THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR
Oddly though, Robert Clouse wimps out on the action side of things. The fights seem rather flat and cursory there is nothing that comes with the zip and energy of Enter the Dragon. Things never get into high-gear up until the end with a couple of memorable scenes one where Yul Brynner has to interrupt a fight to deliver Joanna Miless baby with his bare hands; and the climactic face-off with William Smith (lead heavy from a number of biker movies) hanging over the edge of a pit where Brynner has to sever his own wrist with an axe surely the ultimate self-castration symbol for an action hero to free himself from a steel bolas.
Despirte disappointing on the action front, The Ultimate Warrior is not entirely a loss. Robert Clouse writes the post-holocaust milieu with considerably more credibility than all the Mad Max 2 imitators ever did. The film strikes one from the opening image that pulls back from pigeons peacefully nesting in what appear to be the rafters of a barn, only to have the idyll interrupted by hands snatching and shoving them in bags and, as the camera pulls further back, showing that what appears to be a barn is actually an abandoned office and that the trappers are running about on the tops of filing cabinets it is a wonderful moment of inversion of the familiar that is what good science-fiction is all about. The social milieu within the enclaves is well sketched Robert Clouse laces the script with a dark pessimism wherein all human hope is heartbreakingly reduced to a single packet of seeds and a desperate fight for survival over powdered milk or stolen tomatoes.
Robert Clouse was mostly known for his Blaxploitation and kung fu films during the 1970s. His other genre films are the killer dog film The Pack (1977) and Deadly Eyes (1982), an adaptation of James Herberts novel The Rats (1975).