The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)
The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)

Genre: Adventure and Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 17 min.

Release Date: September 7th, 1984 MPAA Rating: R

Director: John Broderick Actors: David Carradine, Luke Askew, Maria Socas, Anthony DeLongis, Harry Townes, William Marin, Arthur Clark, Cecilia North

 


 

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rekking through a picturesque desert landscape (with two suns like Tatooine), mighty warrior Kain (David Carradine) comes across a small village surrounding a great stone structure. Before combating a group of armed guards, he’s whisked away from the scorching heat by an elderly man, Bludge (Harry Townes), the prelate of Yamatar. After spying the holy crest on Kain’s sword, the clergyman explains the layout of the city. On one side is Zeg the Tyrant (Luke Askew), fortified in a metal compound; and across the way is sworn enemy Bal Caz (William Marin), manning the rocky castle. Both ruthlessly fight with hired soldiers for control of a well, with the poor villagers caught in the middle, as water is the most valuable currency in the area (though Kain covets gold and taraks as well).

Kain approaches Bal Caz first, insisting that the feared leader watch as he slaughters the sentries at the well. The pudgy master, receiving advice from his oversized reptilian pet (clothed in spotted skins), reluctantly pays the dark one a hefty sum of money to wipe out Lord Zeg – but not-so-secretly conspires to execute the pirate once the task is accomplished. Meanwhile, Zeg’s muscular captain (Anthony DeLongis) swears to terminate Kain’s employment – at the end of his sword. On the battlefield, the arrival of Burgo the Slaver (Arthur Clark), a mutated humanoid who trades armaments to both parties for slaves, causes a temporary truce. But when Bal Caz poisons Burgo’s men, using gourds emblazoned with Zeg’s coat of arms, the stage is set for a tremendous battle.

The film is quite clearly a rehash of “A Fistful of Dollars” (itself an adaptation of “Yojimbo”), relocated to a sword-and-sandal setting. Almost offensively, writing credits are given only to John Broderick (who also directs) and William Stout (an artist for “Conan the Barbarian,” “First Blood,” and “House”). Despite the complete lack of originality, Carradine isn’t entirely unwatchable in the lead role, though he’s evidently (and mostly unsuccessfully) copying Clint Eastwood’s iconic turn. Nevertheless, he takes the part seriously, which gives the picture a much-needed boost of gravity. He’s joined by Maria Socas as Naja the Sorceress, who, while contributing nothing to the script, remains titillatingly topless and shackled in almost every scene.

The action includes some modest sword fights (featuring uninspired choreography), a few dismemberments, limited skirmishes, highly unskilled troops, and, for Zeg’s entertainment, a nude woman drowning in a glass tank (fiendishly symbolic for the dehydration suffered by the townsfolk). Stunts are equally inadequate, though a duel with a toothy, tentacled, rubber monster is good for laughs, and the final showdown is one of producer Roger Corman’s more ambitious fantasy conclusions. But, overall, the production value is extremely shoddy.

There’s also plenty of unintentional humor, namely in the form of the goofily communicative lizard creature, pitiful dialogue (“I have proof – I spoke with the guard,” moronically proclaims Zeg’s chieftain), weak character designs, mediocre costuming, tepid music, unconvincing sets, and exploitive nudity (highlighted by a stripteaser with four breasts, played by Cecilia North). At least, the occasional environment is lit with appropriately atmospheric qualities and the bloodshed is high for a New Horizons productions. Sadly, even at a swift 77-minute runtime (including credits!), “The Warrior and the Sorceress” is too long for the stunted material.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10