|TARKAN VS. THE VIKINGS
|Copyright 1971 Arzu Film
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 2 August 2011
- Tarkan - The fearsome Turkish barbarian. In all honesty, he looks more like a refugee from the band Queen than a resident of Hyboria.
- Tarkan's Wolves - A father and son team. Both of them are named "Kurt," which makes things confusing when one of them dies. I do believe that Kurt Sr. is the one that passes on to the happy hunting grounds.
- Yonca - Entrusted to Tarkan's protection because she is Attila the Hun's daughter. She spends most of the movie in a state of kidnap. Kidnapped? Kidder-napped?
- Ursula - A Viking princess who does not know the difference between Istanbul and Constantinople. What she does know is that she likes Turkish Delight, and I don't mean the candy.
- Orso - A massive one-eyed barbarian who is the keeper of the octopus. I know that what I just said does not make any sense to you unless it is a euphemism. Unfortunately, it's not a euphemism.
- Lotus - She is Chinese, but please don't ask me what she is doing in Turkey.
- Toro - A fiendish man whose desire to be the king of the Vikings causes most of the bloodshed. He does not look like a Viking king to me. He looks like the mascot for a brand of toilet paper. Wiped out by Tarkan.
- The Vikings - "Our loins are girded with purple bath rugs."
- The Sea Monster - A giant inflatable octopus. Yes, really.
|In realm of kitsch entertainment, "Tarkan vs. the Vikings" rivals the very best Luchador films. Not because of ornate masks, as all of these men and women proudly display their faces. Its b-movie charm comes from the incredibly goofy script, and the even more unbelievable wardrobes. The Vikings wear bathroom rugs, and I don't mean a brown rug cut up and worn as a vest. I am talking about bright purple, blue, and even orange bath rug pieces glued to helmets and worn around their waists. Those two-piece sets that include one rug for in front of the sink and another that fits around the base of the toilet? Toro wears them sewn together like they are meant to be a cape.
Hide the children! The Norsemen are here, and they're wearing their war rugs!
So the basic plot is that a renegade Viking named Toro wants to kidnap Attila the Hun's daughter as part of a plot to take control of the Viking kingdom. The princess is journeying through the Turkish lands on her way to somewhere important to Turks, and Tarkan is her escort. Toro waits until Yonca stops at a fort along the way, then the Vikings stage a surprise attack. All of the Turkish warriors are killed, with the exception of Tarkan (only wounded), and Yonca is taken prisoner with the other women.
In addition to tons of Turks (except Tarkan) dead, one of Tarkan's canine companions is also killed during the battle. The tragic death of Kurt Sr. sets the stage for Kurt Jr. to show off his acting prowess. The problem is: the dog cannot act. I know that sounds funny, but it is true. Ken Begg said it when he introduced me to this movie, I now say it, and everyone who watches this movie realizes that Kurt Jr. is one of the worst actors to ever walk on four feet.
This is not a simple case of Kurt Jr. chewing up the scenery or flubbing his dialog. When he is supposed to be mourning over his father's lifeless body we do hear a dog howling, but it is defintely not the dog in front of the camera. Kurt Jr. looks like he missed the call for "Action!" He is just sitting there panting. The canine's performance is like this for the entire movie. When the script says that Kurt Jr. will growl at his father's murderer (Toro), the dog looks like somebody off the screen is waving a stick to play fetch. To make up for this, the barks and snarls of some other dog are injected into the soundtrack.
Maybe Kurt Jr.'s problem is his bite is worse than his bark. He looks the part of Tarkan's wolf, but has a wimpy yap-dog bark so they dubbed over him with a canine voice actor.
Elsewhere, the problem that Toro has to contend with is that nobody knows which of the Turkish women is Yonca. They did not have TMZ during Attila's time, so you couldn't just Google images of his daughter. The best they probably had was charcoal drawings on treebark, which were so crude that it was hard to tell what they were supposed to be a drawing of.
Viking: "So, this is what Attila's daughter looks like. I like her teeth."
Toro: "That's a picture of my horse."
Viking: "I thought this one was your horse."
Toro: "That's my mother."
The Vikings eventually ferret out which Turk is Yonca. Meanwhile, Tarkan slowly recovers from his wounds.
Speaking of appearances and things not looking like they are supposed to look, let's discuss the hero. Based upon the cover art, Tarkan is the twin brother of Conan the Barbarian as described by Robert E. Howard and painted by Frank Frazetta. The man playing Tarkan in the movie looks nothing like that. He looks like a pink lobster wearing a silly moustache (and a bath mat). He also wears pearl eye makeup. Granted, the pearl color is an improvement over the light blue he wears in the original "Tarkan" (1969), but it still does not look particularly fearsome.
Just in case you think I am making fun of the movie based on how it looks - I am. However, I love it. Thank the All Father that these people are wearing pastel bath rugs and makeup. The movie is entertaining because of its idiosyncrasies.
Upon returning to the Viking stronghold, Toro is accosted by the king. The old Norseman is not happy that Toro has kidnapped Attila's daughter; he says something along the lines of "You shouldn't do that." Toro's response is a surprise attack that defeats the king's warriors. Captured during the battle, the king is sentenced to the most horrible death known in the North. No, not the dreaded blood eagle - I am speaking of death by octopus. The doomed person (in this case, the deposed king) is lashed to a pier near the water. Soon a monstrous eight-armed horror rises from the depths; it tears the screaming victim from the wooden scaffold and drags them into the briny deep.
That's how it looks in the script. Because this is "Tarkan vs. the Vikings," what actually happens is that a real, live inflatable octopus suddenly pops out of the water. Then we see the person screaming with latex tentacles wrapped around them as Toro laughs from atop the fortress wall. The entire octopus attack probably takes three or four minutes, and nothing about it is fooling anybody; it's glorious.
Among Toro's henchmen is a group of Chinese assassins lead by Lotus. She is both dangerous and duplicitous. Her true goal is to kidnap Yonca, so she sleeps with Toro before drugging his drink (I don't know why she did that - he would surely fall asleep soon anyway). The assassins then dispose of the Viking guards, grab Yonca, and escape in a longship. I don't know how they expect to elude the pursuit that Toro will surely order. They cannot exactly blend into the crowd. There weren't many longships with Chinese crews paddling around Scandinavia in 451.
You really need to see the scene where the Chinese assassins take out the Viking guards. The Chinese are using blowguns with poison darts. The Vikings are standing about twenty feet apart, and none of them notices when another guard suddenly falls to the ground. Even better, later on the same thing happens when Ursula's Viking women sneak into the fortress.
I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's return to Yonca as Lotus' prisoner. As it would happen, both the Chinese and Tarkan end up in the same inn. Lotus realizes that the Turk is looking for Yonca, so she pulls the same trick out of her bag. Yep, Tarkan falls prey to the Asian vixen's "tantric sex with a sleeping potion chaser" routine. Yonca is trying to get Tarkan's attention the whole time, but she is unable to make any noise due to being bound and gagged. Lotus loses several of her Chinese assassins before the Turk collapses, leaving her at a disadvantage when the Vikings finally catch up. Both Lotus and Yonca are returned to Toro's fortress.
As if the plot did not have enough going on, Ursula returns to her father's castle and confronts Toro. It goes something like this: "Where is my father?" "I fed him to the octopus." "You did what?" "I'm going to feed you to the octopus, too." "Oh, you make me so mad!" Not the sort of outcome that Ursula was expecting, for sure. She does keep her chin up, at least until the octopus pops up out of the water to eat her. Then she starts screaming. Orso, who has a thing for warrior women with long blonde hair (join the club, my friend) throws a rock at the cephalopod. The octopus deflates back into the water, allowing Orso to rescue Ursula. The Viking princess returns to her loyal band of Viking babes to plan revenge on Toro. He is like, so dead.
Tarkan meets Ursula and, finding that they both want to kill Toro, joins forces with the Viking women. They plan an attack during feast day: a regularly scheduled event during which the Vikings get inebriated and have an orgy. Once their wits are dulled by wine and their vitality drained by the no-holds-barred sex, the Vikings will be at a severe disadvantage. Now, this sounds like a pretty good plan and it almost works. Toro starts the festivities by giving a horde of Hun women to his Vikings. They all cheer, "Hooray! Fresh slaves! Let's kill and sex them!" Most get snatched up by bearded warriors who have no problem forcing themselves upon the screaming women. After they are done with them, the Vikings are just as likely to kill the slave as pass them on to another Viking. A few of the Vikings seem to have it backwards: they stab the women then start raping them.
Just what the world needs: dyslexic murdering rapists. Or is that murdering dyslexic rapists?
Even though some Vikings are on guard duty, they turn out to be just as effective as earlier (the "I'm getting ahead of myself" thing I mentioned). A huge battle breaks out in the feasting hall, but eventually Tarkan and Ursula are taken prisoner.
Having captured Ursula once more, Toro makes another attempt to feed her to the inflatable octopus. This time the Vikings dispense with the feeding ritual and throw her into the water. The octopus is on her like white on rice, but Orso (again) leaps to rescue the Viking princess. He does get her away from the eight-armed horror but is unable to rescue himself from the monster's tentacles. Poor Orso disappears under the waves.
The Vikings are really pulling a bonehead move with feeding the inflatable octopus like this. Nobody can lay on the beach or go for a swim, because the darn thing thinks that means they are food.
As for Tarkan, at first it looks like Lotus is going to kill him with her impression of Kali the Destroyer until Kurt Jr. intervenes. The merciless Chinese woman meets her doom. Instead, Toro has his men tie Tarkan to the octopus feeding scaffold. That doesn't work, because Kurt Jr. jumps into the water to attack the octopus and Yonca braves a hail of arrows to cut Tarkan free. Entangled in the octopus' tentacles, it looks Kurt Jr. is not long for this world. Incredibly, Tarkan jumps into the water to save his dog! The octopus is no match for the Turk's knife, because knives are super effective against anything inflatable.
When he gets out of the water, Tarkan makes a solo frontal attack on the Viking fortress that ends with 100% casualties for the Norsemen. What the freaking heck? There have been multiple attempts to defeat Toro, and the one that finally works is when the pink lobster goes it alone. The end. Ursula waves goodbye to Tarkan, Yonca, and the dog. The end for real.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- A flock of crows is a murder, a group of bears is a sleuth, and a bunch of Turkish women is called a squadron.
- Canine etiquette is a catch-22.
- Male pattern baldness is common in Vikings.
- Human hair is stronger than steel.
- Vikings were the original glam rockers.
- The dog is mightier than the sword.
- A trampoline can rip your clothes off.
- The official fruit of Norway is the watermelon.
- Girls, if you are a C cup, you should wear a C cup.
- 3 mins - Is it possible to be twice as invulnerable?
- 7 mins - "Sorry, my bad!"
- 10 mins - You father was just cut down like the dog he was. Emote!
- 13 mins - You need a girlfriend or, at the least, a friend with benefits.
- 17 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 52 mins - Is it siesta time or what?
- 58 mins - Forty women, two men, and poor Orso still can't get no play.
- 62 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOTS!
- 69 mins - Cheerleading practice has gone horribly, horribly wrong.
- 74 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 74 mins - She showed you her breasts. Now you must die.
- Hun: "What's this? You have two wolves now?"
Tarkan: "They are father and son."
Hun: "Your invincibility has doubled."
- Tarkan: "The day of reckoning has come, Kurt. We are going to the land of the Vikings. No Viking will be safe as we avenge your father's death."
- Viking (to Lotus): "Where is she?"
Tarkan: "Leave that woman alone!"
Viking: "Tell me where she is!"
**The sound of a clay jug breaking on a Viking's head.**
Tarkan: "I said to leave her alone."
- Ursula: "My father used to say that Turks are only comfortable in war."
Tarkan: "Your father knew us well."
- Toro: "Hear me, Vikings. Behold the female army of the Hun Turks. Take them now for your pleasure!"
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