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  • This Spaghetti/Paella adventure tells how a Tuareg (Mark Harmon) receives an important fugitive (Luis Prendes) who is given water and refuge . Soldiers (Aldo Sambrell , Alfonso Sabato) from the new Arab government arrive and demand to be turned over to them . The warrior refuses and soldiers breaking the hospitality's Tuareg law . Harmon sets out in pursuit for executing a relentless revenge against military that broke the sacred laws of hospitality . The Tuareg mounts his camel and rides off to rescue his abducted guest .

    From the beginning to end the action-packed is unstopped , including spectacular shootouts where explode and die a lot of people , being a little bit violent . In the film there is thriller , suspense , emotion , frenetic action , fast-moving and for that reason is amusing . The picture has breathtaking outdoors in gorgeous cinematography , being well photographed by John Cabrera , like is splendidly reflected on the spellbound Sahara desert landscapes . Mark Harmon is fine as a tough and cold Arab , doing one army man , though he appears whole film with a scarf on his face . A varied support cast is mostly formed by secondaries from Spaghetti Western , such as Aldo Sambrell (Leone's Western) , Ennio Girolami (director's brother) , Claudia Gravy and Ken Wood . The picture is based on a novel with same title by a successful Spanish author , Alberto Vazquez Figueroa , who gets numerous cinematic adaptations (Ebony , Manaos , The Iguana , Ocean , Rottweiler) . Special mention for musical score by Riz Ortalani , it is exciting and atmospheric .

    The motion picture was compellingly directed by Enzo G. Castellari that had many hit-smashes in the action cinema and Spaghetti , in fact the film is an Italian Western developed on the desolate desert . He made several Westerns as ¨ Johnny Hamlet¨ , ¨Kill them everybody and came back alone¨ , ¨Seven Winchester for a massacre¨, and spoof : ¨Onion Colt¨ and in similar style ¨Tedeum¨ . His masterpiece was ¨Keoma¨. Some of them are serious , others are goofy and plenty of slapstick and slapdash . The pic will appeal to Eurotrash fans and Italian-Spaniard productions enthusiasts . Rating : Mediocre but amusing .
  • This film seems oddly more topical now with the French battling Tuareg militias in the Mali desert, especially as the plot concerns an isolated tribe dealing with a modern army (obviously patterned after Libya or Algeria, but never named). Mark Harmon (who actually does quite well even if he doesn't look the part) is bizarrely cast as the lead Tuareg, who must defend his honor by rescuing a refugee who sought his tribe's help. It turns out that the refugee (Luis Prendes) however is a major revolutionary figure whose existence could destabilize the country.

    I remember seeing this film on TV when I was a kid living in Italy. Not speaking Italian, I still had a good enough idea of what was going on to get swept up in the energy of the film and the scene where Harmon drinks blood from a camel's neck has stuck in my mind ever since. Now as an adult and a huge fan of Italian action, I see a lot to appreciate this film and unfortunately lot to shake my head at. It's a welcome change of pace for Italian B-movies to delve into something more original and creative than another blatant ripoff of a Hollywood blockbuster as was the fad at the time. However this film is full of questionable plot holes, bad acting, silly posturing, and marred by an overall cheapness which detracts from a lot of the magic set up by the entrancingly story which brims with potential.

    Director Enzo G. Castellari does here some of what he does best, which is to stage a few standout violent action scenes featuring his trade mark slow motion, stunts, and bloodletting (bridging the gap from Sam Peckinpah to John Woo). I don't know if it helps or hurts the film's meaningful overtones and messages, which focus more on the mysticism of the desert and honor with a much slower pace. The action of the film is weighted toward the center, leaving the third act quite curiously ponderous and jumpy, focusing more on Harmon evading guards than what any of the other characters (like a sympathetic captain Paolo Malco who enjoys a lot of screen time in the second act) in the dark with no resolution.

    Markedly better, more coherent and ambitious than any of Castellari's other early 80's action films, this film unfortunately was a major financial risk and failed to recoup from its expenses, leaving Castellari's career to enter an unfortunate steep decline immediately. Meanwhile his rival Antonio Margheriti continued making relatively good action movies in the Philippines for years. Don't get me wrong, this film has some great moments, but the location filming and knock-em-out action scenes probably were far too expensive for the cheapo Italian producers to handle. The most egregious effect comes early on where Harmon's son fends off a leopard by shooting it in the head. In place of a real leopard they opted to use a stuffed animal which barely looks like a leopard at all!

    Watch for a cameo appearance by Castellari as a prison guard who gets his kicks out of beating prisoners with his fists, plus frequent Margheriti collaborator Paul Costello as a villainous politician. Another awesome scene has Harmon single-handedly wiping out an entire fortress full of bad guys.
  • NCIS's Mark Harmon headlines in this intriguing action outing brought to us by the prolific and ever dependable Enzo G. Castellari.

    The story concerns a noble Tuareg chieftain who wages a one man war against an entire military force after they take prisoner a man who he had previously taken in as a guest (the said individual being traditionally also under the Tuareg's protection) As it happens, the seized man actually turns out to be the former leader of the country who has been illegally overthrown and who the people wish to return to power.

    Well first off, I must say that it is admittedly very refreshing to see an Arabic hero in a Western film and the concerted attempt by the film makers to portray the cultural differences between the said protagonist and his enemy. Our hero is shown as a man of true honour, proud of his culture and steadfast to its traditions and yet blissfully ignorant of political developments immediately outside of his domain. Certainly this fact is best illustrated during the films surprising climax (which I won't spoil here!)

    Unfortunately, it has to be said that as an action film this doesn't quite deliver enough of the requisite goods although I must concede that what action there is is very well handled, especially in one admittedly awesome sequence wherein our hero wipes out an entire garrison in a particularly explosive manner.

    Final verdict: Certainly worth viewing but make no mistake, this is not the all out action extravaganza that many reviewers on the internet taut it to be.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This unusual Italian adventure film from acclaimed director Enzo G. Castellari benefits from a unique location - a barren desert land - and a wealth of slow-motion action scenes for which the director was famous. Sure, it has its fair share of flaws and errors, but these are easily outweighed by the assured direction, good performances and wonderful locations. For once, the story of a desert warrior fighting for justice is an uncliched one, which makes a change from the various post-apocalyptic rip-offs that Castellari had directed the year previously.

    Another unusual thing is the film's themes of justice, power, honour and the portrayal of the Tuareg tribe's way of life in the desert, where they abide by their own laws and dislike intrusion by the outside world. These issues, along with some sweeping visions of an isolated desert, give TUAREG: THE DESERT WARRIOR a kind of epic feel, something you wouldn't expect from a cheap Italian action flick. Here, the action complements the story, unlike Castellari's LIGHTBLAST from 1985, in which the action WAS the story. My personal favourite scene is an atmospheric moment where Gacel Sayah and his companion venture into an empty desert land and discover a huge graveyard of animal bones and forgotten belongings - the impact is strengthened by the sudden silence on the soundtrack, and the eeriness and power of the desert instantly made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

    Elsewhere, it's business as usual, with Harmon fighting off loads of soldiers and eventually massacring an army station at a remote prison, where he is briefly tortured by a sadistic guard (the director in a cameo). Castellari's use of slow-motion comes into play here, making for some brief but spectacular explosions, people getting bloodily shot and flying through the air. Other scenes include a realistic sword fight, a fine moment where Gacel gets his revenge on a cruel captain by slitting his throat (ouch!) and some jeeps blowing up in the desert.

    Mark Harmon - the imported American lead - is actually very good indeed as the just Gacel Sayah, creating a believable hero who fights for his own beliefs. The supporting cast - from his companions, to the soldiers, to the officials - are also fine in their respective roles, and the film is accompanied by an appropriately sweeping musical score which helps bring the mood of the desert to life. Some scenes - such as Harmon killing his camel and drinking its blood to stay alive - are destined to stick in the mind and make this a minor yet memorable mood piece.

    My only complaint is with the ending. After a massive build-up, you're left expecting some kind of final massacre, perhaps like the one at the end of COMMANDO, and yet nothing happens. Instead, Harmon ends up shooting the wrong guy in a sudden bleak and pessimistic moment which is at odds with the rest of the film and ends things on a very downbeat note. However, this doesn't spoil the rest of the film, which is worth a look for all who might be interested by the premise, as it certainly deserves kudos for what it does.
  • The tempo is slow and calm, which enhances the tremendous impact of this very educational and almost proverbial film, teaching you a lesson about destiny, the handling of it by dealing with it and not escaping it, and a politically very thought-provoking fable. Mark Harmon makes a credible impersonation of the lonely warrior fighting an entire world which he cannot understand, and bý his actions he actually unintentionally adds to the absurdity and incredible folly of the political world. The land of the Tuaregs has no borders, it's just an endless desert impossible to survive in for ordinary mortals, but the Tuaregs have learned to cope with it and almost master it. This impressing film will be worth thinking of a lot a long time afterwards, until it's time to return to it for refreshing the lesson.
  • A mysterious man from a feared Saharan tribe, the Tuareg, makes it his mission to hunt down a group of soldiers responsible for abducting a man his tribe gave shelter to. He uses his highly developed survival skills, honed from life in the harsh desert, to deadly effect.

    Italian director Enzo G. Castellari was something of a specialist when it came to action movies. He made several in different popular sub-genres of the day – spaghetti westerns, poliziotteschi, post-apocalypse sci-fi, etc. But with Tuareg - the Desert Warrior he made an action film which was decidedly less derivative than most other Italian actioners. It was unusually set in the Sahara desert, with an Arab warrior as the hero. Having said this, I felt while I was watching it that it definitely played out like a spaghetti western in terms of structure, characters and action. After all, it features a mysterious illusive loner hero with highly developed weapon skills who embarks on a mission to take out nasty villains who have committed criminal acts against powerless civilians and he does this pretty much by himself. There have been a ton of Italian westerns that followed that template, so this one is fairly derivative plot-wise but benefits in distinctiveness from its desert locations and Arabian characters. It's for these reasons primarily that this one gets plus points, as well as a somewhat interesting climax in which the central hero's ignorance of western politics leads to an unexpected climax. Adding some additional class also is a dramatic score from the ever dependable Riz Ortolani. All-in-all, this is not great stuff by any means but it's certainly one of the more individualistic Italian genre flicks from the 80's.
  • mfaume16 July 2002
    I don't know how many times I have watched this movie when I was a kid; It was one of my favorite movies. Action packed and I mean a good action flick.

    It's worth watching!
  • I did watch this movie usually on TV in 1990, when came up the first wave of DVD l bought it but unfortunately it was a VHS transfer into DVD without any restoration, bad images spoil the whole movie, one of the most iconic Italian director Enzo G. Castellari made an endeavor in this unusual picture, the story is quite interesting where a Tuareg's tribe leader Gacel Sayah (Mark Harmon) who shelter two fugitives, then sudden appears the Army and arrest them, Garcel Sayah complains saying that they are his guest and according Tuareg's law of a thousand years nobody can takes without his previous permission, under this point and extremely upset by such affront, so he starts a revenge against the soldiers and the Army, he sets free his guest from the prison who actually is major revolutionary leader of the (Unknown) country Abdul El Kabir (Luis Prentes) taking him thru for a deadly part of the desert into the border, The old Kabir is free to gather forces to overthrow the corrupt government, sadly the ending is too unbelievable and melancholic, the best sequence took place at desert, also Sayah who get respecting for his most tireless pursuer Captain Razman (Paolo Malco), however in the fortress when Saylah set free Kabir and before escaping there he kills all military garrison letting the famous Rambo be ashamed to be overcame in this contrived sequence!!

    Resume:

    First watch: 1990 / How many: 3 / Source: TV-DVD / Rating: 6