As far as 1980’s sword and sandal and sorcery type films I consider Conan the Barbarian, Clash of the titans and Beastmaster to be the top films. Then there are a bunch of copies, lower down films and such. In between those lower downs and the top three are some movies that have some ideas of interest but have flaws too. I consider Dragonslayer to be in that category with it’s great effects, but so-so characters. I also consider this film to be in that category as well. The film is almost like a depot for all ideas from a bunch of other films tossed into one. We get a quest of sorts, an heir to the thrown, an evil ruler who doesn’t deserve the thrown, a demon, slave girls and a sword gun. Oh wait this may be the only film with that last part. The film also has a cast that’s made up of some people that seemed to be in everything in frequent villain Richard Lynch, bald headed Robert Tessler and Hollywood blacklist survivor Jeff Corey. As well as a bunch of people who would soon be regular faces on TV programs not too long after this film came out-Lee Horsley (Matt Houston), Richard Moll (Night Court), Simon MacCorkindale (Manimal, Falcon Crest), Kathleen Beller (Dynasty) and Joe Regalbuto (Murphy Brown).
So what does this film do right?
1-Richard Lynch was chosen as a bad guy so often because he’s good at it. This film is no exception.
2-The film does a decent job with a slim budget.
3-The fast pace keeps the interest going (and keeps you from seeing the holes in the film to some extent).
4-Overall the “throw everything in the pot” approach of this film works to the film’s favor.
5-I think it’s get better as it goes along or else I became numb to what was going on just went with it.
Where does this film fall short.
1-If I had seen this film before Matt Houston maybe I’d think more of Horsley as the hero. As it is I see him and think he just doesn’t fit or seem comfortable as a sword
swinging shooting kind of guy.
2-Overall the fast pace helps but there are times where the film seems choppy like some explanation might have helped us understand a little more.
3-The sword gun is probably what most people know this film for. The first time it’s kind of alright, but the novelty wears off rather quickly.
4-Although I like Richard Moll as Xusia his character seemed uneven as he had all this power, but a mere dagger hurts him so badly early on.
5-Joe Regalbuto seemed even more out of place than Horsley in this film. He didn’t seem at all like he’d be some kind of warrior.
The movie falls into the good enough to be entertaining category and cheesy enough to laugh it as well. Worth seeing a time or two for sure. It has a following. At the end of the film it promised a sequel which never happened back then. Although decades later a so-called sequel did happen. I have not seen it, but have mostly heard it’s rotten.