Wednesday, February 23, 2011
THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER
THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER (1982)
Directed by Albert Pyun
Lee Horsley - Talon
Kathleen Beller - Alana
Richard Lynch - Cromwell
A mercenary with a three-bladed sword rediscovers his royal heritage when he is recruited to help a princess foil the designs of a brutal tyrant.
The first time I saw The Sword and the Sorcerer was when my dad took me to see it when we lived in Antigua on the Navy base there. The projectionist and my dad were friends so he told my dad what new films the base was getting in every week and would invite him to watch them as he got the films ready to show. This day stuck with me as this was what really set my love of genre films firm. I was treated to a double feature that day with only my dad, the projectionist, and me in a empty auditorium of the The Sword and the Sorcerer and the far superior Conan the Barbarian. While Conan still holds up today, the The Sword and the Sorcerer doesn't fare so well but still has charm.
It's funny how you remember something from your childhood as something so special only to find out that in fact it really wasn't as good as you remember them. This film is one of those. I guess I should start by saying that the plot and story is just a mess that is impossible to understand for over half of the movie and even when it does clear up I was left wondering what just happened and when did the movie start making a little bit of sense. The first half of the movie characters show up out of nowhere then disappear just as fast, story lines start that go nowhere, and speeches are giving that are just laugh out loud bad. The camera work is just horrendous throughout most of the movie as is the direction by Pyun. As a director's job is to make a piece work, and for most of the movie it doesn't work. Now what does work really well in the movie is the music by David Whitaker, as the music seems as if it should be in a better class of film as it hits well at all the right times, from the chase through the castle to the final battle.
Now on to the acting, which is the one thing that actually saves the film from being a complete waste of time. Lee Horlsley does an amazing job playing a rouge by the name of Talon who gets involved in the affairs of a kingdom just to sleep with the princess of said kingdom. Yep, that is his whole reason for fighting. Horsley knows what type of film this is and slams the ham dial to 11 and just goes for it. In any other movie it would just destroy the character, but this isn't a normal movie. By being hammy, it just adds to the character of Talon, who is actually a prince, and just makes you root for him. This is just a performance you have to see believe. As for Richard Lynch, I have always found the man to be scary, and now I know why. It is because of this film. He sneers, he threatens, he isn't afraid to fight his own battles and you believe this in his portrayal of the conqueror King Cromwell.
While I was watching this trying to make it through the first half of the movie, it turns out I started having fun with it and I don't know why, but I went with it, and made it through the movie. From Talon's missteps to his friends poorly executed attempt at rescuing him. The good guys were just a bunch of screw ups that actually survived amazingly. For a cheap laugh watch the table scene between Talon and the Princess. Or for unintentional laughter, watch the close to 30 seconds of dead silence centered around a raised sword after a rousing speech that falls flat. Now the movie isn't good, in fact it's a lousy movie that somehow you're able to have fun with after you just forget about plot, story, direction and acting.
Sword through brain pan. Just see the picture above!
Come now, let's be off. There's a battle in the offing! We've got kingdoms to save and women to love!
Jack Tyree was killed while filming a scene of him jumping off a cliff and missed the air bags below.
Richard Moll originally played Xusia, but had to quit when the make-up contacts he was wearing started causing eye problems and had to go to the hospital due to this.
The sequel Tales Of The Ancient Empire was filmed in 2008, but was never officially released. It starred Kevin Sorbo, Val Kilmer, and Lee Horsley reprising his role as Talon.
Albert Pyun, the director, was an understudy of Akira Kurasawa