|THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER
|Copyright 1982 Sorcerer Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 15 September 2001
- Talon - First introduced as a boy, he grows into a skilled swordsman with a small army at his command. Not the sort of person you want to have swinging a ham hock at you; much less his magnificent tri-bladed broadsword.
- Alana - Feisty princess who has a very unladylike habit of kicking men in the groin.
- Mikah - Revolutionary leader that wants to free the kingdom, but first he needs to do something about looking so darn goofy.
- Darius - Joe Regalbuto! Talon's friend and second in command. You know, seeing him lustily loving women and swinging a sword was about as close to an acid trip as I'll ever come.
- Cromwell - Richard Lynch! Evil king that conquered the realm and killed Talon's parents (the previous rulers - King Richard and um, his wife). He knows the value of a good sword and apparently even composed his own marriage vows. Unfortunately his taste in armor emphasized style over substance, resulting in an untimely death.
- Elizabeth - Lead whore in Cromwell's castle. She commits hara-kiri to prevent the torturer from using her as a bargaining chip. Plus, she always wanted to be Japanese.
- Verdugo - Every tyrant needs a torturer. I imagine that the notices are posted soon after seizing power. "Wanted: large, bald, sadistic man with experience in breaking fingers and cutting out tongues." One of the bad things about this position is that the prisoners always get loose eventually and guess who they are gunning for...
- Xusia - Richard Moll! A powerful sorcerer raised from the dead by Cromwell and goaded into using his black magic to destroy King Richard's army. Everybody is standing in line to stick a blade between his ribs (in fact, Cromwell has already done so and gotten back in line for another try).
- Machelli - Advisor to Lord Cromwell, but actually Xusia in disguise! Was I the only one who didn't see that coming? *Cough*
|Sword and sorcery movies have a number of things going for them. First there's the fact that women simply didn't worry about clothes in the old days unless the temperature demanded them. Second is that the writer's and director's imaginations can run free. Which leads me to a conclusion: forget John Malkovich, I want to get inside Albert Pyun's head and look around.
Xusia has lain dead for a thousand years when Lord Cromwell and his retainers break into the burial cave. No traps or magical wards impede their progress and soon they gaze upon the tomb where the greatest practitioner of black magic who ever lived is interred. Why didn't somebody at least cast fireball - contingency - permanence or something? Makes you wonder if Allanon, Gandalf, and Belgarath are sleeping on the job.
A witch was brought along for the sole purpose of resurrecting the sorcerer. Her chanting annoys the creature (Xusia looks like Richard Moll crossed with an iguana) and he rises up, cleaning the hot wax out of his ears and looking generally unhappy. Cromwell then provokes the mage into a demonstration; the resulting slight of hand causes the witch's heart to burst from her chest. It flies across the room and Xusia catches it like a pulpy baseball. Wondering why her ribcage didn't prevent the sudden cardiac desertion won't help, because it's magic.
Armies, led by Cromwell, stream into King Richard's domain. With noxious spells to aid them, the invaders easily destroy any opposing forces and soon approach the capital city. The sorcerer is no longer needed after turning the tide so favorably and Cromwell stabs him. Xusia escapes by leaping off a cliff.
Here is where the good king makes an interesting strategic choice: he meets the attacking horde upon the field. Why not force them into a siege? It's one way to even the odds and Cromwell seems to be a jerk; maybe an ally will send forces to Richard's aid. What does happen is that Talon gets to see both his parents (the queen was a little slow fleeing and Darwin noticed) slaughtered. Armed with his father's extraordinary sword, the lad breaks free of the skirmisher's, escaping to fight another day.
The weapon used by Talon deserves special mention. Along with being a substantial broadsword, it has not one, but three blades! My arms and shoulders get tired just looking at the monstrosity. Then there's the fact that it can fire two of the blades and impale opponents at a distance! Apparently this works on compressed air (like a Nerf gun!) and Talon somehow procures sufficient replacement blades to make the system feasible.
Once again, I want a look inside Albert Pyun's head. Safely protected by a reinforced shark cage just to be prudent.
Years pass and things are once again stirring in the subjugated kingdom. Mikah and Alana have secretly organized a rebellion; the time has come for action. It seems everyone and their mother knows about the uprising though, even the barkeeps blab about it to patrons. Predictably, the evil king bursts in and the princess flees while her brother "holds them off" (great idea, they cannot chase her if they're beating you senseless). Talon, now a mighty warrior, intervenes when a number of amorous guardsmen finally catch Alana and attempt to ruin her virtue.
With her brother imprisoned and a number of loyal followers trapped by the elite "Red Dragon Archers" the princess has great need and little bargaining room. She agrees to a night of sweaty barbarian lovemaking with Talon if he will save the day. Stopping the king's men from using peasants as targets is first on the list, so he decides to turn their fiery nature (bows equipped with propane torches) against them. Check this out: the hero dumps a single cask of oil onto the ground near the archers. Torching the resulting trail immolates twenty or thirty troops. One small cask of oil! The ground was sand too; why didn't it soak up the liquid?
Secret passages allow Talon to enter the castle dungeons and free the prince. However, in the resulting alarm, he is captured and scheduled for crucifixion on Cromwell's wedding day (Alana has the worst luck avoiding guards). Craccus and a hodgepodge force make an attempt to free their captain, but the next time we see them it is in the dungeon. Obviously that failed; not certain whether I'm talking about the rescue attempt or the budget set aside for filming it.
Cromwell has planned to kill three birds with one stone at his wedding celebration. The troublesome barbarian is to be crucified, Alana will become his queen, and assassins are posted to kill the attending monarchs from other kingdoms. Sort of a big day. Unfortunately nothing ever goes according to plan on your wedding day.
The concubines want to save Talon for some reason; they free the prisoners, who break into the armory and swarm through the fortress. Some of the other kings recognize the crucified warrior and decide war is preferable to sitting idly by while he dies (boy, talk about knowing how to win friends and influence people). Then, lastly, and make sure you are sitting down for this, Talon yanks himself free. He has six-inch spikes driven through his hands into rough timber, but he pulls them out. Starts kicking butt once Craccus throws him the sword, too.
Requisite scenes of good guys fighting bad guys occur, with the real drama playing out in a watery chamber below. Talon, Cromwell, and Xusia all square off to decide who will be the victor and Alana's lover. In a surprising plot twist, she spends the entire fight wrestling with an amorous constrictor. The victor should not be very surprising. Any guy who can uncrucify himself is going to mop the floor with those other jokers.
Oh yeah; this is another one of those movies, like Buckaroo Banzai or Hawk the Slayer, that promised a sequel in the ending credits and never delivered.
You go in the cage. Cage goes in Albert Pyun's head. You go in Albert Pyun's head. Shark's in Albert Pyun's head...
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Narrators are a natural phenomenon caused by static electricity.
- Evil tyrants do not make good gardeners.
- Never try to hide in some place called "Skull Cave."
- Torturing people can really work up an appetite.
- When falling: always try to land on either a thatch roof or topless harem girl.
- Sometimes politics involves bows and arrows.
- Sorcerers do not have nads.
- Armor made out of gold sequins might be very pretty, but its ability to turn aside a blade is lacking.
- 4 mins - What sort of decor is that? Postmodern cave demon?
- 12 mins - I don't think that a leech is the proper treatment for someone with second and third degree burns covering their body.
- 32 mins - Hey, what is making the table rise? Oh!
- 35 mins - Cromwell's troops do not seem to understand how doors work.
- 48 mins - Okay, this guard just punched a hole in the wall, but falling through a door knocked him unconscious?
- 54 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 66 mins - You cut out her tongue? Sort of interferes with her duties as the king's whore...
- 75 mins - Hey idiot; if you stop pushing the pedal with your foot then the grinding wheel will stop. Forget it, I hope the other guy grinds your face off.
- 76 mins - Idiot...
- 81 mins - Why is this shot here? Because it is cool. That's why.
- Guard: "Beat it kid or die!"
Talon: "That's a small threat. That's a very small threat."
Guard: "Why you...scum!"
- Dude: "She is to be married to Cromwell tonight..."
Mikah: "Like hell!"
Dude: "...and the warrior is to be crucified."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Narrator: "Know you now of days long past. The time when the world was young. When sorcery thrived and wild adventure was forever in the offering..."
||Cromwell: "I will allow you to live as long as you serve me. Betray me and I will joyfully send you back to rot in Hell!"
||Talon: "Now, you want me to snatch your brother from the king's dungeons for one night with you? Now, that's a slim bounty for such a task." |
Alana: "Why you bastard!"
||Darius: "Damn his heart! He goes out for a joint of beef and ends up rescuing a king's wench! Now it falls to us to fetch him."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Young Talon uses his sword to kill a pair of attackers. Just look at all the problems that this scene has! First off, the one bad guy's flail loses a head that is mysteriously reattached moments later. Second, the editing is all goofed up: Talon was intended (by the script) to kill his enemies in reverse order.
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