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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10%
Average: 3.33%
Pretty Bad: 5%
Total Crap: 5%

1 review, 54 user ratings

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Flesh + Blood
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by Scott Weinberg

"An ugly, brutally violent and also quite excellent adventure movie."
5 stars

Flesh & Blood is one of Paul Verhoeven's earliest movies, but it reeks of his trademark extremes of graphic violence. There's a realism to this movie you can almost smell. Plus there's some great battles with barrels of gore, lots of nudity, and some nasty and just plain gross plot twists. It's certainly not for the weak of heart (or stomach), but it IS a great movie.

Martin (Rutger Hauer) leads a band of brutal mercenaries in the plague-ridden Medieval era. After being betrayed by their king, they strike back by kidnapping maiden Agnes(Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is promised to Prince Steven (Tom Burlinson). They then come across a castle, which they promptly decide to attack and keep for a new home. They set about the task, while Prince Steven and his men rapidly approach in their search for Agnes.

Of course, Agnes begins to care for Martin, bringing the wrath of his former flame, Celine (Susan Tyrell). There's much infighting within Martin's group, until an unlikely discovery "blesses" the group. (There are many familiar faces amongst Martin's men, including Bruno Kirby and the late Brion James.) Given the time frame of this movie, you can expect accurate depictions of bloody battles, plague victims, and a few nasty rapes.

The great movies are distinguished by one thing, in my book: Attention to detail. Small and large, important or just background noise, the genius indeed lies in the details. And everything about Flesh & Blood is almost too realistic. Paul Verhoeven points his camera at some shockingly violent (and even unpleasant) things without a blink. While this may upset and displease some viewers, others appreciate the very graphic detail. Even when unpleasant, these details are essential props for a movie like this. As soon as the facade begins to sag a little...boom...what you're left with is Conan the Destroyer.

As usual, Rutger Hauer is completely at ease in carrying a movie. He may be the most underrated actor of the last 20 years, as he continually makes junky movies that are recommendable solely thanks to his presence. His approach here is to play Martin as violent and ruthless, but also with a (very) quiet nobility. (Note the way he subtly prevents Agnes from being raped...twice!) By the end of the movie, you really can't tell if you should be rooting for him or not. That's a good thing. Jennifer Jason Leigh excels here, beginning as a complete innocent who quickly finds herself in extremely...carnal situations. Her transformation is completely believable, and we can always sense her ambiguity between her lust for Martin and her devotion to Prince Steven.

Flesh & Blood (also known as The Rose and The Sword, incidentally) is a brutal and exhilerating movie that will completely immerse you in this pretty damn unpleasant era. I'm not saying I'd want to buy a condo there, but a movie is meant to drop you wholly into a story. Flesh & Blood does that wonderfully, and the movie will enthrall you because of the realistic and brutal violence, not despite it. (I mention this to warn away the weak-hearted, but mainly to pique the interest of the gorehounds out there.)

I'm letting you all in on one of my "secret favorites" here, so I pretty much can guarantee that you'll like this one. It's equal parts of Excalibur, Braveheart and Joan of Arc. Go search for this one and thank me later.

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originally posted: 04/11/00 17:40:21
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User Comments

1/15/11 escondita Horrifying, beautiful, compelling, & repulsive; clear memories of it 20 yrs. after viewing 4 stars
4/18/10 Minotaur A young boy jeers while JJL is gangraped; nice 1 stars
10/17/07 Draco Igns Crap!"Typical comercial action movie.Verhoeven is not Riddley Scott! 2 stars
9/27/07 David Fowler Beautiful and harrowing. Magnificently done! 5 stars
4/22/07 UvIndex Brilliant 5 stars
3/01/07 Jan Vrolijk For the first time I have seen a realistic impression of the middle ages. No noble knights! 5 stars
2/23/07 Miguel Santos Engrossing! Awesome characters and story. Amazing setting, love the ending. 5 stars
12/16/06 Arnolfini TIts and medieval scenary and battles -> Really nice movie!!! 5 stars
8/31/06 Mike Kidd Brilliant, confronting, memorable. 5 stars
8/07/06 David E. Miller This is a brilliant film. It is faithful to those violent and bawdy times! 5 stars
8/17/05 ES I pays my money for the movie not the censor= good movie 4 stars
7/19/05 Jan Jamoo Fascinating ,among other things it encapsulates the death of feudalism in Europe 5 stars
6/20/05 Steve Newman Surprised everyone has rated it so high - must be something I dont get 3 stars
10/13/04 slovaczek The 15th century was a nasty time , right? 4 stars
5/10/04 Dong Quang Terrific! I love medieval films and this is simply one of the best. Very gritty! 5 stars
4/01/04 Billie Dawn Absolutely Remarkable Film...Very much worth owning and watching over and over again!! 5 stars
2/10/04 Joe Blow gritty & realistic 5 stars
1/20/04 michel Verhoeven's first English-language film is visceral, shocking and brutal. Fantastic!!! 5 stars
1/11/04 Interestingly, it is a woman who is the central figure in this decidedly "male" movi which 5 stars
12/15/03 maffat Me to;)9It's a wonderful film with an Amazing Rutger Hauer!.. 5 stars
12/14/03 BadOne I Love it :) 5 stars
12/12/03 maffat it's a beautyful and very intense movie.not a total crap... 5 stars
12/07/03 john intense and mercilessly realistic - a bit exxagerated at times but never boring 4 stars
11/18/03 Andy izcarra you old hag 1 stars
11/05/03 maffat Pretty bad?.... 5 stars
11/05/03 Very interesting movie. 5 stars
11/04/03 maffat I LOVE IT!!! 5 stars
10/12/03 hedwig a masterpiece 5 stars
6/19/03 Roberto Azula I dig it. Ending is absolutely classic 5 stars
5/28/03 Urwendor fantastic and grotesque 5 stars
4/16/03 R.W. Welch Medieval potboiler of no particular distinction. 3 stars
3/17/03 mr. Pink This rules! Not one of Verhoeven's best and still it`s amazing 5 stars
2/07/03 cp raw 5 stars
1/30/03 Serge V. super! 5 stars
1/13/03 Tex Brutal and pointless 2 stars
1/12/03 Diana Grinnell Sexy, Sensuous, and quite entertaining 5 stars
11/24/02 Kerri Surprisingly great film! 5 stars
11/22/02 dead robocop is better than this! 1 stars
5/29/02 Charles Tatum Over the top but not perfect 4 stars
5/11/02 maltevert ( a rare film, a true story of psychologic middle age (XVč/ XVIč) 5 stars
5/01/02 vsv best 5 stars
3/12/02 Zargo wonderful stuff, pity they never made a sequel 5 stars
3/10/02 John Elliott Great plot,total Realism rarely has the Rennaisance Mercenary been so well examined ! 5 stars
1/17/02 Brian A pristine and passionate mythos of one of the most dismal periods in human history. 5 stars
1/04/02 Michael Loved this when I first saw it, still love it now 5 stars
6/20/01 Monica It embodies the spirit of the Middleages 5 stars
6/07/01 rrr rrr 5 stars
2/25/01 jeroen Good, but P.V.'s best is "Soldier of Orange", check it out!! 4 stars
1/17/01 Antonio Fortunato Great Movie 5 stars
12/25/00 saurabh verma just too good 5 stars
9/10/00 lissener 1st hour's bad; then verhoeven's trademark-strong woman/man's world-rescues somewhat 2 stars
6/20/00 Ulatekk Outstanding! The nazi from Raiders of the lost arc is a "cleric". 5 stars
4/11/00 Marcus West Move over Joan, I'm all for Jennifer!!! lol 5 stars
4/11/00 the Grinch Old world mentality (Hauer) versus New World Renaissance thinking (Burlinson). Recommended! 5 stars
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  01-Jan-1985 (R)
  DVD: 03-Feb-2004



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