Apocalypse Warrior is one of the lazier apocalypse movies considering the lack of everything.
Published on April 6, 2023
Rating 1 /5
Apocalypse Warrior has the look and feel of a filmmaker who looked around an abandoned and graffitied rural landscape and thought, “Hey, this is like a post-apocalyptic movie.” A movie was then quickly assembled around these barren locations. While there’s a decent story idea of one man on a mission to save his wife in a harsh world of limited resources, this picture doesn’t put in the legwork to make one believe in its setting and premise.
Before getting to the lacking production design, the story needs to be addressed. It’s not the worst idea for an adventure, as the narrative focuses on a warrior striving to save his sick wife. Doing so requires a six-day trek to seek out the medicine he needs. It’s a small but suitable platform for the movie’s promise of delivering on various encounters of roving gangs and mutants that litter the wasteland.
The problem is that the film is lacking in believable dialogue and acting to sell the dire nature of the environment. Every character speaks in a highly expositional tone, speaking directly about everything they’re feeling and what every exchange is meant to mean. While a genre such as this doesn’t require the most robust of subtle writing, it also doesn’t need a lot of fat in the dialogue to explain itself constantly. It also doesn’t help that the actors don’t seem to be into this movie, either. One of the first vibrant characters of this apocalyptic setting is a woman with a skull decently painted around her face to create the look of someone who is dangerous and occult-like. Sadly, she is shot in even daylight and speaks way too casually and uncaring about the legendary artifacts she possesses.
The setting, however, is something that can’t be glossed over. Every location doesn’t portray the grim setting of a world in decay. Considering how much the central character speaks about the before-time dying, it seems to hold up well. The many locations don’t feel like buildings crumbling amid the collapse of society. They look like dilapidated buildings that one could easily find driving around any poor Midwest state. There are no corpses on the ground, rusted vehicles, or even a wayward shopping cart titled on its side. The only way this type of movie could be compelling was if the third-act twist was about how there was no apocalypse, and the characters were just strolling about a lonely state of poor policies that ruined it. At least then the movie would feel like it’s saying more than just meandering through a rough draft of a Fallout fan-fiction.
Apocalypse Warrior is one of the lazier apocalypse movies considering the lack of everything. The lack of compelling characters, decent writing, believable environments, and even a conclusion constantly take the viewer out of the film. If the poor audio quality that continually picks up the wind doesn’t bother you, then the daylit dilapidated structures will make one feel like they’re watching a YouTube video about exploring abandoned buildings. This film should serve as proof that you need more than just a rundown town to sell an apocalyptic movie.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.