Monday, May 22, 2017

Forgotten Fantasy: Amazons

How do my readers! A fine greetings for the week as we pull up some obscure Sci-Fi Fantasy titles. Yeah I know in my heart there is a better than 60% chance of topless and full frontal nudity but I wanted to see if any of these B movie sword and sorcery flicks would be entertaining. Remember Beastmaster was dubbed a B movie and most folks enjoyed spite of the accidental poisoning of the tiger.  Moving on, we speak of tales and saga of a tribe of vicious warrior women as they are froth with danger, sorcery, rival tribes and unknown consequences. This is Amazons a.k.a. Amazon and the Tribe of Amazons.

Strut girl, strut.

Guided by producer/director Alejandro Sessa (Amazons, Stormquest, Deathstalker, The Warrior and the Sorceress, Barbarian Queen, Cocaine Wars and Wizards of the Lost Kingdom) our title card sequence opens with some synthesizer scoring worthy of Goblin brought to us by composer Oscar Cardozo Ocampo (I Did Kill Facundo, El gordo catastrofe, Cerro Cora, From the Abyss, Deathstalker, Funny Dirty Little War, Amazons, Stormquest, Babilonia and Two to Tango) and produced by none other than Roger Corman, I know I am in for a whirlwind. We open to a woodland/desert area and it looks like they took over a national park but in fact is Bueno Aires in Argentina. We have soldiers in dubious leather/chain-mail with spears and shields roaming about this kingdom and evening katas with deer skinned draped females making me think this lost tribe is easier to find than the synopsis on the DVD suggested. Also my print is clearly a badly translated VHS copy to DVD so not feeling good about this already.

I have a rock in my bikini and your knees are on fire.

The ladies work out with pole arms and staves when then it becomes a shaolin monk style training as they smash hanging clay pots that clearly have not been fired and allowed to harden. Love the stock sound of thunderclouds in a clear night sky. We have a dark robed sorcerer king attempting to be all empowering but lacking the Sir Christopher Lee height, basso voice and creeper Dracula stare, King Kalungo (Joseph Whipp of Escape from Alcatraz, General Hospital, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream) threatens the harmony of the land, the elder warns the young warriors without the Sword of Azundati (Magical MacGuffin or plot device) all is lost to combat against Kalungo's magics and his vile army. Just then cheesy post-production lighting strikes happen in random intervals allowing the pyrotechnics to blow up their mild squibs...uh I mean evil sorcery is clearly at work here!

Aren't you glad you used Dial? Don't you wish all the Dark Ages did?

With the main village under attack it is the king's command that the Spirit Stone (yet another MacGuffin of magical content) be removed from the city for safe keeping by Tashinge (Danitza Kingsley of Amazons, No Man's Land, South of Reno, Jack's Back and Where Sleeping Dogs Lie), warrior woman general of the Amazons and spokes model of leather brassier. With the Spirit Stone in tow, Tashinge leads her warriors out of the city. Kalungo appeases his demon master Baliguri (Francisco Cocuzza of Night of the Pencils, Amazons, Two to Tango, Play Murder for Me, The Plague and Ever Changing Waters) who appears in the form of a balding man of 5'8". Residing hairline! The work of the dark master!!! Thank the gods for no wavering bikini lines. Well aside from this being a female protagonist tale there is plenty of male sexist pigdom in it. Convenient bathing times, a shape-shifting lioness and so on. Warriors Dyala (Mindi Miller of Hell Up in Harlem, Body Double, Deadly Embrace, Return Fire, Caged Fury and Batman Returns)and Tashi (Penelope Reed of Amazons, The New Mike Hammer, Gung Ho, Far Out Man and Hollywood Boulevard II) must journey to the high mountains through the were lands (land of creatures and demons) to gain the Sword of Azundati to defeat Kalungo.

Okay the fight/sword choreography was clear that they did not hire the late Bob Anderson(most sought-out swordsmaster/fight choreographer and stunt coordinator from The Master Ballantre, Crossed Swords, Casino Royale, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Superman II, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Highlander, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Revenant) but Arturo Neal (Barbarian Queen, The Warrior and the Sorceress, Stormquest, Highlander II: The Quickening, Two to Tango and Corrupt Police) understood enough from the equivalency of the SCA's quarterstaff, broadsword and pole arm combat. The cinematography on the other hand was lacking a stabilizer for more than 40 percent of the film, I got the feeling some of these cameramen were hanging off cliff edges getting aerial shots, some cherry picker shots vs using a crane angle, loads of mount the tripod in the grass and hope the trained horses don't bump into it. That is if the cameras could ever stay in focus.

Robert Duvall??!!  No wait. Nah it isn't.

The stop motion transformation of the lioness to human was a bit hokey with stock footage as well, the lightning strikes were...a bit painful and the grappling,fist fights looked too staged so no real aid on set but standard first aid my guess. Most of the sets looked like cardboard, Styrofoam and less than believable and despite all of this, you have a tale of two women putting aside their family squabbles in order to save their kingdom, matriarch and the people they have sworn to protect. The nudity isn't overwhelming and surprisingly tastefully shot. Funny that is were I expected the shaking of cameras. Yeah I was kidding. Implied rape scenes seem to be a Post Apocalpyse and Sci-Fi Fantasy need. Ugh. Half of the time these fur clad bikinis are actually less tasteful then 1,000,000 Years B.C.

Oh look boys, a nude scene...kinda.