Vijay, Ravi, Rakesh, and the gals somehow employ a entire gypsy dance and acrobat troupe and use it to infiltrate Shakal’s fortress — because as much as bald megalomaniac super villains love the privacy of a private island space-age lair, they love a sumptuous floor show even more.
Franco wouldn’t get through a lifetime career in exploitation films without doing some work for Eurocine. Diamonds of Kilimandjaro and Golden Temple Amazons were two of the movies Franco apparently didn’t think were as cheap and shoddy and ill-conceived as Zombie Lake.
Why is the son of Satan’s messenger doing all this instead of the actual son of Satan? Why does the son of Satan’s messenger need a Christian friar to perform his wedding ceremony? Shouldn’t he have his own devil-y friar?
Dudikoff may not be much of an actor, but he’s not so bad that you’d be shocked by how bad he is. He’s well-suited for the role, and he has Steve James on hand to provide some actual charisma
Sinbad’s crew is one for the ages, consisting of his trusted friends the Viking named Viking, Prince Ali, a bald guy named The Bald Cook, Poochy the Dwarf, and the Chinese Soldier of Fortune, who is played by a Japanese guy and dressed like a Thai ladyboy on his way home from a particularly colorful Siamese gay rights parade.
Urotsukidoji is the tawdry piece of pornographic trash you’ve heard it is; it’s also not all that fiendish or corrupting. It’s just silly. But it is a major milestone in the history of anime, so if you are the type who needs or wants to understand the evolution of anime, then you pretty much have to deal with Urotsukidoji.
As far as anything-goes martial arts mayhem may go, the Bastard Swordsman saga may lack the breakneck choreography of Jackie Chan and Ching Siu-tung, or the technical ambition of Tsui Hark, but none of these short-comings really matter in the long run, because Bastard Swordsman and Return of the Bastard Swordsman are still spectacularly fun wuxia fantasies.
Although people come for the weirdness and spectacle, Bastard Swordsman offers plenty of other elements that make it worth staying around. For starters, taking a note from Chu Yuan, Lu’s film is packed with complex, well-developed characters. Norman Chu makes a compelling and empathetic lead. We root for him when he’s the abused underdog, and we cheer for him once he begins to discover his true potential as a fighter.
The musical numbers are lame. The plot is full of holes so big that Commando could drive a truck covered in ninjas through them. Everything is slapdash and cheap looking. The special effects are horrible. But man, who gives a crap about any of that when you have a slightly out-of-shape Mithrun running around in a Michael Jackson vest, fighting a guy in a Captain Harlock jacket and facing off against backflipping ninjas?
Somehow, the animated Ralph Bakshi feature Fire and Ice managed to slip through the cracks, though I can’t imagine it didn’t make the early 1980s cable TV rounds. It’s perfect late-night HBO fare. If I’d seen it back then, I would have embraced it whole-heartedly and probably proclaimed it the best thing I’d ever seen.