review for America 3000 on AllMovie

America 3000 (1986)
by Fred Beldin review

Somewhere along the way there was some thought put into this low-budget post-apocalyptic adventure, namely the thought that America 3000 might capture a chunk of the audience that watches films like Krull, Conan the Barbarian, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Director David C. Engelbach has alleged that he wrote the script for America 3000 during the early '70s, but if the plot predates the surge of cheap Mad Max hack jobs that fed early cable TV and the waning days of the drive-ins, it doesn't mean that this one is any better. The twist in this particular nuclear wasteland flick is that the sexes have been divided and wage war against each other, with the females as the dominant faction. This allows some indulgence in that age-old fantasy of males kept as studs and slaves, as well as lots of inter-gender violence, sure-fire exploitation elements that rarely fail. In this case, they do, as America 3000 is just too cheap to convince, with most of the budget obviously going toward transporting the cast to Israel for location shooting. The film appears to have been intended as a (relatively) serious sci-fi story, but someone must have viewed the rushes and panicked; a sarcastic narrator was added to overdub frequent dry comments on the action, explaining the story and adding enough alleged humor to allow the producers to bill America 3000 as a comedy. Not a bad idea, since the sight of buxom, hair-sprayed models in strategically torn Flintstones costumes swinging swords in the Israeli desert was sure to inspire more laughter than thrills, but not even lousy jokes can save this routine actioner from its own tedium. Some may find the constant juxtaposition of '80s-era cultural items (ghettoblasters, video games, bad synth-driven rock music) with the primitive sets and costumes amusing, but even this won't be enough to justify 90 lost minutes. Stick with Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski movies instead -- believe it or not, they're better.