Blu-ray Review: Endgame (1983)

January 16, 2022

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

In an even shittier version of New York than the 1980’s version this here flick was (supposedly) shot in, the city streets are crowded with punks, armored nazi security guards, mutants, and at times, more fog than 20 or more Fulci films.

How do you pacify a destroyed city on the edge? Why by showing the people the eponymous Endgame; a program where contestants fight to the death among the ruins while wearing glam-rock face paint (and outrageous attire… for instance, Demons‘ Bobby Rhodes plays Woody; a contestant that dresses like a gladiator with a fabulous feather rimmed cape and an uzi… this shit is fucking tight n’ outta sight) for cash money in rather large amounts.

The two best players: Ron Shannon (Zombi‘s Al Cliver) and Kurt Karnak (Big George Eastman… just start with Anthropophagus); former friends, now rivals who are ready to have their final skirmish… but before that can happen, Ron walks away from the contest after besting and refusing to kill Karnak, and walks into his side hustle: helping a comely telepathic mutant named Lilith (Emanuelle herself, Laura Gemser) get her and her fellow mutant-types the fuck out of Dodge… also for a promised large sum of cash… or gold… whatever…

How does Ramblin’ Ron intend to accomplish that? Why by assembling a team of the most badass of dudes he can muster… dudes the likes of which include: a karate master named Ninja (Hal Yamanouchi), Kovack (Mario Pedone); a full on giant Viking (codpiece included) who wields a shotgun and rides a pelt covered motorcycle, gun enthusiast/dojo-master (where people practice shotgun based martial arts)/Captain Harlock cosplayer Bull (Gabriele Tinti), Kijawa (Nello Pazzafinia), a dead ringer for Leonard Nimoy… but if Nimoy had a wrist crossbow, and eventually Karnak himself.

Before long our heroes are up to their leather-clad asses in half-human/half-animal mutant hybrids… hybrids which also happen to be armor clad punks riding vehicles obtained from George Miller’s garage sale and fully decked out with ladies with their tits completely hangin’ out… as one would expect.

Can our heroes deliver on Shannon’s promise in the face of the (semi-competently) masked menace?!!

Before I tell you why I absolutely loved the ever lovin’ shit outta Endgame, I’m gonna call “bullshit”.

So Cliver’s character is Snake Plissken minus the eyepatch (but plus one half of a descent Ace Frehley homage) with a dash of Mad Max (he drives a mean future jalopy)… hell, the dude even uses a hwhip like Indiana fuckin’ Jones… and what do they call him? Ron Shannon. Ron fuckin’ ass-fartin’ Shannon. That’s the name you’d give like a guidance counselor, or a try-hard dude that’s trying to make the moves on your hot, single mom… not an ass kicking, never crack-a-smiling mother fucker like the hero of this film. His ass should have been like Jaguar Laser or Flint Killblood… not Ron Shannon.

Anyway… Endgame; this shit is wild as balls!

This is post-apocalyptic, post-Road Warrior Italian exploitation done to fuckin’ perfection! We get a stoic, leather clothed hero, crazy vehicles, mutant powers, animal people, bugnuts costumes, uber-fascist totalitarian task forces… all of it is gloriously absurd, and absolutely completely entertaining from beginning to end.

And how could it not be with those batshit ingredients thrown together by director/co-writer Joe D’Amato (the aforementioned Anthropophagus, Ator, the Fighting Eagle, Beyond the Darkness and many, many more) there’s never a moments rest as we go from Running Man-type future gameshow to Escape From New York to Mad Max by way of The Island of Dr. Moreau… how did they even come up with such bonkers bullshit? I didn’t even mention how Lilith contacts Shannon mid-sexual assault by a 300 pound fish-man and cheerfully intones “Yes, Shannon, I’m fine!”… she has a rather loose interpretation of the word “fine” if you ask me…

Well, the interview with actor/co-writer Luigi Montefiori (that’s Eastman’s real handle, ya dig?) helps out in the “how” department for sure, as well as serving as one of only two special features on this Blu-ray release from Severin (the film’s trailer being the other).

While light on extras, the included CD soundtrack, featuring the film’s score courtesy of composer Carlo Maria Cordio, more than makes up for it!

You’ve seen this type of Mad Maxploitation before, but trust me you’ve never seen it cranked up to eleven with it’s jiggly bits flyin’ free and proud right in your eerie eyeballs like it does in the absolutely delirious Endgame… just let yourself experience it, you owe it to yourself…



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