Continuing along my merry way critiquing fantasy movies from the 1980s…
The Sword and the Sorcerer (1980-something)
The Plot: UUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. More or less.
Alright, so throughout this whole movie I kept thinking to myself, “Hey, Chris, who does this lead actor remind me of?” And then I was all like, “Oh, Other Chris, 1980s Kurt Russell? Like, a cheap, knock-off brand from the Mid-West or Canada?” And that’s when I realized that The Sword and the Sorcerer probably would have been a pretty killer movie if it had been made by John Carpenter and starring a The Thing-era Kurt Russell. So what I’m really saying is that it would have been good if it were just a completely different movie. Unfortunately, as it stands, the best thing about The Sword and the Sorcerer is its hella dope poster, which probably should’ve just been used as Uriah Heep album art. Maybe Wishbone Ash. Or add a motorcycle and it’s Meat Loaf. Tons of opportunities were missed by all.
Regardless, the film mostly sort of focuses on the titular sword and sorcerer, and of course the aforementioned wielder of that sword. Maybe the sword would be the right place to begin my analysis, such as it is. Take a look at that sword over there and tell me what’s wrong, or at least abnormal, about it. Yeah, three blades. Now, here’s the thing: that is exactly the type of weapon I would have found really cool at age ten. I think we can all agree on that: a ten year old boy would find that tri-bladed sword a pretty cool idea. You know what else? And I feel the need to take a moment and reassure you that I am not, in fact, just making stuff up at this point, but that everything I report is, as much as it can be, accurate and truthful, but here we go: through some unknown mechanism or black magic, the wielder of that sword can shoot the two extra blades at his opponent as if from a gun. So, to reiterate: The Sword and the Sorcerer was the brainchild of a ten year old boy.
This would certainly explain—in addition to its bafflingly cartoonish sword—its weak plot, gaping logical fallacies, total lack of character development, casual racism, and an unusually high frequency of attempted sexual assault, even for this kind of movie. So, maybe ten is a bit young. Oh, wait a minute. I blamed Dragonslayer on teen power fantasies, and I’m awfully tempted to repeat that sentencing here. Actually, with each terrible ‘80s fantasy movie I regrettably choose to watch, I draw ever nearer to just writing off the whole sub-sub-genre as an unfortunate byproduct of teen power fantasies. At least, I’m confident beyond the merest flickering shadow of a doubt that no good can possibly issue forth from teen power fantasies and, as I’ve said before, the whole world—cinematic, literary, or otherwise—and its entire comprehensible history would be far, far better if teen power fantasies never existed in the first place. But who am I kidding? A speculative consideration of an alternate, idyllic universe is hardly appropriate banter for an analysis of the fantasy genre.
I almost just began this paragraph with, “The one thing The Sword and the Sorcerer was missing…” as if it only lacked one crucial element. Silly me. No, one of the many, many things missing from this movie that could have slightly improved it was a wailing, totally unbalanced electric guitar (or synth) soundtrack from an acclaimed hair metal band. That would have made it worth watching. Like, if Dokken or someone inexplicably signed on to score this movie. That would have worked pretty well. Alas, the soundtrack consisted largely of generic orchestral adventure music every bit as forgettable as the scenes it accompanied. So, it was appropriate in that respect, I suppose.
Aight, I’ve run out of things to say. This article turned out to be a bit shorter than usual, but only because my plot summary was so darn concise.