If Synnibar was a movie…
Let’s get in the wayback machine and set the dial to the early 1980s. Reagan was just elected president, the Rubik’s Cube is all the rage, and Great Britain goes to war over a few sheep-filled islands in the south Atlantic.
And one of the awesomest fantasy films ever is released: The Sword and the Sorcerer. (Yes, it’s the one with the three-bladed rocket powered sword, with “Bull” from Night Court as the Sorcerer, and Our Hero getting crucified over dinner.) This enthusiastic first effort by director Albert Pyun is considered by many to be his finest work, and lead actor Lee Horsley turns in what is surely his manliest big-screen performance.
Okay, that’s admittedly not saying very much, but this film was a bit of a diamond in the rough. It had all the necessary elements (humor, violence, muscles, breasts, etc), and delivered them at just the right pace. It didn’t take itself too seriously (Dragonslayer), it didn’t aspire to be a “made for Cinemax” film (Deathstalker), it wasn’t so bad as to have a sequel on MST3K (Hawk the Slayer), and it didn’t compel me to explain over and fucking over what a real glaive actually is (Krull). Did I mention that it was the most profitable independent film of 1982, grossing over $40 million?
Oh sure, Conan was a nice little high-class art film, but it was written by that conspiracy fan and political junkie Oliver Stone, and directed by Oscar-nominated John Milius. Too rich for my blood.
And The Beastmaster was a lot of fun, too, but his story is well-documented. A bit too well documented, if you ask me. (My condolences if you happened to watch the sequel.)
Did someone say sequel? My only disappointment with The Sword and the Sorcerer comes at the very end of the film, just before the credits start to roll, a prophecy is made. “Watch for Talon’s next adventure in Tales of an Ancient Empire.”
This being fantasy, all prophecies must be fulfilled. And twenty seven years later, Tales of an Ancient Empire is being filmed. By Albert Pyun, the original director. And it still has Lee Horsley, although in more of a “passing the torch” role. And for those of us who appreciate B-movies, the cast reads like a blacklist for the Academy Awards: Christopher Lambert, Kevin Sorbo, Ralf Moeller, Olivier Gruner, etc.
“OMFG!” you say. “I’m so excited, I’m talking in acronyms! What could be more exciting than this?”
How about Pictures!