Monday, September 5, 2011

The Devil's Sword (1984)

Barry Prima is a name that's synonymous with Indonesian action movies. Born Bertus Knoch in 1985 in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, the actor has many credits in the countries action-based exploitation films, with "The Warrior", "Hijacked to Hell", "Revenge of the Ninja" and others filling VHS rentals and gaining the actor a small but devoted cult following. At first, I figured that I'd review either "The Warrior" or the cannibal movie he was in called "Primatives", but instead I decided to go with "The Devil's Sword", which is half post "Conan the Barbarian" Sword n' Sorcery movie, half martial arts movie, and all pure insanity.

Prima plays Mandala, who reaches a village that has been attacked by the servants of the Crocodile Queen, leaving behind only two survivors. It seems that the queen wants possession of The Devil's Sword, because whoever possesses the sword will have the power to rule over the world-or something. Now Mandala must find the sword and vanquish this evil that plagues the land, while in the process getting in many bloody battles.

"The Devil's Sword" is the kind of exploitation movie that doesn't offer a whole lot as far as intelligence is concerned, but makes up for it with cheap gore, sex, and all around random madness. A great example of this would be the scene where Mandala and a female accomplice find themselves battling Crocodile Men, which are guys in the least convincing monster outfits imaginable. I found myself laughing at this, but at the same time, it had better than expected fight choreography, bloodshed, and a sheer "hey, what the hell" attitude going for it. It's scenes like this that make me applaud director Ratno Timoer and writer Imam Tantowi for pretty much mixing the likes of "Conan the Barbarian", kung-fu movies like "Master of the Flying Guillotine", and Indonesian folklore to create a stew that's incredibly bizarre but altogether tasty.

I did however, get bored with the constant shots of male servants making out with or salivating over the evil queen. Granted, she's hot, but the viewer doesn't need to see seemingly endless footage of her playing tonsil hockey and swimming with men. Scenes like this feel more like padding than something that will advance whatever flimsy plot there is.

Still, this makes for a fun time for fans of Indonesian genre movies, and for those who have a taste for the absolutely bizarre in foreign exploitation. If the writers and director of "Conan" dropped acid, were working with a low budget and watched a marathon of supernatural themed kung-fu movies from the Shaw Bros., this is what it would probably resemble.

Rating: 7.5/10

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