Posts Tagged ‘Sword a’

Let this be a lesson to you all: Never judge the quality of the movie or its level of fun by trailer. Especially when it is B movie from ’80s. Don’t repeat my mistake. I had certain expectations from this one. Entire WM crew had. By expectations I mean good possibility that this movie is watchable and of high amount of fun. How wrong we were. “Hawk the Slayer” is, without any doubt, the most dull and boring of all barbarian movies and it sets sword and sorcery genre centuries back.


As it is often a case in such kind of movies this one also starts with “disclaimer” about story of heroic deeds and eternal struggle between Good and Evil. After that, cliches start running rampant. We see evil one-eyed Voltan (played by Jack Palance) demanding some key of some magic tower from his father (though Voltan is obviously much older than his father). Of course, this one refuses to give the key to spawn of evil so Voltan impales him with his sword and runs away. A moment later younger son Hawk (played by John Terry) arrives just in time to hear about prophecy being fulfilled and other gibberish from his dying father. Things that Voltan was looking for were right under his nose. If he aimed higher he would strike a pouch under his father’s neck. That pouch contains mind-stone which, combined with sword that hangs on the wall, creates mighty Sword of the Mind. Such sword can fall into your hand if you think about it (or run the movie backwards). Hawk takes the sword and swears vengeance upon his older brother. In that moment poorly drawn hawk flies out of Hawk’s stomach releasing a sound of a screaming woman and that’s the sign for opening credits to bust in. I would say that demented people from Chips Productions and demented director Terry Marcel have never even seen or heard hawk.

Is it a bird, a plane. No, its nothingIs it a bird? A plane? No, it is nothing!

Voltan works with dark sorceress who heals his scalded side of face with eye-drops made from special crystal. But those crystals are quite expensive. He also becomes the Dark one which gives him the power to burn villages and kills women and children. One man evades slaughter of his village and seeks a refuge in monastery led by nuns. Nuns saved him but they couldn’t save his hand. While he was in delirium we learn that his name is Ranulf (played by Morgan Shepard). Anyway, on one night Voltan busts in monastery of Cantenberry, where his son Drogo (played by Shane Briant) slaps nun while his father kidnaps Mother Superior Abbess (played by guest star Annette Crosbie). He demands a ransom of 2000 gold pieces. So nuns send Ranulf, who btw got shot with knife during kidnapping, for help to Holy Fortress. Of course, High Abbot refuses to pay the ransom. Instead he decides to wage a war against Voltan. But with what? Or with who? With a bunch of nuns? With one-handed old man? No, with a holy warrior who had already fought many times on the side of Light. You guess who might he be?


Ranulf sets off to another voyage in search for Hawk. And wherever is injustice Hawk will be there, riding through same forest while ripping off The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars. First one he had saved is some old Witch (played by Patricia Quinn). In return she foretells him a future and reveals that one-handed man is searching for him. Well, Hawk didn’t need to wait for long to find Ranulf since he saved him from being a target in throwing axe contest. Oh that scene you should see. Or shouldn’t? Hawk enters the contest against two thugs. While they are on Mexican standoff Hawk impales one thug with his mind-sword and then kills the other thug with his own throwing axe! Tremendous reflexes indeed, especially when you take into consideration the fact that both thugs have thrown their axes in same time. Ranulf and Hawk then join together in journey. Hawk reveals to Ranulf that Voltan had killed his fiancee when they were younger. Though, Voltan looks old even in Hawk’s flashback.



In order to fight Voltan they need to assemble a crew. But even that couldn’t be done in more ordinary way such as plain seeking, observing and healthy decisions (non-existence of budget, dialogue creativity and actors probably had something to do with that). Hawk and Ranulf went back to the witch cave where she teleports them to persons they need to save. In return those persons will join their cause. At the end of day Hawk had a gang consisted of following colorful characters: Gort the giant (played by Bernard Bresslaw) who isn’t a giant at all; Elf archer Crow (played by Ray Charleson) with false kid-made pointy ears who possess multi-fire bow; and dwarf Baldin (played by Peter O’Farell) who looks like Black Adder from season 2 and uses whip for fighting and catching a fish. Together they are making the most powerless group in the world of sword-and-sorcery while in the same time they manage to rip-off much better movies such as Seven Samurai and even Sevano’s Seven.
For test, the group decides to free the slaves and rob 2000 gold pieces from slave master. In that fight we can see full scale dementia of producers, directors and actors. Crow’s bow besides multi-fire has rapid-fire mod as well (which is shown by fast repeating short sequences of scene). And Crow is not the only one. It seems that Ranulf has found ancient Chinese repeating crossbow schematic we have been hearing about since he accomplished high rate of fired bolts in just couple of seconds. Remember, he is got only one hand. Tho, I didn’t notice bolts storage that crossbow should have. Anyway with such two mighty warriors who need the rest? Hell, Crow himself could solo entire Voltan’s army (consisted of his retarded son and couple of drunken thugs) with his mighty bow.



Drogo, wanting to prove his worth to Voltan, goes alone to monastery to pick up the ransom money. There he finds an obstacle called Hawk. Drogo puts every drop of his acting talent he could muster (and there aren’t many) in one hilarious line said to Hawk: “I am no messenger but I will give you a message….a message of DEATH!” Fight commences, and in couple of seconds it is over, mostly thanks to both bow and crossbow working in rapid-fire mode. Drogo escapes but he is badly wounded and later he dies on Voltan’s arms.


Kill the messenger!

Now is the time for counter-attack. Hawk and his crew, with the help of the witch, tried to rescue Abbess but they were repelled. It is Voltan’s turn to act now. With the help of one scared, betraying, backstabbing nun he storms the monastery and captures entire crew, demanding to know where the gold is hidden. He kills Balding while being in blind rage because dwarf kicked him in his scalded side of the face (Hawk’s fiance scalded him with a torch as we later learn in one of the many flashbacks) and runs back to dark sorceress. Witch takes that opportunity to rescue them and after some rapid-fire fight the final duel takes place in monastery. Best part of the movie is there too. When Voltan sees sword of the mind on work he says “So, you have found the power which is rightly mine!” Jack Palance doesn’t get much lines here same as others but at least he acts them for more than it’s worth. Anyway, final battle is rather short (I believe they already spent entire budget on repeating crossbow and bow shots). Hawk kills Voltan with punch in the belly in slow-motion fight (?) and that should be the happy end. Or is it? Dark sorceress takes Voltan’s body from chapel and flies away with it, witch foresees new future for Hawk and poorly drawn hawk once again flies out to our face while screaming like a woman. Have they no shame?



Conclusion: One of the strange things about this movie is that it was intended for children. Hence there is not a drop of blood shown, tho I suspect the real reason is not having enough budget to buy bags of ketchup. Overall this movie is a dull, lethargic, soul-crashing piece of British sword-and-sorcery attempt. I can say, with being 100% sure, that the only DECENT thing here is role of Jack Palance as Voltan. Everything else deserves to be thrown to history’s scrapyard, then smashed into cube and finally burned. Rapid-fire bows and crossbows? I mean WTF was that??? My misunderstanding reaches even higher level when I take into consideration how many good movies “Hawk the slayer” attempted to rip-off. By story developing this movie looks like the final episode of Black Adder season one, tho it is much less quality and serious.

Trivia: Sequel named “Hawk the Hunter” is announced for year 2015. Let us all join in prayers that it never comes to that. Do whatever you can to stop this. Organize charity for buying off the rights for this movie, bug people at their homes, start petition on, burn Chips Productions to the ground….