The Ultimate Warrior (1975)

From Robert Clouse, the director who brought us the absolutely classic, Enter The Dragon, comes this post apocalyptic tale starring none other than Yul Bryner. Shall we dance indeed! Wow, sounds good so far eh? Well, as it happens it is rather and benefits immeasurably by its fine casting, especially the always superb Max Von Sydow, here playing a character called the Baron, leader of a commune of survivors trying desperately to survive in this harsh new world. As was later to become a staple plot in the plethora of post apocalyptic flicks which were to follow this in the early 1980’s, not only is there unease and warring factions within the commune itself, but outside even more hostile groups are forever plotting to wipe out their neighbours. In this instance, a particularly nasty group headed by a chap called Carrot(!) (played by perennial bad boy, William Smith) are the antagonists. As a result of the mounting pressure, The Baron hires lone warrior Carson (Bryner) to help protect them and in a more secretive plan, to have him lead his daughter and her horticultural expert husband to safety, far away from the ravages of the doomed city.

Whilst best remembered for his action output, Clouse was actually a very gifted visual director and here manages to convey some particularly effective scenes of desolation (the visuals over the opening credits carry an especial air of sorrow and emptiness, depicting the end of civilisation).

Action wise, despite his mature years at the time of filming, Bryner is on fine form here as he demonstrates during the fair number of fight scenes contained within. Special mention to, for the rather shocking decision he makes during his final confrontation with his nemesis, a sure illustration of the old motto, ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures.’

Overall, whilst not nearly as exhilarating as some of Clouse’s other works such as Enter The Dragon and Black Belt Jones, this is a fascinating film that deserves far more recognition that it presently owns. For fans of the whole post nuke/post apocalyptic genre which was so huge following Mad Max, this is well worth checking out.