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  • The memory I have of this film goes a long way back ever since I saw the theatrical trailer (it actually got released in the Philipines back in '87). Recently I picked up the DVD (region 0) and I just like this film for unknown reasons really. Chip Meyer plays an astronaut who comes back to earth only to discover he just missed out on world war III. It starts in flashback style and alot will find this film a total bore (specially the second half) but if you like end of the war films, you should see this film. It's the narration perhaps (the actors don't really talk, just narrate their thoughts to us), is it the cheesy score? Is it the cool cover art that appealed to me? Maybe it's because I love films about the end of the world. Check out Damnation Alley, City Limits for more post-apocalyptic low-budget mayem.
  • Even among forgotten movies, this movie is probably forgotten. It's so obscure that there isn't even a Motion Picture Association of America logo or seal at the end of the final credits, and even Grade-Z Golan-Globus Cannon movies got those. I'm insanely curious about the background of how this movie got made, and my guess is that some low-rent producer came up with the idea based on whatever old sets and plane tickets he could muster together.

    That said, this movie has the kind of scruffy charm you could only get from a 1980s post-apocalyptic straight-to-video film. The banal offbeat locations give this movie its boost. Makes sense, though: if the world has been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust, who wouldn't want to live in an underground factory in the middle of a desert with a pool inside? And if you have an attractive actress, why not use her in the most awkwardly-long '80s-style softcore sex scene ever filmed? Why this scene was placed into a violent post-apocalyptic science fiction movie is beyond me, but then again I'd love to find out what was going on behind the scenes.

    Movies like this defy any conventional star rating. Who was the intended audience for a movie like this? How did Richard Moll("Bull") from TV's "Night Court" get cast as the villain? Why was this the director's first and only film? What is he doing now? Just like the unexplained weirdness of the entire movie, such questions only heighten the mystery. Perhaps if the world is ever destroyed by nuclear war, survivors will find old VHS copies of movies like this and wonder what the heck society was thinking.
  • Man returns from space to find war has devastated the earth . . .starts promisingly with a solar powered train, and the hero almost dying, but alas we are not spared the rest of the film. What few people he comes across all try to kill him, except for a scary foreign girl that he becomes. . .erm. .. friendly with.

    Well, she gets kidnapped by some bad guy (what is it about the future? There's an apocalypse and suddenly everyone changes their name to Kragg) and being the only woman he's seen, he has to go off to save her. Not too bad a film in the "so bad it's good" sense. A rare accurate post-apocalyptic world - no water OR petrol.
  • "The Survivor", as he is known (even though there are other survivors too), wanders around what's left of Spain (mostly desert!) after the apocalypse ten years ago, looking for a hidden paradise supposedly rich with food and water. Seems an old Turkish man confided in "The Survivor" about it a few years back, and, on his last legs, our hero is determined to find it, although not really sure if he can believe the story. Along the way he is attacked by other survivors and left for dead, but a female prisoner he managed to free in the process takes him to her "ship" off the coast of Madrid and lets him sleep it off until he recovers. They strike-up a relationship and she tells him she knows of this so-called "paradise" he is looking for, but warns him not to go there. But he doesn't listen, of course! While preparing to set-off in search of it, his new lady friend is kidnapped by the evil Kragg (who he seems to know from a flashback he keeps having, but later we see that this flashback is something that happens at the end of the movie, in present time!), and hero must try to rescue her.

    The end of the movie takes place in a power station buried under the sand, where other survivors are now living with just enough food and water for themselves. This is the paradise everyone was talking about. "The Survivor" finds it and is soon captured. Surprisingly, everyone bar Kragg and a few of his goons wants Kragg dead, and order "The Survivor" to kill him! Kragg is a very nasty and deluded man, full of big ideas for the future of Earth and everything must go his way. He proclaims himself as God and fought and killed other survivors to keep the power station-dwellers a uniform and tight-knit unit, but the others don't like his future plans. "The Survivor" agrees and sets about killing Kragg, leading to a long, drawn-out battle with chains and guns within the power station. Can our hero save his new love and rid the world of the evil Kragg before it becomes even worse than it was before? Watch breathlessly to find out as "The Survivor" hides directly under Kragg on a chain! There is something of a surprise twist-ending, which was more satisfying than what I thought was the end, but doesn't seem to hold too much hope for Earth either way.

    The music throughout the film (not the songs) is very good, and suited well to the mood. Acting is what you'd expect (Chip Mayer is laughable), and the production values don't look much. The coastal location with the wrecked ship is excellent, however. As another reviewer mentioned, most of the film jumps back-and-forth between the past and the present, which at best is painfully bearable. Most of the dialog is also done in voice-overs, as character's "thoughts". There isn't much character interplay until the end. There are a couple of stupid moments too, such as when "The Survivor" and an enemy shoot each other at the start. Dig those wounds! That said, the opening scene is fantastic, with NASA voice-overs and the launching of the space shuttle that will carry Chip Mayer to safety before the end of the world (he says in the film that he watched it all from space, but how much could he have seen from up there?). These voice-overs come back later with footage of mushroom clouds as "The Survivor" is looking at a photo of his dead daughter, which is probably one of the best scenes. Other than that, it's your average post-apocalyptic mess!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    That's what I asked myself when I saw the cover-art for SURVIVOR. The box just screams "Chip Mayer is... SURVIVOR"! Well, turns out that Christopher"Chip"Mayer played Vance Duke in the early 80's TV show THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. I found it of no importance as that particular show was just a bit before my time and I had only seen a couple of re-runs of it. SURVIVOR was Chip's feature film debut, but after that it was pretty much back to TV-work for him. He appeared in a whole lot of TV-series throughout the 90's, but never as a regular. So that might make one suspicious about the man's acting abilities.

    Anyway, on to SURVIVOR. This is one of the most off-beat movies set in a post-apocalyptic future you will ever encounter. It just might be the weirdest one I've come across and it's also a bit of a mess. So Chip Mayer stars as one of the few survivors of World War III. The reason he survived the war, is because he was a biologist/astronaut who was safely on board a shuttle in space when the war happened. We see nothing of his space adventures and Chip's character is introduced roaming the desert wastelands on his self-made vehicle driven by solar-energy. He nearly dies in a gun battle with another nomad and gets picked up by this silent, lonesome woman who lives on a stranded ship.

    Now, this may seem all your standard wasteland-future stuff, but by then you have already seen stock-footage of a space-shuttle launch and devastating mushroom-clouds, presented as flash-backs from our protagonist. You've also seen seen strange flash-forwards of unexplainable scenes that have yet to happen in the movie (Why? Don't ask me. Maybe Chip has the power to dream of things to come... too much radiation, I guess). And the weirdest thing of all: monologues and even dialogues are not seen being spoken. We hear them as the character's thoughts and reflections. Even when they're together the voices often can be heard off-screen. Strange.

    The movie actually is divided in two parts. The first part is slow and shows a lot of scenes portraying the desolate wasteland and the silent couple on the boat. The cinematography is over-all pretty beautiful. Once on the boat the movie slows down even more. The female doesn't seem to like Chip's company very much (she likes to be alone on her boat). But inevitably they get really naked and end up having sex in a cheesy soft-core scene, that (and I thought I would never say this) drags on way too long. And just when you start thinking "Happy end", the girl gets kidnapped.

    This is were we get to the second part of the movie. Supposedly, Chip was searching for a promised land of some sort. He never finds it, but he does stumble upon an underground community living in a subterranean power station. Then the inhabitants explain to Chip that they were living their lives in peace, denying access to any outsiders. That is until the evil Kragg (played by Richard Moll) showed up, took over and terrorizes the inhabitants. Chip figures out that it was Kragg who stole his girlfriend and is forced into the roll of hero. He must kill Kragg, save the enslaved inhabitants and find his girlfriend. Will he succeed? It's up to you to find out by sitting through this flick (Don't complain, I had to do the same).

    Now that second part feels like a different movie all together. The cinematography is darker. There's a bit more fighting (the fight between Chip and some of Kragg's scum hanging and swinging from chains was pretty cool). The strange off-screen voices are less present and there's even some room for spoken dialogues. We're also shown the complete scenes we saw fragments of in those incomprehensible flash-forwards during the first part of the movie. So, in a way, this all is mildly entertaining, because it keeps you wondering where it will all lead to eventually.

    But I can't say SURVIVOR is a good movie. There might be some interesting ideas and subplots present, but nothing is really done with that. It all basically leads to nowhere. And in the end not much happened during the whole movie and you'll be left wondering what the hell it was you have just been watching. Chip Mayer can't act, but that's covered up by making him say almost nothing throughout the whole movie (except for his silly thoughts). Kragg himself is a rather menacing figure, portrayed by a grim-looking Richard Moll. He has a nice monologue and he provides the end-boss fight for Chip. A rather peculiar fact is that Richard Moll also starred in another post-apocalyptic, more sci-fi orientated movie ten years later, called... THE SURVIVOR (1998). There he played an almost identical role as an evil character named Kyla. Needless to say that movie was also pretty bad. On a final note I'd like to mention the musical soundtrack, which can most of the time be described as the rest of the movie: off-beat and weird. But on at least two occasions the film-makers mess it up completely by putting this really bad and cheesy 80's soft-rock song on the soundtrack. Extremely bad move, as it is totally inappropriate and brings down the movie a level or two.

    So, yes, SURVIVOR might be considered a cult-movie within the post-apocalyptic genre. But often the line between "cult" and just plain "bad" is very thin. SURVIVOR, mostly, hangs with its full body in common badness, and occasionally peeks with its head over the border into the cult regions.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A low budget, forgotten adventure film which focuses more on characters and philosophy than hard-hitting action, this dated but moderately impressive sci-fi film should be interesting viewing for fans of the genre. The makers of this film opt for a more thoughtful tone than most, as the "Survivor" wonders why the human race should still attempt to kill each other even as he blasts another survivor to death. The lack of budget means that any major action scenes are missing (the first sight of our hero is him tied to railings, as his survival and previous adventures are told in voice-over), although there are a fair amount of shoot-outs to keep action fans appeased.

    SURVIVOR benefits from good locations, especially the barren, bleak and windy desert which gusts around our hero's feet as he makes his way towards society. The desert also contains the rusty hulks of old, rotting ships which make for great visuals. In comparison, the dank underground base in which he finds himself at the end of the film is very atmospheric. The film is almost free of dialogue until the end, instead using voice-over narration as a means to communicate to the viewer the events which take place. I liked this style, as it reminded me of THE AFTERMATH, one of my favourite post-apocalyptic movies out there.

    Christopher Mayer is the hero with the '80s hair, and plays his role impassively yet with glimpses of humanity showing through. While he may not be the most appealing of heroes, I've seen a lot worse. Something that did annoy me was his weakness in the film - he's forever getting injured and fails to put up much of a fight, instead getting out of dangerous situations by the skin of his teeth at the last minute. I'm not saying I would have preferred some Van Damme ass-kicker but a bit more aggression/ability would have helped. The unknown Sue Kiel stars as the unconventional love interest and interestingly her character lends her own views to the proceedings. Richard Moll (who has carved a career in movie bad guys) is the philosophising villain who plans to produce a new society, and has a great character. Somewhat bizarrely, the British John Carson (who is best remembered as Squire Hamilton in PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES) turns up in a supporting role as an ally of the hero.

    The ending does venture into MAD MAX-style silliness what with its villains swinging around on chains and the like, but closes on a high with a great prolonged battle between Moll and Mayer in which the chief word is suspense. Otherwise this is a slow-moving movie which probably won't appeal to most fans looking for another action-packed MAD MAX rip-off. I can't say that I enjoyed watching it, but the South African visuals count for a lot and the change of pace certainly makes it one of the more original, and interesting, genre oddities.