WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD. Sci-fi for the seekers of kitsch and tasteful trash

Chosen undergoing a transformation from zero to hero, to save the oppressed people from the tyranny of oppressive authorities, is a cliché deeply rooted in science fiction films.

Jarosław Kowal

13 January 2024

WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD. Sci-fi for the seekers of kitsch and tasteful trash

Before Neo, there were many, and one of the most awkward yet captivating is the nameless motorcyclist fighting on the side of the true total opposition.

Just a few sounds emitted by the synthesizer during the lengthy introductory credits of Warrior of the Lost World set in the fantasy world created by David Worth (still anonymous in 1983, but already celebrating success six years later after the box office premiere of Kickboxer with Jean-Claude Van Damme in the lead role), immediately transport you to the world of 80s kitsch. The catchy theme is composed by Daniele Patucchi, who continues to publish to this day but unfortunately does not enjoy the same fame as John Carpenter in his cinematic, second incarnation or even the imitators like Carpenter Brut or Perturbator.

Warrior of the Lost World

As for the presented world itself, the director serves a post-apocalyptic standard. A power-hungry despot (played by Donald Pleasence, eerily resembling Bond’s Dr. No or perhaps even more his caricature – Dr. Evil from Austin Powers’ adventures) imposes laws and duties on his subjects created according to his whim, then establishes police forces – Omega, tasked with guarding the distorted order. Of course, there is also a resistance movement, which – according to the narrator’s interpretation – aims to “fight for a tolerant society”… Don’t check the headline; this is really a review of an American-Italian film from 1983. Perhaps some are just too big fans of Donald… obviously Pleasence.

There wouldn’t be a Warrior of the Lost World (and many others) without the Road Warrior, but instead of wastelands, we are thrown into friendly, green territories with obviously staged terrain imperfections, where cardboard-covered vehicles race along well-kept streets, and futuristic weapons differ from contemporary ones only in the sounds they make. Under such circumstances, only bizarre things can happen.

Warrior of the Lost World vhs

A headshot doesn’t impress the main character of Warrior of the Lost World much; he is healed by white-robed sages using light; and shortly thereafter, he attends a BDSM-style party where instead of a DJ, a guitarist playing endless solos is heard. The Rider – as usual – doesn’t believe in the prophecy anointing him as the chosen one, wants to withdraw in the face of expected defeat, but it is enough for the lady to throw in his face: “You gave your word,” to immediately change his mind (oh, the chivalry of B-movie heroes). Finally, he gathers a group of antisocial misfits composed of kung-fu warriors dressed in traditional costumes, typical rednecks, soldiers, and punks, or rather the 80s portrayal of them frequently seen on screens. It’s not a spoiler to reveal that ultimately good triumphs, and more interestingly, this whole band of degenerate ruffians sits together in an abandoned factory at the end, throwing balloons in American colors and singing a morale-boosting song in the style of “We Are the World.” If this doesn’t encourage you to reach for a film that masterfully captures the spirit of VHS tapes, nothing will.

An honorary mention goes to the talking motorcycle of the Rider, which is something between David Hasselhoff’s KITT in Knight Rider and Samantha in Her, but for the viewer, it will more resemble the annoying Jar Jar Binks. So when he dies in agony under the wheels of Megabron (yes, the motorcycle suffers, and yes, Megabron is the name of the most powerful weapon in Omega’s arsenal), the dramatic music in the background cannot evoke even a hint of emotion.

Warrior of the Lost World Donald Pleasence

In the lead role in Warrior of the Lost World is Robert Ginty, who had few leading roles to his name. Much more interesting characters appear in the background – the aforementioned Donald Pleasence, one of John Carpenter’s favorite actors; the excellent Fred Williamson known for countless blaxploitation productions but also From Dusk Till Dawn; the prematurely deceased Persis Khambatta – the heroine of the first cinematic Star Trek, and also Geretta Geretta known from Terminator II, the Italian one, and Scott Coffey, a frequent collaborator of David Lynch. So, a lot of bad things can be said about Warrior of the Lost World (and a lot has been said, even during one of the episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000), but the acting skills here are at an above-average level for this type of production, and mainly thanks to the involvement of a great cast, the screening turns out to be pure pleasure.

An eight out of ten rating is, of course, an assessment on a very specific scale that does not include Citizen Kane  but an entirely alternative film reality. For most mortals, a more appropriate rating would be a one and erasure from the pages of history, but seekers of kitsch and tasteful trash will find a treasure of the highest order here.