Steve Simels of "Entertainment Weekly" gave the film a C-:
“This is a standard-grade, low-budget European B movie. The plotting is absurd (with anachronistic elements; though the film is set in the future, the Berlin Wall has not yet come down); the stars — including the still fetching Jennifer Beals and the usually cool Alan Bates (doing what seems like an eccentric imitation of Albert Finney doing Hercule Poirot) — either overact or sleepwalk; and the pacing is lethargic verging on comatose.”
Jackson Adler of "TV Guide" gave the film 3 out of 4 stars:
“Club Extinction is something of a mishmash. But it's a mostly engaging mishmash with Chabrol operating in a satirically sinister mode that should come as no surprise to his devotees... In contrast to many American genre pictures, the problems with Club Extinction stem from aiming too high rather than too low... Mostly to Chabrol's credit, the going never gets boring, no matter how many times one views it. Club Extinction is an absorbing and even amusing thriller with brains--even if it does take more brains than should be necessary to follow its helter-skelter plot.
Point of view
To begin with, I vividly recall reading the mixed newspaper review of this one when it was surprisingly released locally; needless to say, I missed it at the time and, until earlier this year, never again did I have the opportunity to check it out. In fact, it turned up – alas, dubbed – on late-night Italian TV and, though I did record it, I recently opted to acquire the English-language version…which is just as well, since two deleted scenes were included in the package! Anyway, knowing the flak the film has received (which was practically universal), I really did not know what to expect from it. However, I must say that I liked it quite a bit, while acknowledging it cannot hold a candle to any of Fritz Lang's movies revolving around the influential figure of criminal mastermind Dr. Mabuse (here, the name has even been changed to Marsfeldt!). Incidentally, the actor most identified with the role (in a revival series of 1960s low-budget efforts) i.e. Wolfgang Preiss appears here as the Chief Of Police!
Perhaps the film does at times feel like one of the many German TV cop shows which have flooded the market from the 1970s and still continue to this day, but there is no denying the grip of the narrative (which tried, but unfortunately failed, to be prophetic when the Berlin Wall got torn down only months before the picture debuted!). Equally striking is the imagery pertaining to mass suicide (the most disturbing being a child waiter in full view of the patrons at a swank and busy restaurant), media manipulation and wasted disco-crazy youth (appropriately bleak though, I concede, not all that original).
The intense performances are also a plus: particularly Alan Bates as the outwardly charming but obviously sinister Dr. M and Jan Niklas as the disenchanted yet dogged cop on his trail of terror, though heroine Jennifer Beals proves no mere purveyor of eye candy either. Indeed, Bates' occasional resort to hamminess (especially when he passes himself off as a psychedelic guru at a desert holiday resort and spouting his nihilistic credo to an incredulous, disgusted Beals and Niklas during the climax – set in the Doctor's obligatory 'control room' – all the while connected to a life-support system!) are perfectly in keeping with the fanciful goings-on. The eclectic cast also includes the likes of Euro-Cult regular William Berger, future Italian TV presenter Daniela Poggi and former "Brat Pack"-er Andrew McCarthy in small roles.
In the end, while it may fall short of Chabrol's best work, the film nonetheless makes for a thought-provoking, stylized and yet entertaining parable on our less-than-reassuring times (incidentally, its suggestion/fear of the millennium as the 'end of days' is pretty amusing at this juncture).
© Mario Gauci
Source : IMDb