Director Aaron Lipstadt and writer/actor Don Keith Opper received critical praise for their 1982 science fiction B-Movie Android, starring Klaus Kinski. The film earned them a Saturn Award nomination. With that cachet, the duo worked on their second feature, City Limits.
Fifteen years from now, the world is lit by widely spaced 40 watt light bulbs and populated by people who wear weird clothes. A mysterious plague that's Only Fatal to Adults has devastated the world and left the surviving children to grow up on their own. The children have created a new society with only comic books and other old-world pop-culture as their guide. In this dystopia, your hero Lee (the cowboy guy with a cow skull helmet) decides to go to the big city (Los Angeles) to prove himself and join the most famous biker gang around — the "L.A. Clippers". He soon ends up a pawn in a battle between the Clippers and a rival gang led by the foppier brother of Alex from A Clockwork Orange.
Meanwhile Wickings (Kim Cattrall), Bolo (Norbert Weisser) and Carver (Robby Benson), part of the Sunya corporation (a group that reinvented the corporation after the apocalypse), move into town and attempt to exploit the gangs for commercial profit in an attempt to rebuild LA. "What commerce?" you ask, seeings how it's after the apocalypse and all. Well, repeat to yourself "it's just a show, and I should really just relax." Wickings tries to bring the Clippers to the negotiating table, but Bolo and his higher-ups simply stage an attack on the gang, enslaving most of them except for the few that Lee helps escape.
Anyway, Robby Benson's shady business that is selling who-knows-what to who-knows-who comes under attack once cow-skull guy convinces the assorted biker types to team up with his surrogate father Albert — played by an embarrassed James "I needed to pay the rent" Earl Jones. The Ragtag Bunch of Misfits stages a counterattack on Sunya in a finale that will shock and surprise amnesiacs and people who have just arrived on planet Earth.
City Limits contains examples of:
- After the End
- Apocalyptic Logistics: Everyone's bikes are in great shape given that it's been 15 years since the last time anyone made or distributed parts or fuel — or even been in a position to teach anyone how to perform basic maintenance.
- A-Team Montage: The Clippers pull one of these after regrouping at James Earl Jones' place.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Bolo, Carver and the Sunya corporation.
- Dog Food Diet: One of the Clippers wants to eat cat food, but the other members disapprove.
- Dynamic Entry / Shut Up, Hannibal! / Walk-In Chime-In: All three rolled up into one tidy package. At the end, the Clippers confront Carver in his office, and he lays a villain speech on them about the inevitability of someone like him. Ray (the Sixth Ranger) responds by bursting into the office on his motorcycle and ramming the desk, smashing Carver against the wall, and saying "No."
- Even Evil Has Standards: Ramos wants to defeat the Clippers, but protests when Bolo suggests a lethal solution.
- Exactly Exty Years Ago: "Fifteen years from now", or 2003 according to some taglines (which is not 15 years from when the movie came out).
- The Heavy: Bolo does most of Sunya's dirty work; Carver spends nearly all his time in an office.
- HeelFace Turn: Ray, leader of the rival gang to the Clippers that agreed to work with Sunya, but balked at how far the corporation went.
- High-HeelFace Turn: Wickings (Kim Cattrall), an honorable Sunya executive who joins the Clippers after Bolo crosses the Moral Event Horizon.
- Only Fatal to Adults: The plague that devastated the Earth only killed adults for some unknown, unexplained reason.
- Rummage Sale Reject: Standard dress code for the gangs.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Bolo, who lets out a hilarious shriek of terror at the explosive toy plane aimed at him right before it blows him to smithereens.
- Shout-Out: Two of the Clippers are named Bert and Ernie. This of course gets lampshaded in the MST3K episode.
- The Stool Pigeon: Wickings tries to blow the whistle on Bolo's unethical recruitment methods, only for Sunya's out of town superiors to arbitrarily revoke the directive against violence and forced labor and say that they are to recruit workers by any means necessary.
- Teenage Wasteland: Literally in this case. As mentioned, every adult died off due to the plague leaving only kids who have now grown into teenagers.
- Video Credits: Which remind you which of the characters survived the film by giving (Actor) is/was (Character), except for the Special Appearance credits for Robby Benson and James Earl Jones.
- Wrench Wench: Yogi (Rae Dawn Chong).