Posts Tagged ‘Tarzan’

The last film of the Ator trilogy (things  get a bit complicated so it can also be considered a third of the quatrology) Ator: The Iron Warrior is what I would consider the most mind boggling of the bunch. While first two films: Ator The Fighting Eagle and Ator: Blade Master  were relatively straight Italo-Sword and Sorcery films (made by Joe D’Amato  just in time to cash in on the whole Conan The Barbarian craze of the 80’s).

D’Amato being a true cinema exploitator in heart  gave up on the further sequels when he found out there will be no Conan 3. So, the third Ator was instead directed by Alfonso Brescia (under the pen name Al Bradley) who changed the direction of the franchise into a more art house and psychedelic territory- sometimes to it’s own detriment.



Film begins with young Ator playing with his twin brother Trogar (this of course completely contradicts the story of him being adopted as a baby). Trogar ends up kidnapped by an evil redhead witch Phaedra. Now, next thing we know Phaedra ends up imprisoned for her crimes (I’m guessing not just the kidnapping because they sentence her to 18 years).  Also sorcerers hold her in a hula-hoop shape prison while they announce their verdict. I guess magic hula- hoop is the only way to contain a powerful witch (you learn something new every day).

This looks suspiciously like a 80’s synth- pop video!

Now, from the exchange between Phaedra and the good witch Deeva (black lady with a giant hair, previously seen in The New Barbarians) we learn that one of the twins was prophesied to protect the future of newborn princess Janna (so Sleeping Beauty kind of a deal?)  Anyway, 18 years later Phaedra returns without an ability to kill but with a mysterious warrior dressed in red and black with a metallic skull mask to do her biding. Who could that be? I wonder…

Once released Phaedra‘s fist order of business is to destroy the life of the young princes (Savina Gersak, a famous Yugoslav actress at a time) as much as she can. I also noticed that princess has one eyebrow colored in red– I guess that was the style at a time? She starts by making a scene in the court and the princess even treats her kindly! That doesn’t really stop her thou. Iron Warrior makes an epic entrance and starts destroying everything and everyone on his way. Princess somehow manages to run away but the King ends up speared six ways ’till Sunday.



Ator ( now with a darker and braided hair and wearing something that looks like a medieval version of a Mad Max costume) aimlessly wandering the lands  finds Princess Janna and saves her form the evil dwarf- like creatures  and confronts the mysterious Iron Warrior for the first time. Fight ends in a draw.  He decides to help Janna defeat Pheodra and regain her rightful place in the kingdom. Phaedra keeps performing her tricks like placing an impostor claiming to be Janna’s father, the deceased King or trapping them in a haunted castle.

I especially like the part when he throws a spear at him, and he catches it and throws it back…

Eventually Ator and Janna manage to find sorceress Deeva in her cave and she sends them to an island that has risen from the waves. There they must locate a gold chest, but Phaedra tricks Deeva, imprisons her and  then takes her place. Two of them don’t really figure out the switcheroo, at least not in time.  When Ator finally figures out that something is terribly wrong he goes on offensive and kills almost the whole army of the Kingdom. Witch just keeps pranking him and after his mighty sword proves ineffectual he decides to switch things up and sticks a torch in her mouth!? Didn’t see that one coming!

Take that you evil witch!

Now, when it seems that he finally saved the day Ator frees Princess Janna (yes, she has a habit of being captured all the time ), and she hugs him but then she does that evil stare into the camera, like she is possessed or something. That kind of faux- horror ending just seems out of place in a story like this.

She’s evil, EVIL!

Verdict: Now what Brescia does manage to achieve is the strange dreamlike atmosphere that is omnipresent in the whole movie . And it’s usage of strange angles and  frequent use of  slowmotion are somewhat ahead of time. Unfortunately, bizarre editing will often leave you scratching your head wandering what the hell just happened so any moments of actual excitement are few and far between.

Aftermath: D’Amato was by all accounts displeased how Ator 3 turned out and he publicly said that he doesn’t consider it a part of the series. So he personally took back reigns with the Ator 4 aka Son of Ator aka  Quest for the Mighty Sword and that movie is fascinating story all by itself. Noted for the absence of series lead Milles O’Keefe (replaced by his “son”, burly Eric Allan Kramer) but also for it’s usage of a Hobgoblin costume taken directly from the set of the infamous Troll 2! If fact that prompted the movie to be released as Troll 3 in Germany making it unlikely sequel of two different franchises! You don’t see that happening every day.

This will show everybody!

Thanks and acknowledgments: This is dedicated to our German friend who keeps reading and supporting (especially our Sword and Sorcery posts), people like you make it all worthwhile.





One of the uncommon combos of genre fiction is a Western/ SF combination. Probably because it’s still to be shown profitable for the big companies (see Outland, Firefly or BraveStarr cartoon)
Yet that doesn’t stop the occasional filmmaker from trying and in this case use it as a twist on the tried and true Road Warrior post- apocalyptic genre.

esfrsocyqrabbigHowdy, people!

Long haired lone gunman Joe Lara (Tarzan: The Epic Adventures) finds a dying man in the desert. Inquiring him about his predicament he finds out that he was shot by “Death Riders” (good name for a metal band). He finishes the man off (so he doesn’t have to suffer any more) and sets on his way. On a cool steam-punkish bike of course.

In the meantime we have Death Riders led by General Quantrill ( played by legendary B actor Brion James) pillaging a New Hope settlement (something horrible has to happen when you name it that way). After a massacre General claims New Hope as a United Regime post. No one complains.

Steel  General gets a bit emotional!

Yuma eventually crosses paths with some of the United Regime and it results in some awesome Mad Max racing. They eventually do catch him but he impresses them with his gun-slinging skills enough to get himself hired. He then goes through a grueling initiation process in which he is branded like a cattle and beaten to a bloody pulp.





That same night he saves a young and beautiful blonde widow from a dirty redneck with his fantastic poker skills (almost good as his shooting). That doesn’t stop the redneck for trying to rape her the next day but that’s where things get a little crazy. Her kid shoots redneck’s friend disturbed John Lennon looking-dude and he completely loses it. Thankfully Yuma appears and engages in a fistfight that lasts long enough for a widow to grab a gun a shoot the man herself. Yuma doesn’t seem to happy about it but he prepares for the inevitable.



Death riders figure out that Yuma is responsible for their dead compatriots and after a short staring contest all hell brakes lose. Some of the townspeople embrace this as an opportunity to rebel  against the Union and join up. Giant Death rider played by Kane Hodder (best known as Jason Vorhees) even snaps a random woman’s neck. Using his robot bike (also equiped with Gatling gun) and his uncanny prowess with a revolver Yuma menages to turn the tide in his favor but he still ends up in a fist fight with Hodder and that’s not an easy task for any man.


Beaten and bruised Yuma is dragged to the airplane(!?) where the widow lives and there he heals himself with a screwdriver-looking thing.  General Quantrill completely loses his shit when he hears what happened organizes an all out attack on New Hope. In normal case they would burn the town to the ground but Yuma organizes the townspeople and menages to surprise them.It all ends with a drag out chase featuring a school bus!!! After a nasty crash both of them reach of their guns and it ends something like this…

STEEL_FRONTIER_1995.mp4_005725986We’ll all miss you Brion James!

Yuma finally reveals that he is a bounty hunter, he takes Quantrill’s corpse on his bike and rides off leaving his love interest and her son all alone and confused. I guess loner’s got to be alone, right?

Verdict: Like the many movies before it Steel Frontier fallows the blueprint of A Fistful of Dollars/ Yojimbo to a T and this does get boring at times. Still the cool characteristics of Spaghetti Western are all there- wide shots, dramatic close ups and atmospheric soundtrack too (with a distinct mile-eastern flavor for good measure) and for a B movie it’s tight, fast moving and filled with  action and in truth that’s all you can expect.

So if you’re a fan of Mad Max and/ or Clint Eastwood flicks you should give it a shot.

Trivia: Beside being a model and an actor Joe Lara is also a singer/ songwriter and he published his first album album in 2009. You can see the video right here.

After a slew of Chuck Norris movies, Ninja movies and a Ninja movie with Chuck Norris Cannon Inc. bravely decided to experiment with a wining formula and produce a lush fantasy epic set in the Arthurian times with no one else but Sir Sean Connery himself as he main antagonist. Now, Sean is a fascinating human being- that man doesn’t do anything half-way, it’s always win or lose, brilliant or terrible when he is concerned!  The mere fact that you’re here proves in which column this one goes to.

Story is interestingly enough based on 14th Century poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” Based in the sense that it has the same name and nothing else.

Sir Gawain book

Shame on you Tolkien, shame on you…

Movie starts with the He- Man music and a young blacksmith showing of his chiseled physic and homosexual haircut (so it’s He- Man all the way I guess). The grand feast starts in the court but King Arthur is not amused. Even though he is old as a bible he demands some action!Prolonged time of peace left his knights obese and useless. But fear not- sound of storm approaching and a strange green light promise something of a challenge.

None other but Sir Sean Connery rides into the hall, with a black face, glitter, green plastic armor and fuzzy hair. Strangely King doesn’t seem to be amused by that. Sean aka The Green Knight demands the good sport(?) He takes his axe and after demonstrating the incredible sharpness of the blade he seeks a man brave enough to try to hack his head off with it. If he survives he demands a chance to return the favor. All fair, right?

At this point all those brave knights decided they have something else to do, mostly concentrate on the same spot on the floor and be really, really quiet. Knowing that it’s now or never young blond blacksmith decides to take a chance and make his king proud. King is overjoyed that he has at least one champion to represent him among the fat slobs he is surrounded with and hastily proclaims the boy Sir Gawain. Unfortunately that doesn’t change the fact that the boy looks like he’s going to piss himself any moment so let’s say he’s got a long way to go in the heroing department.

Gawain successfully beheads Connery but he completely fails at shutting him up. With immortal words “My body… come to me my body” Sean calls forth his remaining parts and after easily reattaching his head start laughing like a maniac.




…and the body came.

Gawain realizes that he made the biggest mistake of his (presumingly short) life. Seeing how pathetic Gawain is Knight spares his life, at least for a year- giving him time to grow beard and answer the mysterious riddle. After that he disappears and King finally amused decides to finally continue the feast.

Next thing you know Gawain, now a knight in a (literally) shining armor with his (ironically) bearded assistant starts his epic quest. Quickly he find out that it’s not easy to pee when you have a ton of armor on but the assistant hands him the can opener (I kid you not!) and all problems are solved. Then he sees a pony unicorn and decides to do what any valiant knight would do in that situation- TO FREAKIN’ KILL IT WITH A CROSSBOW! Thankfully the animal escapes never to be seen again.

Bit disappointed they keep going and end up in a tent of a sexy witch! She offers many pleasurable things to the knight but he seems more interested his quest thingie so she sends him to fight the evil black knight (who makes robot-like noises for reasons unknown). After defeating the evil robo- knight in a sloppy battle in the swamp he heads to his city the mysterious and beautiful city of Lioness.  Showing (finally) some signs of chivalry he brings the wounded guardian inside the city walls he returns the black knight to the city too, but the guardian (in fact not the robot!) felt a bit leas chivalrously and commanded soldiers to kill the young knight where he stands. No good deed goes unpunished, right? He tries to run for it but it seems they seal the city walls and our young knight fate seems doomed. But NO, young princess, also possessing a magical powers instantly falls in love with him and saves him by rendering him invisible!!! Didn’t see that one coming!




Another fine example of medieval fighting arts!

She tries to hide her new found love but her old witch queen- mother finds him and decides to marry him ASAP after depositing of her last husband. He again runs for it, now with the princess but they end up separated. Meanwhile The Green Knight found out the Sexy Witches  scheming and punishes her, not in the usual Sean Connery back-fist slap manner but rather with a green beam from his finger- that transforms her into a small red porcelain frog, the kind you can maybe find in a Chinese Shop or somewhere like that.

Green Knight01

Happens all the time!

Then he blows a terrible wind which takes our hero miles and miles away just in time to meet a ex thief- now a priest and a mighty wizard that’s also a dwarf.


Connery blows,  not the way you think so though…

Dwarf wizard summons a mummy knight (hmmm, first time I’ve seen one of those too) from the sarcophagus but Gawain destroys it easily. He continues down the wizard’s cave and exists into the City of Lioness- again! It’s just that all the kingdom have grown old, crumbling and covered in  cobweb (including his love). He takes her into his arms, moves her to some small shack in the woods and she comes to life again! Oh, the good forest air truly does miracles for the health!

Now it’s obviasly time for gratitude sex scene. No, it seems not! Gawain looses himself in the woods for a moment- just long enough for a procession of knights to appear out of thin air lead by *The Evil Fat Ginger and his king Peter Cushing (Dr. Van Helsing himself)!


Gingers now & then

Gawain seems slightly disappointed to lose the love of his life and organizes the heist of his darling soon afterwords. Unfortunately he fails and Lady of Lioness seemingly dies in the fire? Heartbroken he finds a way to the neighboring kingdom who are of course in conflict with those that held his lady captive. He looses conciseness and is nursed to health by… Lady of Lioness! We can safely assume that his whole noble quest was a bad mushroom trip at this point.



After regaining his strength he realizes that his borrowed year is over and that he must finally confront The Green Knight. His lady awards him with a sash (?) and he rides out to meet his fate. His bearded squire joins him out of nowhere ’cause “he knew the day”. On the battlefield he is surprised by the evil redheaded dude who want’s to settle the score with him and they engage in a duel. Duel somehow escalates into a full on battle between the two kingdoms and Gawain finally menages to stab the annoying bastard thru the heart. Evil Peter Cushing is disappointed and heads back to this castle. And then out of nowhere- The Green Knight appears! He invites him to the Green Chapel( sounds like an offer you can not refuse). He says goodbye to his friends and fallows the Green Knight.

Once in the Chapel he trembles before the blade (fallowed by terrible synth sound effects) but finally finds the courage to meet his maker. But then the mysterious scarf that his Lady gave him saves him his life and he joyfully engages in a short and bloody battle in which he stabs Sean to death. “The full circle of the year is done…” he proclaims boldly and then dies by drying away like a plant left without the sunlight and water for way too long. We almost catch a glimpse of the message that the director tried to get across here, almost… He returns to the battlefield and finds Lady of Lioness waiting for him there. Lady being joyful as she is instead of giving him a kiss, a hand or anything – turns into a dove and flies away thus trying to let us know she symbolizes the force of nature like the Green Knights himself. A Passable idea yes, but catastrophically realized to the point of idiocy.

Verdict: He went from one kingdom to the next, traveled, fought, fell in love and lost his love, fought some more and experienced many things in life. That (at least in theory) provided him with tools to survive the final confrontation with  the Green Knight aka solve his riddle. Yet, after all those things he was still incapable to grow a beard and looked  absolutely the same- as a pathetic gay ass He- Man ( not really the most straight character) ripoff and for that alone he deserves to be slain!

To be truthful The most impressive thing about this movie is how manly Sean Connery managed  to look despite the fact that he was  painted in brown, scattered with glitter, wearing plastic green horns on his head and wore a costume that had a something of a man’s boob window on the chest! But in the end we shouldn’t’ really be all that surprised- that man managed even to look manly in a wedding dress as this completely unrelated photo shows.

Manlier in a dress than you’ll ever be in your regular clothes… ’nuff said!

A (nice) bit of Trivia: Miles O’Keeffe (Gawain) continued his string of long haired, barbarian looking characters with the incredible Ator, the Flying Eagle franchise(more on that at later date), as well as a mute version of Tarzan, you know the version that has Bo Derek as Jane getting naked and captured as the main selling point of the film.

Director Stephen Weeks actually made this film two times!!! First one  in 1978, and of course both version failed financially as well as critically.

Sir Sean Connery was incredibly dedicated in his involvement in this film even though he had to make another one, a Bond film at the same time (Never Say Never Again)! Still he found the role of Green Knight so intriguing he spent free time from the Bond shoot filming his scenes in The Sword of the Valiant.

Director was originally adamant in having Mark Hammil (of Star Wars fame) as Gawain, far FAR superior actor for the role but in their infinite wisdom the gods of Cannon Films Yoram and Globus decided that Miles is the right man for the job and quite possibly killed any chance of success that this film had with this simple decision.