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  Sinbad of the Seven Seas Buckle Your Swashes
Year: 1989
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Stars: Lou Ferrigno, John Steiner, Roland Wybenga, Ennio Girolami, Hal Yamanouchi, Yehuda Efroni, Alessandra Martines, Teagan Clive, Leo Gullota, Stefania Girolami, Donald Hodson, Melonee Rodgers, Cork Hubbert, Romano Puppo, Daria Nicolodi
Genre: Action, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A little girl requests a bedtime story from her mother (Daria Nicolodi) so she brings out a large tome and begins to read from it the tale of Sinbad the Sailor (Lou Ferrigno) who traveled the seas and oceans in search of adventure with his motley crew. However, on returning to the port of Basra one day and expecting a warm welcome they were baffled to see there was nobody around, and began to investigate. What the sailors didn't know was the court magician Jaffar (John Steiner) had recently taken the opportunity to seize control with his sorcery, enslaving the ruler of the land with plans to marry his daughter the Princess Alina (Alessandra Martines)...

Arriving at a point where the infamous eighties production company Cannon were running into a spot of financial bother, Sinbad of the Seven Seas was presumably edited with this new narration and released in a doomed attempt to generate more funds, as the story had it this was to have been completed by original director Luigi Cozzi when there was a minor crisis and man of Italian action Enzo G. Castellari was recruited to complete it. Or was it the other way around? Whichever, the results were not exactly a blockbuster, and most people saw it on home video, but those who did would always remember it. Not because it was any good, but the opposite: it was not only bad, it was enjoyably bad.

An important distinction to make when so much of Cannon's output was bad bad rather than good bad, but every so often they'd come up with something good good in their inimitable style, and more often than that were the ridiculous efforts which lent them such a cult following in the coming years. Assisting in that fun reputation was the presence of Ferrigno as the hero, for he had appeared as Hercules in a couple of not dissimilar fantasy would-be epics, not to mention the fame-grabbing identity as The Incredible Hulk, offering this a camp appeal especially as he looked as if he was thoroughly enjoying himself in this role, throwing himself bulkily into the fight scenes and talking to the camera.

That was actually Sinbad talking to Jaffar who is watching remotely with his magic, not that you'd hear Lou's voice, as he, like the rest of the cast, were dubbed what with this being an Italian movie, although John Steiner appeared to be using his own tones as he overacted ludicrously as the villain, lending actorly relish to such lines as "Budge... BUDGE!" The plot has it that the Princess is all tied up on some kind of contraption apparently fashioned from anachronistic plastic and Sinbad has to save her, not least because one of his crew is Ali (Roland Wybenga) who is her betrothed. Adding a complication is that the only way they can overcome Jaffar's spells is to be in possession of five crystals, and wouldn't you know it he's cast them to far off lands to be guarded by various monsters and baddies?

You know what this means, don't you? That's right, Sinbad and company give up and go home - oh, no they don't, they set off on one of those quests that characters of fable tended to do, especially in The Thief of Bagdad (ahem), picking up the gems from the locations as they found them, though of course it wasn't as simple as that. From a towering man made of solid rock to a platoon of empty, animated suits of armour, Sinbad had his work cut out with his bunch of weirdoes as his ship's regulation midget (Cork Hubbert) calls them, including an encounter with a witch who enslaves them with her allure until the midget (seemingly called Poochie - were the writers of The Simpsons watching?) manages to break the spell. Some of this had a degree of visual flair, but it was difficult to take seriously when Sinbad was tying snakes together to make a rope to escape from a dungeon for example, though naturally that sort of lunacy was the attraction. Not very good, then, but shoddily engaging enough to be entertaining. Music by Dov Seltzer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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