This is an unusual but intriguing mix of science fiction and action. Surprisingly, the science fiction elements are better developed and more interesting than the action in The Ultimate Warrior: the fight scenes are rather perfunctory in style but the film's post-apocalyptic setting is laid out with convincing, often gut-wrenching detail. Writer/director Robert Clouse devotes much of the film to sketching out how a societal breakdown can alter human nature for the worse and offers a grim but pragmatic take on the future of humanity through his hard-luck heroes. Yul Brynner makes a good stoic hero, bringing a quiet intensity to his role, with William Smith making a strong and equally charismatic match for him as the determined villain. That said, the best performances come from the supporting players: Max Von Sydow is compelling as the group leader privately tormented by his dwindling faith in his fellow man and Joanna Miles is strong yet sympathetic as the pregnant, forward-thinking woman who is essentially the story's symbol of hope. In short, The Ultimate Warrior isn't the action-rama it appears to be but a surprisingly thoughtful bit of social-minded science fiction that deserves to be rediscovered by cult movie fans.
by Donald Guarisco review