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Endgame (1983, Italy)

Endgame (1983)
Directed by Joe D’Amato.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

AKA Endgame – Bronx lotta finale
Written by Joe D’Amato and Aldo Florio.
Starring Al Cliver, Laura Gemser and George Eastman.
Follows Escape from the Bronx (1983)

Endgame (1983) Theatrical PosterLet’s get right to it; is this movie the final installment of The Bronx Warriors trilogy that includes 1990: The Bronx Warriors and Escape from the Bronx, or not? The short answer in my opinion is no, it most definitely is not. It bears no resemblance, nor any connection to the previous films that I could detect; though it is supposedly set in New York, I don’t recall any reference to it in the dialogue.

A mash up of the typical plotline where the protagonist must run a gauntlet while escorting a group of innocents to safety and yet another interpretation of Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game; think The Running Man mixed with Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, I’m sure you could find plenty of comparisons. The surprising upshot is that it’s all quite entertaining. There’s very little down time in the script and there’s always something fun to watch. Is the entire production of a lesser quality? Yes, but if you wanted some highbrow art house snorefest, you’re on the wrong site.

Prolific director Joe D’Amato not only does a great job on this flick, but also co-wrote, shot and produced. [Could he have] also manned the Craft Services table and provide cast transport? He does a bang-up job and pulled some darn good performances from the cast that was mostly unknown to me. Well, until I looked them up and said to myself, “Hey, I remember that movie!” I have the feeling you will too. Weirdly, D’Amato is credited under the name Steven Benson. I wonder why. I’ve read that this film is his favorite of all his works. I can see why; it’s fun!

Endgame (1983)

Noted composer Carlo Maria Cordio did a score that I had mixed emotions about; half was so outstanding that I wanted to run right out and try to find the soundtrack and the rest was disposable elevator music. But the good stuff…wow, awesome.

Which brings up an interesting comparison (well, to me at least). Cordio also did the soundtracks for two films in another “trilogy”; Troll, Troll 2 and The Crawlers (he did the last two). Just like The Bronx Warriors triplets, the second film had some connection with the first (okay, admittedly barely) and the third installment comes from so far outfield that it really doesn’t belong with the other two.

Ah well, the funny thing is that Endgame was still great fun. In comparison to the Bronx Warriors flicks, there’s a bit more gore and nudity. The quality of the film makes it apparent that it was shot on a far lesser gauge than the first duo and much of the glam-disco-jazz aspect is lost visually. And I think it could be argued that the actors are less magnetic, but you’ll be relieved to know that the “futuristic” costumes, from motorcycle leathers to full on Viking getups, also feature KISS-style war paint makeup, which never loses its ridiculousness or pleasurable impact.

Endgame (1983)

When reading the synopsis of this film online, I noted that the Karnak (George Eastman) character starts out as a friend to our hero, who is saddled with the manly title of Shannon (Al Cliver), but ends up being a nemesis. Not that it truly matters, but this is blatantly not true; Karnak is Shannon’s nemesis in the beginning, but ends up being his friend about a third of the way through the proceedings.

You can now rest easy knowing this completely useless factoid.

The lack of stunt and fighting skill is notable here, too; it’s bad and the choreography follows suit. It’s neither cinematic nor realistic and the scenes have just about zero flow to them. Despite its general suckage, there’s such a plethora of it that it actually makes up for it. It’s hilarious to watch our hero, brandishing a huge knife, dodging a guy with a mace but not bothering to stab or slash him as he passes by millimeters away. Or, how about a gun versus knife fight where the pistol-wielder tosses his weapon so that he can pull his own blade…? Holy moley.

I found it a bit tricky seeing this film. It wasn’t available for streaming, which shocked me. Fortunately, I was able to buy a nice, clean copy from Cult Action; I can already feel my bank account draining as I work through their catalog. These folks really care about the films they’re helping conserve and I highly recommend you check out what they have to offer. Concerned about the region and whether it was subtitled or dubbed, I sent them an email and received a very prompt reply stating that it was region-free and dubbed. I thought the pricing was very reasonable at only $12.99 US with shipping and the [bootleg] DVD I received was in excellent shape, featured beautiful cover artwork and a full description on the back (despite the nemisis-friend mix-up) in only a matter of a couple of days.

Endgame (1983)

So no, this isn’t going to feed your Bronx Warriors fix, you might try The New Barbarians for that. Still, don’t miss Endgame if you love 80s post-apocalyptic flicks.

Just don’t try to read my mind; that would really tick me off. And Honey, nobody wears white in a world like this, where everything has gone south and [you only have] the choice between being molested by mutants or machine-gunned to death by facists.

See Endgame and find out what I mean by the above statements!

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K2

Kelly Knight is a zero-budget filmmaker and author of Twistern: 50 Twisted Western Movie Reviews. Connecting and communicating with fellow movie, television, music and automotive enthusiasts makes him happy. He also knows kung fu.