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Warrior and the Sorceress, The
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by Jack Sommersby

"Boobs and Blood!"
3 stars

Grossed $6 million off a budget just a tenth of that.

In half the title role in the slight but breezily entertaining medieval tale The Warrior and the Sorceress David Carradine delivers another of his fine B-movie performances as Kain, a wandering highly-skilled fighter who comes across a castle that is split into two villages at war with each other, with the ultimate prize in this desert area total control of a huge water well dead-center on the property. One leader is the obese Bal Get who keeps a miniature dragon-like pet at his side that whispers advice in his ear, whom Kain negotiates one-hundred gold coins from to defend his side, and soon thereafter goes to the other leader, the tyrant Zeg, who's somewhat more refined and has in his capture the beautiful sorceress Naja who is under orders to produce him a quintessential sword that can defeat any foe - Kain talks him into offering even more gold to defend his side. Throughout, the manipulative Kain cagily plays both sides in getting the highest offer and has no allegiance to either Bal Get or Zeg, making the movie a low-budget version of Akira Kurosawa's classic 1961 Yojimbo. And Carradine is the perfect actor to embody this sly, cagey hero. When he was cast in leading roles in major Hollywood projects with big-name directors like Hal Ashby's Bound for Glory and Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg he lacked the full-wattage charisma and internal resources to register much, leaving those movies with a vacant dramatic core; but in low-budget king Roger Corman productions like the engaging black-comedy action flick Death Race he's perfectly in his element and sustains interest - he hasn't a great deal of talent, mind you, but when properly cast he can lend a movie some authority and confidence. The Warrior and the Sorceress gets off to a rather lackluster start, but it gains some color and momentum as it progresses, and though it lacks the occasional bravura of Albert Pyun's excellent The Sword and the Sorcerer from two years prior it's pleasing as far as these things go, with plenty of blood and gratuitous female nudity to sate plenty of appetites. Someone named John Broderick both wrote and directed this miasma of familiar elements, and he does well enough without ever offering anything even remotely indicative of distinction; he keeps the seventy-seven-minute running time going without too much in the way of narrative hiccups to slow it down. Broderick obviously isn't trying to invent the second coming of the wheel here, and it's this - his keeping his aims modest - that helps put the picture over. And the adept David Carradine solidifies the deal. Even with the most stilted of dialogue by the dubious likes of "There are no lessons, my lord, only victory and defeat" he can deliver almost any line with assurance, and by resisting the temptation to showboat you can't help but admire his appropriate restraint. Without him The Warrior and the Sorceress would be merely functional; with him it's slightly more, which, considering the contextual inanity of the overall piece, is quite applaudable.

A decent Blu-Ray release is available for those who consider this a cult classic.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=33852&reviewer=327
originally posted: 10/26/20 05:54:52
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USA
  07-Sep-1984 (R)

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