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Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Film Buff: Blood Brothers

Yes, I was just looking for an
excuse to post a picture of
Barbi Benton.
Most of the sword and sorcery films of the eighties were little more than an excuse to put half-naked models and bodybuilders on film amid gory and hokey special effects. A perfect example of this is the first Deathstalker film in 1983 featuring former Playboy model and ex-girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, Barbi Benton.
However, there is one film that is often lauded among fanboys and former Dungeon & Dragon fanatics as a cut above the rest and, arguably, the film that kicked off the genre for the decade.
Hawk the Slayer is earnest (if a bit unintentionally campy) and makes pretty good use of the special effects available at the time, though we might dismiss them as somewhat cheesy today. 
John Terry and Jack Palance play brothers (with a 30 year age difference?) at odds over the control of the kingdom. Hawk (Terry) is the good brother with a magic sword, and Palance gnaws scenery as the evil and scarred Voltan.
The story plays out like a round of Dungeons & Dragons as Hawk assembles a fellowship of a dwarf, a giant, and an elf to free an abbess captured and ransomed by Voltan.
Lost fans may recognize Terry as Jack's father. Bond buffs will know he played one of the Felix Leiters (The Living Daylights), but, at the time, the lone star power of this film rested on the broad shoulders of Palance, and he delivers in his inimitable style. (Seriously. Do you know anybody who does a Jack Palance imitation?)
This film has achieved cult status for a lot of reasons, but it is most frequently referenced for its score by Harry Robertson, which mixes classical orchestrations with disco beats and a spaghetti western feel.
This movie is just for fun, and having seen it counts as a badge of honor in certain circles.
There are rumors of a sequel with British actor Tom Hardy (Inception, Star Trek: Nemesis) assuming the title role in Hawk the Hunter.

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