehicles are not in motion. Later scenes involve vehicles surrounding their captives in a circle which resembles a demolition derby. This type of capture would make sense on horseback, but I gather that Carnimeo perhaps only had a budget to destroy a select few cars.
As is the trend since the release of Drive, is that every single film is getting it’s score re-released. Even Exterminators of the Year 3000! There are several samples here that include the sillier dialouge from the film. Reminds me of the Diabolik bootleg soundtrack in that sense.
I’m afraid this isn’t too great of a soundtrack, probably just due to the limitations in both time and budget to record it. At least it doesn’t go the Sammo Hung route and just steal the score from Halloween and Rambo.
So we have a generic film without much to recommend outside a few goofy scenes and to see the extent to which filmmakers go in ripping off Mad Max 2. After my viewing of Exterminators, I began questioning the criticism of being “original” in film. What makes a rip-off an instant write-off while sequels are “highly anticipated”? Let’s imagine it’s an alternative universe where the producers of this film somehow get the rights to Mad Max franchise and would officially make this the third film in the series. Would it still be a rip-off? No one from the original film is involved, but would they be less criticized if we didn’t know the production history? Let’s look at Aliens by James Cameron. What if Cameron didn’t get the rights from Walter Hill and the other producers of Alien to continue the next picture, but he made his own Alien-killers-from-space film. Would people bash it by saying “Hmm. Clearly taken bits and pieces from Alien” or would would they give it a free pass as they do now because it’s an officially sanctioned follow-up?
In the case of Exterminators of the Year 3000, it’s problem is not that it took from the Mad Max series, but that it’s mostly poor action, bizarre acting and delivers less quality than we have been set-up with in the Future Barbarian genre. So I encourage viewers to not pass off on films if they appear to be derivative. I hope to one day find the Mad Max film that trumps some