The Raiders Of Atlantis (AKA Atlantis Interceptors, Atlantis Inferno, I predatori di Atlantide. 1983)
Dir: Ruggero Deodato.
Cast: Christopher Connelly, Gioia Scola, Tony King, George Hilton, Ivan Rassimov, Mike Miller, Bruce Baron, Michele Soavi, Giancarlo Prati, Maurizio Fardo, Mike Monty, John Vasallo, Lewis A. Cianelli, James Demby and Audrey Perkins.
"This don't look like no advanced civilisation
to me - just a bunch of trees!"
Rough and tumble, pastel clad heroes for hire Mike Smith (mottle skinned Connelly from Manhattan Baby) and Geoff 'Mohammed' Washington (King AKA Malik Farrakhan from Cannibal Apocalypse and BJ and the Bear), make ends meet by chloroforming then kidnapping old men on the orders of the US government for $50,000 a shot.
Which is nice work if you can get it.
Having delivered the old fella to a mysterious colonel whilst wisecracking about Vietnam and Washington's conversion to Islam, the pair decide to set sail to the Caribbean for a well deserved holiday.
By some strange coincidence, a secret Navy project is getting under way in the same bit of ocean and the tiny faced (and frighteningly insectoid) science type, Dr. Cathy Rollins (Desirable Teacher's Scola) has been (forcibly) drafted in to help decipher an ancient, skull embossed plaque discovered on the ocean floor.
The projects head, the bespectacled and knee length shorted Professor Peter Saunders (Hilton from such classics The Case of the Bloody Iris and Holy God, Here Comes the Passatore!) explains that they came across it whilst trying to raise a Russian sub that had sunk a few months earlier.
Being an expert on pre-Columbian dialects of almost Daddy Pig proportions, Rollins has absolutely no trouble in translating the strange markings on the plaque and announces that it tells the whereabouts of the fabled lost city of Atlantis.
Meanwhile in a mysterious Caribbean isle hotel room, a mysterious man in his granddad's suit slowly opens a wall safe and removes a joke shop plastic skull mask, he gazes lovingly at it before popping it onto his tiny head.
Talking of tiny heads, it's action stations all the way back on the government submarine stealing base as Rollin's takes a break from transcribing ancient inscriptions (and a sell out spoken word tour) to peer at a grainy black and white monitor showing superimposed images of a child's bath toy slowly rising to the surface of a fishtank.
Suddenly the whole place goes haywire as indoor firework style sparks shower the set and the light fuses blow. As the crew run around like small girls being chased by a wasp it's left to the director of Delamore Dellamorte to lead everyone to the lifeboats.
But what's happening back on that island with the skull-faced man I hear you cry?
Well so far nothing seeing as we've cut to a garishly clad couple, Arthur and Maude who, upon leaving their house are shocked and frightened by the amount of grainy stock footage of thunderstorms in the distance.
Maude is understandably upset and wants to go back into the house but as she turns to enter the porch plastic skull face turns up (surrounded by a motley assortment of leather clad and mohawk headed pikeys) and shoots her in the throat before parking his bike up Arthur's arse .
Mike and Washington, alongside their oiled Filipino cabin boy Manuel (Vasallo in his only credited screen appearance - shame) are having problems of their own trying to guide the boat thru' giant waves whilst dodging the huge domed city that's appeared out of the ocean in front of them as the outboard motor fries and the last crate of beer falls overboard.
Luckily the films fades to black before it can get too exciting (or expensive) and next thing we know it's the following morning. The sea is calm and Washington and Manuel are busy rescuing the survivors (including Italian cinema's sexiest man, Sir Ivan of Rassimov in the pivotal role of daredevil pilot Bill Cook) from the base whilst Mike makes googly eyes at Cathy.
Who appears to be young enough to be his daughter but let's not dwell on that.
Mercifully for the viewer this uncomfortable display of old man lust is cut short when Manuel suddenly becomes a mentalist and grabs Cathy by her scrawny throat, threatening to kill anyone who gets in his way.
It appears that Manuel has received a psychic message telling him that 'Cathy is needed'.
It mustn't be that important tho' seeing as he's happy enough to jump overboard without her.
With everyone just standing about staring at each other trying to figure what just happened, nobody notices that the boat has run aground on a deserted beach until Cathy decides to go skinny dippy, jumps overboard and grazes her knee on a discarded Irn Bru bottle.
Mike being the oldest (by about seventy years) takes charge and decides that they should head inland and try to find a phone.
Or at least find the guy who runs the donkey rides across the sand.
Approaching the nearest town our intrepid (or is that tepid?) band are shocked to find the whole place in ruins with buildings ablaze, cars overturned and corpses hanging from every telegraph pole.
Mike mistakenly thinks that they've arrived in Manchester and whilst desperately trying to score some skag of an illiterate inbred on a street corner bumps into his old pal Manuel, still nutty as squirrel shit and here to warn them to get Cathy back to the boat before 'they' arrive to take her.
But it's a warning too late as the infamous 'they' (plastic skull face and his merry band of homo-erotic bikers) arrive and start shooting at things whilst showing their oiled nipples to all and sundry forcing Mike and co. to take shelter in a church.
All that is except the resident ginger man who runs towards the leather clad gang shouting “They’re human! They’ll listen to reason!” before being shot in the arse and nailed to a tree.
Which is fair enough I reckon.
Waiting till nightfall and the badboy bikers going home to bed, Mike and Bill lead the survivors to the (relative) safety of a nearby warehouse packed with cases of rifles, unlimited ammunition and a big box of napalm.
Which is pretty damn lucky if you ask me.
On a less interesting note the warehouse is also hiding place to a balding camp man in a tuxedo (Fardo from The Bronx Warriors 2 and Demons 6), his fairly unattractive daughter and his very unattractive wife.
Don't worry tho', they'll be dead soon.
It's not long before the barking bikers return to torment and taunt Mike and his pals whilst handily standing still on top of walls within easy shooting distance.
“We have returned!” shouts plastic before sending his men into the warehouse to snatch Cathy, leaving Mike no alternative but to give chase.
What a guy.
Running around the backlot, his turkey neck glistening with sweat Mike chances upon a hefty German man (Mike Miller, not the northern comedian I assume) wearing a headband who goes by the name of Klaus who's been wandering around for days spoiling for the chance to fight someone.
Not too surprisingly he jumps at the chance to join Mike's quest.
Returning to the warehouse and reading thru' Cathy's notebook (in the hope of finding some nude pictures of her obviously) Mike discovers that Atlantis sank as a consequence of a big civil war culminating in the use of a nuclear bomb, ergo the radiation leaking from the downed Soviet sub is what must have caused the island to rise again.
There's a downside to all this domed city and psychic nonsense tho' as it seems that the radiation has caused all the surviving Atlanteans to become forgetful which is why they need Cathy kidnapped for her knowledge, which they need to achieve their plan of raising Atlantis for good.
And yes, I know it's all bollocks, I've just had to type it.
Hidden knowledge, shite sofa.
But Mike, being brave and desperate for a shag has a rescue plan which involves commandeering a bus to travel to the local airport and steal a helicopter to fly to Atlantis, kill everyone there and leave with Cathy over his shoulder.
Yup, works for me.
After an exciting bus journey and a few more killings they do indeed steal a helicopter and fly toward the bubblicious Atlantis where, upon landing they kill a few more leather-clad Atlantean types whilst Professor Saunders (yes, he's still alive and wearing shorts) decides that neutralising the radiation from the submarine may indeed cause Atlantis to sink again, saving everyone from being over-run by plastic skull wearing mentalists on motorbikes.
A transparent breast yesterday.
Her lack of any visible acting ability makes me think that she's either drunk or under hypnosis seeing as she's not only readily agreed to help the Atlantean's take over the world but seems to believe all the frankly techno-bollocks chat that's being banded about.
Saying that tho' her legs to look particularly nice in those glittery tights so it's not all bad.
But time (and the viewers patience) is running out.....
Will Mike be able to rescue Cathy in time to take her out for the promised spinach supper?
Will the Professor be able to turn off the nuclear radiation?
Or will the plastic skull man take over the world?
Go on, guess.
The controversy courting king of the cannibals Ruggero Deodato's little seen action epic Raiders of Atlantis is a majestically mental mix of gruesome gore, mystical mumbo jumbo and post-apocalyptic thrills, riffing Indiana jones and the Hong Kong classic Fantasy Mission Force along the way before mixing the entire thing to a tepid disco beat courtesy of the fantastic Guido De Angelis and Maurizio De Angelis under the alias Oliver Onions.
I'll give you a second to take all that in and then ask....
What's not to like?
for the Arena I failed to notice he'd written
'Shite in mah mooth' in marker
pen on my back.
What a card!
For better or worse, Deodato will probably only be remembered (by all but the most devoted film enthusiasts) for his infamous mockumentary shocker Cannibal Holocaust (and possibly House on the Edge of the Park but for all the wrong reasons) which is a shame really, as his most enjoyable (and accessible) works are the ones that no-one seems to have seen.
And if they have they rarely seem to talk about them.
From the sexy swashbuckling Lucretia love starring comic book adaptation Zenabel to the sublime crime thriller Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (AKA The Terminators) via the lo-fi Airport: 79 rip off Concorde Affaire '79 (AKA Concorde Inferno '79), Deodato is a director whose genuine love of cinema (and more importantly an appreciation of the sheer enjoyment that films can give) shines thru' even the most threadbare and nonsensical plots.
And much like the great man's drug busting actioner Cut And Run, The Raiders Of Atlantis might be total bollocks but you can't deny that it's utterly enjoyable bollocks.
And you can't say fairer than that can you?