It is the future, and the apocalypse has arrived, and passed, leaving the survivors buckling under the iron fist of the Omega who rule the land. But there is still technology, and one man known only as The Rider (Robert Ginty) makes a stand against the goons of the leader Prosser (Donald Pleasence) thanks to his talking motorcycle known as the supersonic speedcycle which whisks him along country roads, avoiding the stormtroopers in their own vehicles. Today he is unlucky enough to encounter a patrol car and two motorbikes who open fire at him; though he is able to send them to their doom, the bad guys prove persistent and he ends up driving into a cliff and dying.
Well, that was a short film, wasn't it? Ah, but no, there's more to Warrior of the Lost World than that, an Italian-American co-production directed by David Worth, whose career was certainly one of ups and downs, though this is generally regarded as a down. Thanks to showing up on a popular television show that made it its business to lampoon what it regarded as low quality movies, it became seen as possibly the worst of the Mad Max 2 rip-offs, specifically those which emerged from Italy, though in truth there were a lot more boring examples you could hold up as the dregs of the sci-fi subgenre, as at least some imagination had gone into developing this project.
Admittedly, it remained a fiasco, perhaps because of Ginty's performance which all but screamed "So my career has come to this!" in every scene, such was his lack of engagement (his character's dubbing brought with it a remarkable abscence of interest that merely underlined his apparent disgruntlement). According to Worth, his original notion was inspired by his previous employer Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter, and when he came to make it with Italian producers he was told they would only fund it if he set the plot in the future, hence the trappings of low budget science fiction in evidence throughout, though what it would have been like in the modern day one can only guess.
Much of the piece's camp appeal stems from that supercycle, which interjects in a squeaky electronic voice throughout every journey The Rider takes on it: envisage a novelty Satnav and you have some concept of how it would be to travel with this irritant. It speaks in stoner surfer clichés too, and has a tendency to repeat itself three times, for maximum tiresome effect. Therefore you can imagine Worth's decision to have the bike confront the Megaweapon, a flamethrowing truck of huge proportions, and end up crushed beneath its mighty wheels as less an aim for the heartstrings and more giving in and admitting he would get the audience back on his side by squashing it as its voice burbles goodbye and its little screen goes blank. And we're not even two thirds of the way through the story.
There was a female lead, and she was the perennially hapless Persis Khambatta, who after what should have been a breakthrough in Star Trek: The Motion Picture found everyone identified her with being a bald alien and her choices were limited thereafter, Sylvester Stallone's Nighthawks probably her next highest profile endeavour, and megaflop Megaforce her most typical, though at least that had a budget to speak of. Here, after her people revive the Rider through mysterious means as Fred Williamson looks on as if he was passing the doorway and popped in for a dekko, she takes our lacklustre hero into a cave system, past some mutants, into an arena where three victims are executed (for what?) and eventually to capture by Prosser, whereupon she is tortured and deemed irrelevant by the screenplay until the end. Talking of the finale, which overoptimistically left the door wide open for sequels, this had to be the only Mad Max clone to wind up with the cast having a mass singalong. Very silly, but not boring, which may be all that counts. Music by Daniele Patucchi.