Troma Films, not content with releasing its own bad films, has recently gone trolling through the Euro-Shock vaults, delivering a sub-par, edited print of Dario Argento's The Stendhal Syndrome (not one of the maestros finest hours to begin with) and this.....thing...from the late Lucio Fulci, whose corpse is probably setting some land speed record as it rolls in its grave. New Gladiators, is now, officially, the worst film I have ever seen, in any genre (and that includes Patch Adams). As a matter of fact, I could probably live several lifetimes on several worlds and not find a film as mind-numbingly dull, ridiculous, or inept. If you love Fulci, you'll hate this film. If you don't even know what a Fulci is, after seeing this pile of dreck, you will recoil at the mere mention of his name.
It's the future, and television is a vast wasteland of violent programming. Rival networks battle for ratings by upping the gore quotient of their respective hit shows but ratings are down, even on the hit show "Kill Bike", so the head of one network decides that bringing back the classic gladiatorial games of ancient Rome would seal up a coveted time slot win, with criminal contestants fighting to the death.
The network takes its biggest star, popular Kill Bike contestant Drake (Martin) and frames him for murdering his own wife (who is inexplicably killed by a trio of whistling men dressed in polyester body suits) so he is "eligible" to compete in the games, thus drawing an even bigger audience of...er...Kill Bike fans. Lots of things flash and blip, little model spaceships swing around on string, and Fulci even gets to smash some heads and poke out an eyeball or two, all to the tune of a three note synth song that will have you gouging out your own eyeballs by film's end.
New Gladiators features the absolute worst FX ever committed to film. This is truly awful stuff, with chintzy model sets that appear to have been constructed out of paper cups, hamster tubes and Christmas lights, and "space ships" that bring new meaning to the term "special" effects. The weapons are only that much worse, with laser beams that look as though they were scratched into the film by blind man with a jack-knife, accented by Fulci's seizure inducing use of strobe lights and smoke machines for almost any scene that needed a "futuristic" edge. If strobe lights, skin-tight karate suits, and Dixie cup spaceships are the future, I'll stay right here, thanks very much.
Troma releases this alleged film on DVD, with a commentary by something called the Fulci Benevolent Society, but I didn't bother listening because it would involve sitting through this fucking film again, and I'd rather lay naked in a pit of gaboon vipers than do that. I did watch the highly touted 3 minute interview with Dario Argento, which was shot from clear across a crowded room using the camera's microphone, as well as the "interviews" with Fulci's daughter, who is apparently being interviewed in her home, by a child. This is not a joke. There are several moments where Mrs. Fulci gets direction from what sounds like a little girl. You even see a little hand adjusting the camera angle, as she rambles on and on about how "ingenious" this film is.
Of course, a Troma film would not be complete without an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, which is short and funny, but if I wanted funny Lloyd I would simply watch the brilliant Terror Firmer instead of this beer coaster.