|Star:||Jack Palance, John Terry, Bernard Bresslaw, Ray Charleson, Peter O'Farrell|
|Cert / Year:||PG / 1980|
Hawk and Voltan are brothers (guess which one is going to be evil) who both love the same woman. Unfortunately for Voltan she loves Hawk, a fact which drives him mad. He becomes obseesed with power and greed and he kills his father to gain his power. Hawk is gifted a magical sword in the dying breath of his father and vows revenge on Voltan. With Voltan's kidnap for ransom of the Abbess of a small church Hawk may well get his chance.
The Seven Samurai is a film that just seems to spawn imitators. For example it was given a wild west treatment in The Magnificent Seven. Moved into space in Battle Beyond the Stars, and here it is set in the realms of Tolkienesque fantasy. The story is basically the same, a beleaguered pacifistic somebody hires fighters to protect them from an evil somebody and their army.
Here the evil somebody comes in the form of the over acting legendary Jack Palance. He delivers a scene chewing, over the top performance which goes way beyond the call of duty. However this gurning master class is ably countered by John Terry's stoically wooden performance as Hawk. How on earth these two are meant to be brothers is anybody's idea. They don't look, act, or even vaguely resemble each other.
If the main cast is a bit hit and miss the supporting cast is definitely a hit. Bernard Breslaw plays Gort yet another likable giant, and really nobody does this better. Peter O'Farrell who play Baldin has some great scenes with Bernard Breslaw as the mischievous yet disgusting dwarf dupes the simple minded giant. Another hit performance comes from Ray Charleson as Crow last of the elves. He doesn't say much yet manages to bring across the loneliness of the last of his race, and this really makes us sympathize for him. Rounding off our warriors is Ranulf the one armed crossbow man ably played by William Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg himself for all you Max Headroom fans). In addition to this we have good turns from the likes of Roy Kinnear, Patricia Quinn and Annette Crosbie.
This strong supporting cast are really put through their paces in a number a number of frenetic set piece fights. These are by far the highlight of the film as we watch masses of bad guys mown down by the automatic crossbow (by far the greatest fantasy weapon ever invented) of Ranulf, and the deadly marksmanship of Crow. It's just a pity those armed with Melee weapons don't get that much to do.
Apart from the main cast the other failing of the film is the obvious lack of money for effects. Lets face it they are so bad in many places as to be humorous. Whether it is the 'magical' silly string, luminous hula hoops, or the attack of fluorescent rubber balls, the effects are inventive yet ridiculously cheap. Just like the spooky fore ground objects (skulls, snakes, etc.) added to give many of scenes a fantasy feeling. It is cheap and not effective in the slightest.
You may have got the impression that I am telling you that Hawk the Slayer is not worth watching. Far from it, it is a film with a certain nostalgic charm, right from the original eighties syth soundtrack to the quality British supporting cast. Ok so the effects are comically cheap but this just adds to the films quaint feel. It's the fights that save the movie and above all else they are slick cool fun. This is a ideal Saturday afternoon no brainer, and while it may not be the film it once was, it still retains the ability to entertain.
|4 : 3||Pan and Scan but nice clean print with no damage and good colour depth.|
|Stereo||Ok but not pushed to do anything.|
|Terrible budget release. Ok so the picture is good but overall this just isn't up to scratch.|