Dir: John Guillermin
Star: Tanya Roberts,Ted Wass, Donovan Scott, Elizabeth of Toro
Cert / Year: PG - 15 / 1984
Format: DVD R1

As young girl Sheena's explorer parents are killed while they were visiting a remote African tribe. The local Shaman takes Sheena under her wing a provides her with the skills she needs to fulfil a prophecy that will one day see her fight to save her tribe. This fight comes when the brother of the King engineers his murder and frames Sheena's tribe. Now he plans to enslave her people and mine their scared mountain. Aided by reporter Vic Casey she must use her knowledge of native weaponry and her ability to command the animals to defeat this new King's modern army.

Based upon a popular comic strip that ran from 1937 to 1953 Sheena will always be viewed as a female version of Tarzan. The character even made it as far as a short lived Television series in the mid fifties. However after this nothing was heard from her until John Guillermin (a massive Tarzan fan having already directed two movies) decided to bring the character back to the big screen.

This is a strange film. It's a bit camp almost child like in places yet every now and then there is a gratuitous display of naked female flesh. It isn't a micro budgeted affair either as certain scenes are quite impressive, yet it has some really low rent acting. It is like an adolescents dream of how Saturday morning television should be. The result is a watchable in a Xena warrior princess sort of way with the odd cheap thrill thrown in.

The acting as mentioned is pretty bad, although in a way this sort of suits the piece. Tanya Roberts (ex Charlie's Angels) looks good in or out of her skimpy animal skin bikini, but any attempts at acting are extremely poor. She sort of lacks the strength this sort of character requires, as she's runs around in an annoying daze of extreme innocence. Ted Wass is the love interest however he seems to lack conviction and the chemistry between his character and Sheena just isn't there. On the plus side Elizabeth of Toro does a fine job as the shaman ( although her ageing make up looks bad), and Donovan Scott fills the comic side kick roll well. Lastly its nice to see Clifton Jones doing something other than reading the output from a computer (as he did as Kano in Space 1999).

The high camp factor may be explained by the choice of writers who are Leslie Stevens (Buck Rodgers television movie), David Newman (Superman I - III) and Lorenzo Semple Jr. (Flash Gordon the movie and Batman television series movie). What isn't so easily explained is the awful double entendre ridden dialogue, and the lame uninspired plot. These guys are talented so was this really the best they could do with such an interesting character, or did the budget not match the vision.

Sheena is not the movie it should have been. It is fun in a daft sort of way but it neither serious enough, sexy enough, or not family oriented enough. As it stands it falls between a number of stools. This is a shame as it could have been quite good family fun like Xena but for the nudity, and the lack of scale in the battle scenes. John Guillermin demonstrates a good eye for some impressive long shots, but the action just isn't gripping. Not a bad film for a lads night in but if you really want a sexy action adventure try and dig up the far superior Gwendoline, otherwise there is little else that makes this film stand out (no stop it, I think the double entendres are catching).


Part Animal. Part Legend. All Woman.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Great cleaned up transfer with bright vivid colours.
Audio Dolby Surround Perfectly good soundtrack
Features 2 Trailers
Verdict Great transfer but no extras, which is hardly surprising given how obsure the film is.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home