Posts Tagged ‘The Sword and the Sorcerer’

Obviously we’ve been experiencing an 80s revival of sorts for a while now (everything from Stranger Things to Motley Crue’s Stadium Tour) but this one I really didn’t expect.

We at WM are giant fans of the old school Barbarian aka Sword and Sorcery films that unfortunately aren’t really made today (what happened with that King Conan movie that we’ve been waiting for for years now?).

But, seemingly out of nowhere we now have a new crowdfunded movie The Slave and the Sorcerer– that (even in it’s title) pays direct homage to the great, late Albert Pyun– his early movie Sword and a Sorcerer and is also inspired by other 80s Sword and Sorcery flicks such as Beastmaster and another favorite of ours, Roger Corman produced Deathstalker.

Now here’s a first poster and it definitely looks close to something you could see in video store when returning a VHS tape.

When Princess Meyra is kidnapped by the evil wizard Akaris, the slave Tyrol volunteers to lead a mission to his cursed dungeon lair to save her from his clutches. Along with a band of heroes of questionable loyalties, he must battle the ancient and diabolical creatures that protect Akaris’ fortress, and overcome his devious tests. Ultimately, Tyrol must slay a dragon to save the princess, and the realm, from a reign of endless darkness.

Movie is produced by Hex Studios & Needle’s Eye production, written by Lawrie Brewster & Sarah Daily directed by Romeo Franco and staring Chris Black as Tyrol with Megan Tremethick, Jon Vangdal Aamaas, Lawrie Brewster, Richard Pate and Briony Monroe.

As always for those interested in supporting the movie on Kickstarter you can do that right here.

Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans is an example how sequels should not be made. This “masterpiece” of Roger Corman’s production (the guy should be given some sort of medal of shame) is considered to be the follow-up to 1983’s original low-budget Deathstalker (low budget = Roger Corman). But, apart from it’s  title, this movie has nothing to do with it’s predecessor. And you will see why.

Deathstalker (John Terlesky) is now completely different person, which can be seen in introduction. He seemingly infiltrated the treasure room of some old castle, followed by an almost naked blond. It appears that they are looking for something. I don’t know what exactly is he doing that since he became the king at the end of previous installment (I guess the royal paycheck wasn’t enough to him). Anyway, they notice some sort of an altar, inside which he finds red crystal.  Then, in the scene that recalls either Raiders of the Lost Ark or Conan the Barbarian, Deathstalker (which will be known as DS for the rest of this review),  takes it from an altar and puts it into his pocket. That was the sign for an army of ninjas (no, really) to attack. After he killed a couple dozens of ninjas (NO, REALLY), a woman warrior named Sultana (Toni Naples) marches in with the escort of her elite guards. Seeing that, DS decides it’s time to hit the road,  so he breaks through a shuttered window, drops to a stone bridge below, leaps onto the back of his horse, which was parked right under the bridge, and  disappears into the night. Sultana, who watched entire show from the shuttered window, just turns to her guards and yells “I’ll have my revenge, and  Deathstalker, too!”, at which point the title card “Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans” comes up with a fiery background and some really retarded music,  which sounds like it has been taken from a really bad video game.


After escape from old castle, our hero stumbles upon young woman who had been previously kicked out of the castle grounds. She was tossed out by 3 guards.  After some really retarded insults from even more retarded actress, guards decided to teach her a lesson. But, before they even started to rape or beat her (or both), DS decided that it is time to act and kicked their asses. Grateful lady in distress introduced herself to DS as Reena the Seer. DS then takes  Reena (played by Monique Gabrielle; former Penthouse Pet and later porn actress) to inn, when we see a lot of naked girl dancers, pig-man who again eats pig’s head, some of boiled pee, and more nudity. One guard bitch-slaps Reena in front of DS, and we got ourselves a good old bar brawl. Seeing the complete chaos at the inn, DS did something he does the best – escaping on the back of the horse into the night. But, this time he took Reena with himself. Eventually, they hid from the pursuers at her hut deep in the forest. There, she makes him another cauldron of boiled pee and tries to foresee his future. We notice that there  wasn’t enough budget even for her visions, since the only thing she did was looking at crystal and speaking. But those visions were enough to convince DS to  help her. She reveals to him that she is actually Princess Evie, but the evil sorcerer Jerak had her abducted and cloned, in order to take control over the kingdom. Well, she didn’t say so directly to him, but anyone with even half of brain would get a picture.

Bitchslap me

Bitch slap me, please!

Meanwhile, Sultana is at pirate den, where we can see chicks wrestling in the mud, bunch of the rough drunken guys and a lot of fluorescent barrels with “Beer” written on them using a marker (?!). She wants to hire some mercenaries to finish off Reena and DS. A lot of money is offered, so pirate leader introduces her with his the most roughness, and therefore, the most drunken boys. Shocking thing is that for one of them has been said that he was the member of Genghis khan strike force for 5 years and part-time consulter to Attila the Hun (Dafaq?). No one bothered to explain almost 800 years gap between those 2 “jobs”, but never mind that now (also, midget being dismissed by Ivan the Terrible is beyond any discussion). Ever more shocking thing is that they are drinking beer from glass mugs and glass bottles, and directors didn’t even try to hide it.

Pirates = advanced technology

Pirates – advanced technology!

Selected pirates managed to ambush Reena and DS, while they were riding through some canyon at night, attacking them using explosive arrows. After finding  a safe cover and securing the lady, DS starts assassinating each one of them with pocket knife. Each assassination is followed by out-of-place sinister synthesizer sounds. For the Coup de grâce, DS hits pirate midget with shuriken and the moment later, midget explodes, leaving the smoking pile of shits  behind him!!! What a finale!!! But wait!!! There is more!!! Unhappy because of failure, Jerak (played by John La Zar) kills the pirate leader by stabbing him through cauldron with his sword!!! Even magic can’t do that!!!

Along the way, our heroes battled the army of undead zombies but, besides completely illogical DS escape from death trap (spikes wall), nothing was the worth of mentioning. Oh yes…And during entire event, we can hear in background the music from “Saturday night fever”. What was the purpose of it, remains mystery to me. However, back in the castle, the duplicate of Princess begins to fade so she has to eat little children in order to maintain her body. I fail to see the purpose of this quick fact too, since it wasn’t mentioned again until the end of the movie. Probably it was lame attempt of adding horror elements here.


Turn left at Cimmeria!

Following the instructions Reena’s crystal ball gave to them our couple ends up captured and tied up by Amazon women warriors. Now pay close attention. Be  sure to spot FIAT 1300 parked in the upper-left corner of the Amazon village opening scene. Such an oversight is too much even for Roger Corman’s 100$  production!!! Anyway, DS reputation as womanizer is well known among the Amazon women. And that’s not a good thing for DS, since the Amazon women warriors  are feminists too. And like every good feminist they hate men. So, for his crimes against womanhood, DS will be put on trial by combat to death! But, it isn’t going to be combat with weapons and shield. That would have some sense. No, fight is going to happen at wrestling ring, where DS will fight versus HUGE  woman Gargo the Amazon. After exhausting, crippling 15 rounds of wrestling, DS wins the battle, showing mercy on the end by refusing to finish off already  knocked down woman mountain. For that he has been rewarded with wild sex with Amazon queen (played by Maria Socas). Yeah, even feminist warriors need their oven heated occasionally. With the risk of losing our woman readers, I would say that they need it much more often. But that reward has it’s price. Amazon  queen wants to be married with DS, so once again, he decides to escape. I really can’t blame him.

Royal carriage

Royal carriage?

Being jealous on Amazon queen, Reena leaves the village on her own and gets captured by Sultana, after which evil woman warrior had Reena hanged above huge  cauldron of boiling pee. Death seems to be imminent for real princess. But, DS arrives just in time (probably because he was running in fear from proposed  wedding). DS battles Sultana and kills her, saving Reena in the last moment. Following 30 minutes are just fill-up , consisted of ninjas attacking Princess Evie (with sexual results), while DS impales her duplicate with his  meat-sword, skeletal raising Sultana from dead (with sexual results), massive fight when even God himself helps DS (by sending bolt after bolt of lighting  onto our hero’s enemies), Princess Evie showing the full potential of her brain damage, and so on…

All of above mentioned events led to final battle when DS confronts Jerak in, perhaps, the most ridiculous sword fighting scene since “The Sword and the Sorcerer“.  Their battle looks like background sword fight of two extras in some other low-budget Conan the Barbarian rip-off, and I could swear that I heard the sound of of two wooden swords clashing!!! Also, we are now able to fully notice how gay Jerak actually is . Highlight of this combat is the  moment when Deathstalker, after being cornered, brakes evil sorcerer’s sword with his fist (?!), killing him and thus ending this story.
And oh yeah, he marries real princess and becomes the king (again).

It is wood, all right.

Conclusion: This movie looks like as if fans of original Deathstalker (therefore, not the brightest people on Earth), got money by begging in front of church  which they used to make a sequel, though it’s much more fun that it’s previous installment. But, not everything in this movie is as bad as it seems. For example,  colored light gels and inspired location shooting are pretty decent, providing colorful ambiance for each new area. Also, most of the sword battles are very  well choreographed. And for the end, don’t miss the outtakes over the end credits! It puts tombstone on this.

One of our most reviewed directors on our blog is by far Mr. Albert Pyun (Cyborg, Nemesis, Sword and the Sorcerer…), so naturally we wanted to have a few words with him, find out a thing or two about the classics and also see what’s he been up to these days. So, here we go!

01. I understand that you started your career working with the great Toshiro Mifune and legendary Akira Kurosawa.
What was the whole Japanese experience like and what is the most important thing you learned while working there?

I learned the value of having a hardcore work ethic and preparation. The thing I loved most was watching such a high level of talent and artistry and how they applied their skills to the smallest detail. I also enjoyed the dedication everyone, including Mr. Mifune, had to doing their best no matter the challenges.

02. It can be said that you were slightly ahead of the curve with your Sword and the Sorcerer which came out almost simultaneously with Conan The Barbarian and started a trend of Barbarian movies which lasted some years. I would love to hear about your main inspirations for The Sword and Sorcerer?

My main inspirations for The Sword and the Sorcerer were Richard Lester’s The Three Musketeers, John Milius’ The Wind and the Lion and The Baby Cart samurai series.

03. One of the of the signatures of your involvement with the film is often a combination of  kickboxing and hybrid martial arts with a post- apocalyptic backdrop. I am interested to hear how you developed that unique approach to action/adventure movies.

I know, but what’s odd is I didn’t being with great interest in martial arts or with post apocalyptic stories. I was drawn to martial arts as a lower cost replacement of firearms in my films. I was drawn to Post apocalyptic settings because they were easier to create on a limited budget. And there were no rules on how it had to look. I actually feel my current film “ROAD TO HELL” is one of the first films where I got the setting I was after without compromising for budget.

04. I find that most of your movies have a kinda comic-book quality (of course you also you directed one of the early Marvel adaptations). Did you grow up as a comic- book aficionado and if so what were/are some of  your favorites?

Yes, I grew up on all the DC and Marvel comics along with the Japanese Manga books and Tintin as well because I lived i foreign countries as a child so I was exposed to many different types of comics and books.

05.What is the favorite actor/actors that you worked with and why? And is there some actor whose work you greatly admire but you haven’t gotten the chance of working with?

I’ve really enjoyed working with all the actors for the most part.  I never really had any problems there. My favorites were likely Scott Paulin and Norbert Weisser. Both understand my sensibilities. Sasha Mitchell, Michael Pare’ and Christopher Lambert were great as well. I liked them as people immensely. The most colorful was probably Burt Reynolds and Dennis Hopper. Loved both and Ice-T as well. Jean-Claude and Steven Seagal were interesting because they aren’t actors so much as archetypes. So that was a challenge. I really liked them all as they always brought great ideas and all were very easy to work with.

06. You worked on films of many, many different genres (SF, Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary Action even Western),  do you have a favorite movie genre that you enjoy more than the others?

I love musicals most of all and sort of experimental films where I can play with form and structure.

07. I understand that you spent some time here in the Balkans. That was when you filmed Captain America, right? Can you tell us about some of your experiences here and do you plan to visit us again in near future? Especially considering the fact that a great number of foreign music videos and movies are being filmed in Serbia in the last couple of years (District B13: Ultimatum, Raven and Lockout).

Yes, I shoot a good deal of Captain America in Dubrovnik (*Croatia) and some of Adrenalin in Mostar (*Bosnia and Herzegovina). I’d love to shoot more in Serbia.

08. I believe that you are hard at work at a Cyborg sequel/ prequel so it would be interesting to hear something about the basic plot, actors involved and of course about general tone and the esthetics of the film.

I’m just trying to make something different. Something a little experimental and surreal. And, yes, like an opera. A very pessimistic film.

Thank you and all the best!