Plot: What’s it about?
Talon (Lee Horsley) is a mercenary with immense skills, he can topple castles, navigates the dankest dungeons, and defeats even the most gifted warriors, he’s just that good. His battles are won with his mind and physical strength, but also his awesome three bladed sword, which sports some most useful features indeed. But he soon learns his most difficult mission is ahead, when he discovers he is the prince of a kingdom, but the power there is held by someone else. You see, the lands there are ruled by the tyrant Titus Cromwell (Richard Lynch) and he has done some low down deeds, to say the least. The locals have been enslaved and since no one can rise against Titus, it is unlikely his rule will end soon, especially with resurrected warlock Machelli (George Maharis) at his side. But if anyone can overcome the odds and overthrow Cromwell and his forces, it is Talon and though it will be dangerous, he is more than ready to do his best.
I love sword and sorcery movies, so even though this one isn’t a masterpiece, I still find worth a look now and again. I think the main problem here is that the movie takes itself too seriously, which leads to some unintentional humor and adds to the cheese factor, though those aren’t always bad in flicks such as this one. The writing is not too impressive, but decent enough and that seems to be the case with most of the elements here, good, but not that good. The premise is solid and allows for some great moments, but has a lot of weak areas, to be sure. I wish the writers would have pushed things a little more, in terms of battles and additional characters, as it could have improved the film’s entertainment value. Even so, The Sword and the Sorcerer has some great fights and cool characters, especially old Talon and his wicked three bladed sword. I suppose the production values lack the scope this material demands and plenty of negative aspects could be discussed, but I still think this is a fun movie and as such, I think a rental is more than called for. I do wish Anchor Bay would have done more with this disc, but even as it stands, the basics are covered and that’s enough to warrant a rental or purchase.
This film was directed by Albert Pyun, who has slipped down the ladder more than a little, to be sure. Pyun directed some well known flicks toward the start of his career, but soon defected to the world of direct to video titles, which isn’t that cool. He has done some fair films in recent memory, but nothing as fun as his earlier works, to be sure. I don’t mean to say he was a great filmmaker by any means, but he was involved in some good projects back then. This was his debut as a feature film director and though the scale was pretty big for a first timer, I think Pyun handled it all well enough, better than you’d expect in any case. Other films directed by Pyun include Nemesis, Mean Guns, Alien from L.A., Cyborg, Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, and Brainsmasher…A Love Story. The cast here includes Lee Horsley (Nightmare Man, Unlawful Passage), Kathleen Beller (The Godfather: Part II, Life After Sex), Richard Lynch (Eight Men Out, Invasion U.S.A.), Simon McCorkindale (Death on the Nile, Wing Commander), and Richard Moll (Tv’s Night Court, House).
Video: How does it look?
The Sword and the Sorcerer is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is an improvement over previous editions, but as expected, still doesn’t measure up to the usual format standards. The print looks cleaner than I counted on, but shows grain, some nicks, and is often too dark, though never to an extreme degree. The image is quite soft and that lowers the impact of the colors, as well as overall detail presence. I suppose this could have looked much better, but given the film’s limited audience, I don’t think it would have been too profitable of a venture, in terms of a restoration of some sort. This won’t become a visual demo disc by any means, but fans will note a nice improvement over prior releases.
Audio: How does it sound?
I was pleased to find a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix included here and while the results aren’t too dynamic, the added atmosphere is very welcome indeed. The surrounds are used at times to enhance atmosphere, though not as often as I expected, but the mix sounds very natural and that’s very important. The sound effects and music come through well, but due to the film’s age, these elements aren’t as crisp and clean as I’d like. The dialogue is easy to understand, but sometimes drops in volume, though not too much. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, as well as English captions, though no subtitles have been provided.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes two theatrical trailers, as well as a television spot.