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  Sword and the Sorcerer, The Fighting Fantasy
Year: 1982
Director: Albert Pyun
Stars: Lee Horsley, Kathleen Beller, Richard Lynch, Simon MacCorkindale, George Maharis, Richard Moll, Anthony Delongis, Robert Tessier, Nina Van Pallandt, Anna Bjorn, Jeff Corey
Genre: Action, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Titus Cromwell (Richard Lynch) is an evil king who decides to expand his territory to take over the whole of the known world. Talon (Lee Horsley) has suffered having his parents killed and the lands that he was heir to taken by Cromwell. But now, with total domination within his grasp, Cromwell faces rebellion - will Talon lead the revolution or will it be crushed?

What could be better than a Conan the Barbarian rip-off starring Matt Houston himself, Lee Horsley? And Manimal (Simon McCorkindale) is in it too, playing a prince and gritting his teeth as much as ever. Princess Kathleen Beller starred in Dynasty, plus Lynch played a mad bomber pilot in an episode of Blue Thunder - it's like 80's TV star heaven, and the whole thing was scripted by the director, Albert Pyun, Tom Karnowski and John Stuckmeyer.

Watching The Sword and the Sorcerer reminds you of how few stories there are to be told in the Sword and Sorcery genre, but here they try to make up for that by offering as complicated plotline as possible. Don't worry, though, all the clich├ęs are present: musclebound hero, hissable villain, damsel in distress, and general sweaty grime all about. This is a cut above the run-of-the-mill action fantasy of the time by virtue of its tongue-in-cheek humour and its pantomime air.

Richard Lynch is a past master at representing evil, and sets about his role as if it were Richard III, also sporting a "beard without moustache" facial arrangement in the tradition of many a geography lecturer. As Talon, Horsley is a leading man in the Han Solo mould, all wry grins and dashing heroics, easily outwitting the baddie's soldiers (how does Cromwell take over the world with staff like that?).

The effects are cheap and cheerful, and if there are a few nasty moments that jar (cutting out tongues, for example), at least there's some imagination behind them - the three-bladed sword is different, anyway. You can even play a drinking game for every time Beller knees someone in the bollocks, or every time a door is broken down (haven't they heard of handles?). Also with: a harem scene. Was it a good idea to announce the never-to-be-made sequel at the end of the film? Rousing music by David Whittaker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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