9 January 2013 | BA_Harrison
Perhaps one best left shrouded in the mists of time.
One of the first fantasy adventure flicks to cash in on the success of Schwarzeneggar's Conan, The Sword and the Sorcerer has stuck in my mind over the past 30 years thanks to its relatively high level of gore and female nudity. Unfortunately, what I couldn't remember was just how crap the less exploitative elements of the film are. Lame fight scenes, a confusing meandering plot, half-assed humour, characters with really dumb names, wooden acting, and terrible direction: they're all here in abundance.
Let's concentrate on the positives then...
Pop this one into the player and you'll be greeted by a surprisingly good opening scene in which ancient sorcerer Xusia, resurrected to help villain Cromwell (Richard Lynch) in his quest for world domination, demonstrates his power by using magic to tear the heart from a witch. Some decent splattery make-up effects easily make this one of the best parts of the whole film. Juicy!
Not much later and we get to see the film's titular sword, a truly impressive piece of weaponry—triple bladed, with two of these blades able to be fired from the hilt at high velocity. This is inherited by young warrior Talon after Cromwell ruthlessly slaughters his family and their people. Boo hissss!
Years pass, the story gets awfully convoluted and characters come and go, but at least we get some scantily clad wenches to help take our minds off the sloppiness of the script, best of all being buxom, doe-eyed beauty Alana (Kathleen Beller), who along with her brother Mikah (Simon MacCorkindale) is plotting a rebellion against Cromwell. They hire the now grown up Talon (played by Lee Horsley) to help their cause. Cool!
Talon gets in lots of fairly bloody but badly choreographed fights, encountering more semi-clothed women along the way, but is eventually captured and crucified, large nails piercing both his hands. He gets free, of course, and with the help of Mikah, some friendly seadogs, and a few farmers, defeats Cromwell's soldiers. During this fight, we get a brief but really gory shot of a head being cleaved in two. Nice!
The end of the film sees Talon, armed with his massive weapon (oo-err), chasing down Cromwell only to be confronted by Xusia, who has been masquerading as Cromwell's evil adviser Machelli. Here we get another decent effects scene as the sorcerer sheds his human guise, tearing away the flesh from his face and arms. Yuck!
However, as enjoyable as certain individual moments are, the movie as a whole is a mess, a distinctly mediocre fantasy that I imagine will have many viewers fast-forwarding through in order to get to the next 'good bit'.