Last Stand

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“The godlike genius of Lloyd Simandl strikes again…”

Okay, ‘godlike genius’ is stretching it a lot, but if you arrive at this unofficial Escape From New York remake knowing what to expect (low budget, mild sleaze, lame action, recycling of footage from other movies), it’s still entirely possible to enjoy it. After America breaks into feudal states, escaped drug lord Kragov (Matacena) runs Washington DC, rounding up women of breeding age and shipping them to Utah(!). Though our capital appears now to be populated entirely by middle-Europeans, with not an African-American in sight (like a lot of Simandl’s work, it was filmed in the Czech Republic).

Into this comes Kate Major (Rodger), a soldier doing time for killing her CO. [The prison footage looks very like that in Fatal Conflict, made by Simandl the same year. Damned if I’m gonna check though!] Krakov has found the nuclear football, giving him access to all US missiles, so she must switch it into safe simulation mode before he can work out the codes, and also rescue the head of the UN’s son (Barker), who leads the resistance – all ten of them. It’s complete nonsense, of course. Krakov violates many ‘Evil Overlord’ rules (if I become an Evil Overlord, anyone who has something to tell me, and me alone, will be made to do so via CCTV) and Major should simply kill him. There’s also no reason why Major – released from 20-to-life hard labour – doesn’t just head off in the opposite direction at top speed, rather than putting her life at risk.

Luckily, the villains, Kragov and sidekick Tanya (Brozova) are a good deal of fun, even if Kragov’s lines are often unintelligible; Brozova would be great as Ilsa if they ever revive She-Wolf of the SS. Barker is unforgivably bland, but Rodger does have a certain spark and presence, though gets little chance to show it here. The sum of all this is undeniable trash; you may, or may not, regard that as any kind of endorsement. As an aside, keep an eye out for the graffiti on the walls, including comments like ‘Give Idaho Back to the Serbs’…

Dir: Lloyd Simandl
Star: Kate Rodger, Josh Barker, Orestes Matacena, Katerina Brozova

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