The Ultimate Warrior (1975)
Directed by: Robert Clouse | 94 minutes | action, thriller, science fiction | Actors: Yul Brynner, Max von Sydow, William Smith, Joanna Miles, Richard Kelton, Stephen McHattie, Darrell Zwerling, Lane Bradbury, Nate Esformes, Mel Novak, Mickey Caruso, Gary Johnson, Susan Keener, Stevie Myers, Fred Slyter, Regis Parton , Larry Bischof, Pat E. Johnson, Henry Kingic
The first images in this film are very telling. Silent roads, empty streets, rubbish and rubbish everywhere, deserted plains, empty and dilapidated and partly collapsed buildings… humanity has fallen prey to a catastrophe that few have survived and with the gradually made statements ‘… the epidemics… no hospitals… no medicine…the diseases…. ‘ a successful post-apocalyptic impression is quickly created. A world is sketched that is divided into communes, several of which have declared war on each other. Human lives mean little to nothing and food is scarce. Within it, attention is focused on the commune of commune leader Baron, his friendship with the Carson hired by him, and the battle that goes on with the enemy Carrott’s gang. This results in the necessary chases and battle scenes in which numerous characters are brutally killed in hand-to-hand combat due to the lack of firearms. Even when it comes to battle with the ‘street people’, loosely organized gangs who live in the dilapidated houses, roam the streets and kill anyone who comes in their line of sight.
Director Clouse manages to present a successful combination of action and suspense through the manner in which and the frequency with which he portrays things. The same applies to the vicissitudes of Baron’s own commune, which is slowly disintegrating due to mutual suspicion, tension and aggression. It is made clear that Carson and his friends must also be on their guard within the commune. Although the consequences of these developments will only become apparent over time, they will be just as deadly as the outside threats. The environment is atmospheric, starting with the first impressions of the post-apocalyptic world in which the story takes place.
A downside is perhaps that this initially so effectively evoked atmosphere diminishes over time. Later images are displayed considerably more limited and on a smaller scale than in the wide opening images. The sets used also repeatedly have a somewhat studio-like impression, especially in the scenes in which the various street fights are discussed and to a lesser extent during the chases in the long and deserted dark metro corridors. Nevertheless, through the omnipresent signs of decay and desolation, director Clouse manages to maintain the atmosphere of the decline of human civilization and danger lurking everywhere throughout the entire running time, which is why this film can also join the better in terms of atmosphere. movies in this genre. Neat work by the various protagonists. As ‘ultimate warrior’ we see Yul Brynner appear on the screen. Brynner’s performance as the preferably peaceful, but if necessary also deadly and always carrying a knife clearly contributes to the quality of this production.
At 55 years old, Brynner does not seem too youthful anymore, but still as charismatic as in previous films in which he performed and physically still in good shape. Although this may be taken too far when his character Carson takes out various opponents with too much ease. A more formidable opponent is the hostile Carrott, fashioned by William Smith. Like Brynner, a charismatic powerhouse and undisputed leader of the enemy commune. In all his psychopathic behavior portrayed as a very flat character, but nevertheless effective enough to offer Brynner more than adequate counterplay.
In addition, solid work by Max von Sydow as the thoughtful and authoritative Baron and neat supporting work by Joanna Miles as Baron’s pregnant daughter Melinda. All in all, it makes ‘The Ultimate Warrior’ a film that will easily hold your attention from start to finish, with all the developments and solid acting in an interesting post-apocalyptic story. On several points, at least in comparison with more recent post-apocalyptic films, the film has come across a bit dated and the low budget can be seen, but nevertheless still in quality terms it is still one of the better and more striking films in the world. genre. Recommended for fans of this kind of productions and lovers of action movies.