The Blade Master (1984)

I mean, you just have to love the Italian film industry. Someone came up with a post-doomsday action movie (“Road Warrior”) and the Italians were busy for years doing one rip-off after another. Then some other one came up with a successful barbarian movie (“Conan”) and the Italians were busy… eh, see above.

Besides countless other variations of the theme (one of my favorites is Umberto Lenzi’s “The Barbarians” starring the Paul twins) the Ator series was created. And this, the second one, is probably the worst (or best, depending on your point of view).

Ator is called back into action by his old teacher, who has discovered some kind of nuclear power that, of course, has to be protected so it won’t get into wrong hands. The old man sends his daughter to Ator, and after a few complications Ator, his sidekick Tong and the girl set back to the castle, which meanwhile has fallen to some evildoer (of course, an old “class mate” of Ator). Somewhere along the way the heroic trio forgets about the plot and eradicates some giant snake-worshipping cult for the fun of it (not before some virgins are sacrificed). Just in time before the madman finally loses his temper and kills the wise teacher our heroes remember their duties, invent hanggliding and grenades and save the day.

Included: terrible acting by all participants (especially O’Keeffe), incredibly hilarious “special effects” (you just have to adore the snake fight scene, which must be sort of a hommage to “Bride of the Monster”), badly staged fight scenes, numerous continuity errors (Ator flies two different hanggliders during the climatic battle, watch for it, just an example) and an overall non-understanding of the concept of history (cavemen, “civilized” barbarians, castle-builders, all thrown in one film).

If you’re, like me, devoted to bad movies, this is the one of the series to see, you’ll probably end up ROTFL. For the records: the Malta-filmed third part is actually quite watchable.

Considering Joe D’Amato’s other efforts this is probably his most entertaining movie, as he certainly has failed to deliver watchable horror or erotic movies. But I strongly have the opinion that this was completely by accident.