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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Raiders of Atlantis

August 1, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Raiders of Atlantis Image Credit: Regency Productions

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #609: Raiders of Atlantis

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never had to leap onto the rails of a rising helicopter in order to escape a bad situation (or any sort of situation, really), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number six hundred and nine, I take a look at the low budget Italian sci-fi action classic Raiders of Atlantis, which was first released in Italy in late November 1983 and was recently released on Blu-ray by the fine folks at Severin Films in late June 2021.

Raiders of Atlantis

Image Credit: Regency Productions

Raiders of Atlantis, also known as Atlantis Interceptors, The Atlantis Interceptors, and Atlantis Inferno and directed by the infamous Ruggero Deodato using the name “Roger Franklin,” is a wonderfully weird low budget Italian sci-fi action flick. Chock full of go for broke action and totally committed actors who embrace the insanity, Raiders of Atlantis is exactly the kind of movie that I wish more modern directors tried to make from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with making a movie that makes its own kind of sense.

Raiders of Atlantis stars Christopher Connelly as Mike Ross, a badass mercenary who, while on a boat vacation with his buddy and fellow mercenary Mohammed/Washington (Tony King), gets caught up in a weird beard crisis after an offshore oil rig brings up a missing Russian submarine that also somehow disturbs an underwater city that turns out to be the lost city of Atlantis. While trying to figure out what the heck is going on, a sort of post-apocalyptic biker gang army appears to start attacking anyone and everything in its way. Led by a guy called Crystal Skull (Bruce Baron, wearing a crystal skull helmet), the gang kills scores of people off screen before trying to take down Ross, Mohammad, Dr. Cathy Rollins (Gioia Scola, acting under the name Marie Fields), Bill Cook (Ivan Rassimov), Professor Peter Saunders (George Hilton), and several other survivors.

Now, the gang’s appearance is generally shocking to the people it kills as well as Ross and Mohammed, but it isn’t as shocking to Dr. Rollins and some of the other people on the oil rig, mostly because they had ancient Atlantean artifacts in their possession. No one quite knew that the artifacts were specifically from Atlantis beyond Rollins, but they knew something strange was going on during the sub excavation process. But then, at the same time, why would anyone think that bad guys from Atlantis would ever show up to do anything? Even if Atlantis was real, everyone there would have to be dead in the far flung future year of 1994, when Raiders of Atlantis takes place. I mean, that would be the only thing that would make any kind of sense.

Image Credit: Regency Productions

And yet the post-apocalyptic biker gang army from Atlantis was there, armed to the teeth and ready and willing to kill everyone and everything in their path. Crystal Skull makes it abundantly clear during the movie that the denizens of Atlantis used to inhabit and rule the entire world and now they want it all back. Will they succeed?

Not if Mike Ross has anything to say about it. Using his abundant badass mercenary skills to keep himself and his friends alive while also taking the fight to the post-apocalyptic biker gang army, Ross intends to stop the bad guys from Atlantis from taking over the world. He isn’t entirely sure how he’s going to do that (Dr. Rollins isn’t much help at the beginning of the battle because she isn’t about fighting and killing and whatnot), but Ross is going to do everything that he can to send the bad guys from Atlantis back to Atlantis (or hell, whichever is quicker).

One of the great things about Raiders of Atlantis is that it takes itself absolutely seriously. When you think about the plot and the general subgenre that it comes from (the low budget Italian sci-fi action movie world) the movie sounds ridiculous and it is ridiculous but no one in the movie is acknowledging that. To the characters and the world that they live in what’s happening in the movie is happening, is scary and deadly and could quite possibly be the end of the world. There’s no winking at the camera, no one saying out loud that this whole thing is absurd. That post-apocalyptic biker gang army is coming to kill you. There’s also a sequence towards the end of the movie involving technology from Atlantis that would come off as supremely ridiculous in a more “self-aware” movie. In Raiders of Atlantis you totally buy it.

Raiders of Atlantis also moves at a quick pace, wasting no time while explaining who the characters are or the situation they find themselves in. This quick pace also shows itself in the various action set pieces Deodato and his crew put together. One of the more memorable sequences involves a biker gang army bad guy getting decapitated while riding a motorcycle and chasing after Ross and his friends. The scene comes out of nowhere, the decapitation is quick and gross, and then the movie moves on to the next scene. And it all fits and works.

The movie’s music is also top notch, especially the theme “Black Inferno” by Oliver Onions. The song has a catchy riff and, in context, works. If you listen to the song on its own, as just a song, it’s good but it isn’t as good. Once you hear the song while watching the movie and then you hear it again without the movie it’s absolutely fantastic.

Image Credit: Regency Productions

Christopher Connelly does a great job as Mike Ross, the badass mercenary that leads the fight against the Atlantis post-apocalyptic biker gang army. A veteran of many low budget Italian genre flicks (he was in 1990: Bronx Warriors and Strike Commando, among others), Connelly doesn’t seem like he would be a viable action star. When you first seem him he just seems like a random guy. When you see him in action, though, you see very quickly that Connelly very much is an action star and that he can go with the best of them. He never looks ridiculous fighting or shooting a gun (he rocks the hell out of the M-16 with the M203 grenade launcher attachment, which he uses prominently towards the end of the movie).

Tony King does a fine job as Mohammed/Washington, Ross’ mercenary partner and best friend. King has an easy back and forth with Connelly and he shows that he can go just as hard as Connelly in the movie’s various action scenes. And I think you will get a laugh out of the reason why he’s known as Mohammed in parts of the movie and Washington in others. I laughed.

Gioia Scola, working under the name Marie Fields, does a good job as Dr. Cathy Collins, the scientist/researcher that figures out that they’re fighting against people from Atlantis. Scola plays Rollins as both a super smart scientist/researcher and kind of a ditz, which seems like an odd combination but it all somehow works. Her pacifism is weirdly hilarious because you know that she isn’t going to be all about that when the movie is over.

And Bruce Baron is evil personified as Crystal Skull, the leader of the post-apocalyptic biker gang army from Atlantis. Take one look at him in his crystal skull helmet and you’ll see it.

Image Credit: Regency Productions

Raiders of Atlantis is a terrific low budget Italian sci-fi action flick. It’s a movie that fully embraces its weirdness and goes for broke from beginning to end. If you’re a fan of low budget Italian genre cinema you absolutely need to see it. If you’re a B-movie nerd you definitely track it down and check it out. I’m both, so Raiders of Atlantis is a kind of cinematic perfection. It’s exactly what I want out of a low budget Italian sci-fi action flick. I loved it.

See Raiders of Atlantis. See it, see it, goddamn see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Lots.

Explosions: Multiple, big and small.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: Miami, Florida 1994, a cruise ship, attempted house infiltration, grappling hook hooey, neck breaking, chloroform hooey, knife to the gut, white body bag hooey, body transferring, boat trip hooey, beer drinking, chopper hooey, an offshore oil rig, artifact hooey, a submarine, a hidden vault, a crystal skull mask helmet, an electrical disturbance, sudden dart through the neck, a post-apocalyptic biker gang army appearing out of the blue and killing two people for no apparent reason, rough seas, an ear splitting noise, vodka hooey, a destroyed town, dead bodies hanging from light posts, a horse, group jogging, bow and arrow attack, arrow to the chest, religious freak out hooey, sword to the gut, machete to the head, machine gun attack, flaming arrow attack, grenade attack, a dead body hogtied to the top of a car for some reason, decapitation, a blown up drug store, Molotov cocktail attack, man on fire, lots of shooting and explosions, another man on fire, flamethrower attack, a serious woman on fire gag, gas bomb attack, shovel attack, arrow through the mouth, motorcycle hooey, chopper attack, exploding chopper, multiple exploding cars, chopper stealing, an island out in the middle of the ocean, multiple grenade attacks, jungle booby traps, a rotting dead body, more machine gun attacks, bullet to the right shoulder blade, bullet to the head, crystal skull helmet smashing with glass shard to the forehead, statues that shoot lasers, wind attack, more chopper hooey, and a wonderful ending.

Kim Richards?: None, at least not on screen.

Gratuitous: Miami, Florida 1994, Oliver Onions opening titles song, grappling hook hooey, an oil rig, old photos of ancient civilizations and whatnot, coffee, Cold War hysteria that in retrospect is hilarious since the movie takes place in 1994 and the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 in real life, Interstate 395, miniatures, talk of a spinach dinner, Christopher Connelly jumping into a room and rolling on the floor for no reason, a hanging dead body that keeps hitting the side of a jukebox, Molotov cocktail hooey, talk of a gang massacre, flamethrower hooey, multiple people on fire gags, multiple choppers, an island out in the middle of the ocean, jungle booby traps, a story about Argentina that we don’t hear about, bullet to the right shoulder blade, crystal skull helmet smashing with giant glass shard to the forehead, wind attack, and more talk about a spinach dinner.

Best lines: “What’s happening? Not a hell of a lot,” “How’s it going, Washington? How should I know, my name is Mohammed!,” “It’s got to be Bill Cook,” “I’ve brought you some coffee,” “The biggest trick has been keeping the Russians in the dark,” “My God! It’s happening!,” “I’ll be damned. Bill Cook,” “Don’t you ever quit? I find work relaxing,” “It’s terrible, Mike. It’s like living something unreal,” “Look for something useful!,” “Hey! Bullets!,” “You really don’t have to worry because I’m a woman. I’m not so weak,” “I didn’t want to kill. I didn’t want to kill,” “Interceptors?,” “I’m really a Tasmanian devil,” “Like I said. Suicide. Here we come,” “It’s our sub!,” “I prefer Polish!,” “Bill! Bill! Don’t leave me in this hole alone!,” “Mike. Better take your money back,” “Kill that sumbitch!,” “Mike! They’re coming back!,” “Better get out of here! Things are getting bad!,” “It’s going to be tight! It’s going to be tight!,” and “Well, now are you going to ask me out for that spinach dinner?”

Rating: 10.0/10.0



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Image Credit: Full Moon Features

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B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Raiders of Atlantis

Christopher Connelly– Mike Ross
Gioia Scola– Dr. Cathy Rollins (as Marie Fields)
Tony King– Mohammed/Washington
Stefano Mingardo– Klaus Nemnez (as Mike Miller)
Ivan Rassimov– Bill Cook
Giancarlo Prati– Frank (as John Blade)
Bruce Baron– Crystal Skull
George Hilton– Professor Peter Saunders
Mike Monty– George (as Mike Monti)

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Ruggero Deodato (as Roger Franklin)
Screenplay by Tito Carpi (as Robert Gold) and Vincenzo Mannino (as Vincent Mannino)

Distributed by Prism Entertainment, Video Treasures, Mill Creek Entertainment, Sinister Cinema, Trans World Entertainment, and Severin Films

Runtime– 98 minutes

Buy it here or here