Saturday, 20 August 2016

Film: The Archer And The Sorceress (1981)

AKA: The Archer: Fugitive From the Empire

Starring 
A guy way too old to be playing a Stripling prince.

A guy who insists on calling the guy above "Child" 
despite obvious evidence that he's on the wrong side of 30.

A guy with some majorly dramatic sidewhiskers.

Belinda Bauer in a fetching chamois leather halter top and miniskirt

A guy in black armour and a mask.

Some Mutant Turtles gone bad.

Another guy in black armour and a mask.

Yet another guy in black wearing a mask. No armour this time.

Synthy noodling in lieu of a proper score. 

George Kennedy wondering what the fuck his agent got him into. 
Maybe he had a parking fine that needed paying.  

The Story: An evil empire is about to roll over some freedom loving barbarians in furry vests. The brave chieftain Brakus (George Kennedy in a Pippi Longstocking wig) is trying to put together an aliance.

 (Personally I'm not sure why he bothered. His entire tribe could fit into the back of a minisbus. It's that low-budget.)

   Meanwhile his son Prince Toran (Lane Caudell) chases a panther into a forbidden tomb where a beautiful woman called Estra (Belinda Bauer ) first tries to kill him then changes her mind because she has a vision or something.
   Her undead mother is a bit hacked off because she wanted Toran to die horribly because his grandad is responsible for her current state of not being alive.  Estra promises that somebody will die but not right now. 

 In other developments Sandros, Brakus's weasel of a nephew (Marc Alaimo) is making a deal with the evil empire's No1 legbreaker Gar, Master Of the Lizardmen (Kabir Bedi), confirming that he's stupid as well as treacherous.  
 (You're talkmg to a guy that has pet Lizardmen, mate, his concept of honour is inevitably going to be so flexible you could use it to tie two live eels together.

 Sandros frames Toran for murdering Brakus so the young (hah!) prince and his personal tutor Mak (George Innes)do a runner. With his dying breath Brakus told his son to seek out legendary sorceror Lazar-sa you see. 
(You never see anybody say "Put pressure on there to stop the bloodflow and is there a medic handy?" in these things, do you.) 
  Mak has a nifty magic bow that shoot exploding arrows but can only be used by people the bow likes. When he gets too ill to carry on, he passes the bow over to Toran and then dies.  
 Toran gives him a  proper heroic funeral, complete with blood-oath, and this gives Gar and his snakemen time to catch up. (Pillock) Since this also gives our princeling chance to try out his new toy and blow up some green-skinned badguys, I suppose that's a win for the audience.

   On the banks of the Burning River, the fleeing prince meets gambler, rogue and obvious comic foil Slant (Victor Campos in a horrible hat.) who helps him escape. In the process Gar gets an exploding arrow in the face but since he's not a mook, he survives, albeit badly hurt and mightily peeved.

 That night Slant is about to steal Toran's bow - possibly sticking a knife in his ribs in the process - when he's dissuaded by a loud voice from thin air that tells both men to head to the city of Kamal where they will find Lazar-Sa. 
 Toran is understandably pissed off at the attempted robbery so when Slant tries to make nice, Toran tells him to do one and stomps off in a fit of pique. 

 Now might be a good time to mention that while all this was going on, Estra was sat in the bushes keeping an eye on Toran. Since she's also been looking for Lazar-Sa, she heads for Kamal too. 
 I should also mention that while Toran wants Lazar-Sa's help, Estra wants his bollocks for earrings. Him being the one that told Toran's grandad to kill her mother and all that. 

 Everybody eventually arrives in the grand city of Kamal (a small handful of building sets left over from something else.)  where everybody else seems to be leaving in haste. 
 Moments later, Lazar-sa makes his convenient arrival, blows some shit up with exploding spears, nearly kills both Toran and Estra and then sods off again, leaving the notion that he might be a good guy in the dust of his passage.
 Our heroes stick around long enough to get fed - and in Slant's case, pick up some shiny objects - before heading off to Lazar-sa's lair.  
 Hot behind them is a furious Gar and his Lizardmen, intent on hurting somebody.   

  The good guys fight their way through Lazar-sa's undead minions and because the mighty wizard is stupid enough to leave the source of his power unguarded and in plain sight, deprive him of his power and his life.

 Except it's not Lazar-Sa, just some bloke that got some magic lessons from him and decided to branch out on his own career of being a magical dick
  He dies too. Nobody cares.

  Gar arrives for the climactic punchup which involves lots of slo-mo to make up for the fact that nobody knows what they're doing and the fight choreographer just told them to wing it. 
 (Belinda Bauer may be lovely but watching her try and swordfight was worse than watching Brigitte Neilsen try to act. Yes, I'm still pissed off about the Red Sonja movie

  Lazar-sa's hideout goes bang, good guys escape, Gar's health status is left unclear for the next installment..

Hang on... next installment? 

  Yeah, turns out that The Archer and The Sorceress was a TV movie pilot for a series that never happened.   So we're left with Estra promising to see  Toran again and the whole rest of the storyline hanging in the air like a stale kebab fart haunting the khazi.

  I hate when that happens. 

Summing up: The Archer And The Sorceress is mediocre at best, without even the entertaining cheese factor of  the Italian S&S stuff of the 80s. I'm struggling to say anything positive beyond "Belinda Bauer did look good in her Chamois leather outfit" (Athough if you're a comoisseur of fantasy bikinis, check out Sabrina Siani's getup in "Throne Of Fire " instead.)

So there you go. The one thing this movie has going for it, another terrible movie did better anyway.  

Screenshot time.

I don't want to be in this movie anymore. 

Toren meets Estra.
And decides to try and cop a feel. 


Now you've done it, dumbass. 


It wasn't until Estra got out of her mum's place that she realised why she always had back problems. 

Let's play a game of "Spot The Evil Bastard"
Have you found him yet? Do you need a clue?
He's wearing black.

I'm sorry, Slant old buddy, but putting a knife-sheath somewhere where a fumble could lose you an eye seems a bit silly.
Still not the oddest thing in this scene though.  

John Candy had a brother. 
Who was a cow. 

Ouch. 

Let's have another pic of Nestra to make up for all the horrible stuff.



Hey, how'd that picture of Sabrina Siani get in there?
She's not even in this movie.

That's all folks. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Cheapo DVD Review: Triads, Yardies and Onion Bhajees (2003)

 East End gangster Mad Dave (Dave Courtney essentially playing himself) plans a job with Chacha, head of Indian gangsters The Holy Smokes: Intercept a huge cash payment coming into Heathrow, split the money and everybody goes away happy.
 What neither Dave nor Chacha know is that the 3 young Holy Smokes pulling off the job have their own plans.

  I have to admit that I bought this one for the title. Granted, it is a blatant attempt to ride on the coattails of "Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels". but some on, how many other films have Onion Bhajee in the title?

 I also wanted to see how a London Gangster film worked with Asians in the driving seat.

 The end result is an attempt to mash up Cockney Gangster movie with, Hip-Hop "Hood" movie with a side order of Arty Indie flick, and it's not a great success.

Despite using every trick in the book to look stylish (Weird colour filter, matrix trenchcoats, UK rap soundtrack, lots of guys pointing guns at each other while posturing.)  "Triads.." is a bit dull. Sorry but it is.
  It doesn't help that the acting is average at best which just makes the dialogue look even more leaden, which in turn makes sure that there's no real tension. Nobody seems particularly excited over events so why should I be?

  There's other things I could take issue with, in particular the unexpected comedy segment 3/4 of the way in. At least I'm hoping the were trying to be funny otherwise that was just weird. 

 The ending was pretentious too.

 I lost interest very quickly and ended up forcing myself to watch the rest. That's not my idea of a good movie experience.

How much did I pay for this: 50p
Was it worth it? Nope.  Full marks for trying something different but file under "Nice Idea - Shame About the Film."

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