The Ultimate Warrior (1975)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Sci-Fi Disaster Film  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

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.