Release Date(s)1983 (November 30, 2021)
Studio(s)Regency Productions/Regal Films (Severin Films)
- Film/Program Grade: C+
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: C+
Italian exploitation films were in full swing in 1983 with the release of Raiders of Atlantis (aka The Atlantis Interceptors). Director Ruggero Deodoato, who by this point was infamous for Cannibal Holocaust and The House on the Edge of the Park, helmed this sci-fi actioner. Taking bits of The Road Warrior (and perhaps allusions to Zardoz), the film’s blend of science fiction, horror, and action mixed with cheap special effects and laid-back performances make it one that genre fans appreciate more than most. The film features Christopher Connelly (Peyton Place, Manhattan Baby), Gioia Scola (Conquest, Day of Violence), Tony King (Hell Up in Harlem, Cannibal Apocalypse), Ivan Rassimov (Planet of the Vampires, All the Colors of the Dark), George Hilton (Sartana's Here... Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin, The Case of Scorpion’s Tail), and Michele Soavi (director of The Church and Cemetery Man).
Mike and Washington (Connelly and King) are a pair of Vietnam vets turned mercenaries for hire, who, after a big score, take a vacation by boat. Meanwhile, a group of scientists, including Dr. Cathy Rollins (Scola), are attempting to make sense of a relic unearthed from the ocean, which apparently came from the lost city of Atlantis. After their submarine is nearly destroyed by a sudden natural disaster, some are rescued by Mike and Washington. Back on land, a group of men and women on motorcycles roam the streets, killing everyone in their path. It’s soon discovered that they’re Atlanteans who have reappeared on land, fully intent on taking the world back for themselves. Mike, Washington, and the rest of the group must somehow fight and evade them, but also discover where they came from and how to stop them.
Raiders of Atlantis was shot by cinematographer Roberto D'Ettorre Piazzoli on 35 mm film, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Severin Films brings the film to Blu-ray with a 4K scan of an interpositive element (provided by StudioCanal). It’s a softer presentation than expected as grain and detail are splotchy, but black levels are decent and everything is stable and clean, outside of minor speckling. Everything looks better during night scenes when the master’s flaws are less obvious. Color and contrast are good as well.
Audio is included in English and Italian 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English. Neither track is better than the other, but they have their share of positive and negative aspects. The English audio has higher treble, but it’s flatter. The Italian audio is a little fuller, but sound effects are sometimes a little more robust and the dialogue has sibilance issues. The sounds of the dying Atlanteans have a nice swirling, echoey quality to them, which is a standout feature on both tracks.
The Blu-ray disc of Raiders of Atlantis sits in a black amaray case featuring the original poster artwork, which was used for most of the film’s releases in Europe, as well as the US. The following extras are included, all in HD:
- Audio Commentary with Brad Henderson and Tony King
- Ruggero and the Fate of Atlantis (20:29)
- Quest for Atlantis (12:19)
- Trailer (2:44)
The audio commentary with Vinegar Syndrome’s Brad Henderson and actor Tony King contains a few silent moments, but for the part, the conversation is energetic as Henderson questions King about his experiences with the film, but also his career in the NFL and his job as security for Public Enemy. It’s an interesting listen as King tends to dominate the conversation. Ruggero and the Fate of Atlantis features an interview with Ruggero Deodato in which he discusses making the transition from a director that everyone was afraid of to his later projects and the making of the film in different parts of the world. In Quest for Atlantis, cinematographer Roberto D'Ettorre Piazzoli talks about his relationship with Deodato after not participating in Cannibal Holocaust and reconnecting on Raiders of Atlantis, his intended look for the film, and other films that he’s worked on. Last is the film’s trailer, which is an HD recreation.
Raiders of Atlantis is not typical Italian exploitation, but at the same time it is. It’s a bizarre but infinitely entertaining slice of genre mash-up madness, with an intensely 80s theme song running throughout it to boot. Severin Films provides a nice Blu-ray release of the film with a fascinating audio commentary and a pair of good interviews to go with it.
- Tim Salmons