America 3000 (1986)
Chuck Wagner (Korvis), William Wallace (Gruss), Laurene Landon (Vena), Sue Giosa (Mohra), Steve Malovic (Aargh the Awful)
"Nine hundred years after the Great Nuke. The world man created, he destroyed. Out of the darkness and ignorance of the radioactive rubble emerged a new order... and the world was woggos. (In old speak that means - Crazy!)"
Post-nuke films were legion in the 1980s, the success of Escape From New York and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior changed the low-budget cash-in industry forever and there are dozens if not hundreds of post-nuclear films from this era looking to make a little bank off a familiar subject. Be it Roger Corman, Empire Pictures or the Italians, everybody wanted a piece of that post-apocalyptic pie. So why not our favorite Israeli schlock maestros Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and their production company Cannon films, responsible for past Doomsday Reels subject The Apple.
America 3000 isn't quite as crazy or overdone as The Apple, but it is absolutely just as goofy. It's the far off future (presumably the year 3000, just before the exterminators arrive) and men and women are separated into two divergent tribe: the tyrannical and Amazonian Fraus and the primitive and cavemanesque Plugots. The Frau routinely capture the Plugots and turn them into labor slaves, breeding stock, or just human playthings. This movie is the story of two Plugots: Korvis and Gruss, who managed to escape and start a new society by finding a children's alphabet book that teaches them to read and a secret military bunker full of pre-war weaponry. Korvis and Gruss start a slave uprising while the Frau's new leader Vena.
The story of America 3000 is one ripe for satire and social commentary, we have a literal battle of the sexes on our hands and the people in power in this brave new world are women. But this isn't that sort of movie, this makes Cherry 2000 look deep and introspective. The Frau dress like movie Amazons and have voluminous blow-dried bleached hair and a lot of make-up on, the men are all in reasonably good shape with messy but cut hair and a little bit of vanity grime rubbed on, the movie also heavily features a Sasquatch-esque mutant named Aargh the Awful who serves no narrative purpose.
It would be tempting to file America 3000 under the "so bad it's good" category but there is no way this movie isn't aware of how cheesy it is. It would be more fitting to call this movie a comedy with no jokes. Part of this would be due to the acting but the thing about the acting is that it's hard to tell who's doing a good job and who's not because everyone's speaking nonsense.
See, much like the Waiting Ones in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the people of America 3000's wasteland have created a new dialect. "Neggy" means no, "woggo" is crazy, and "hot plastic" seems to mean something very good or very bad. It is possible to pick up on what people are saying after a bit but that doesn't change the fact that all the dialogue is weirdly pronounced gibberish. The only thing letting us know what's going on is a voice-over from Gruss telling us what's going on.
The movie's pretty light and airy and the PG-13 rating keeps the action pretty tame but there are still some pretty great battle scenes and some really great fight choreography that's occasionally ruined by some questionable stage-fighting.
What America 3000 lacks in substance it makes up for in fun. It's a goofy little charmer in the vein of Solarbabies but without all the cringe-worthy kid acting and the glacial pacing. There's no great characters, story beats, or themes of any real depth but it's breezy and entertaining and that shouldn't be discounted.
America 3000 is a lazy Saturday type of movie. It's the kind of thing that's nice to put on when you don't want to have to think a lot. It's got nothing on its mind or any real agenda. But it's got laser guns and gold tinfoil radiation suits and a generic rock music backing track that sounds like the guitar riff from Lonely is the Night.
The moral of the story is basically that men and women should be boning instead of murdering and enslaving each other, and then the Sasquatch shows up and does a triumphant freeze-frame jump into the air holding a boombox over his head. *chef's kiss* You don't see a lot of movies as earnestly dumb and giddily silly as this anymore and so America 3000 is the kind of movie worth celebrating.
America 3000 is only available on a DVD compilation with 3 other movies, but it's a Shout! Factory release so it's decent quality. Plus you get Arena and Eliminators, it's a win for everyone!
Next Time on Doomsday Reels
"What would drive a KUMTAK to flee the BRIGA?"