Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hawk the Slayer

“This is a story of Heroic Deeds and the bitter struggle for the triumph of Good over Evil and of a wondrous Sword wielded by the mighty Hero when the Legions of Darkness stalk the land.” This unpunctuated mess of a narrated prologue is the opening title card for our movie. We’re in for a winner. Here’s Hawk The Slayer!

Hawk The Slayer was directed by Terry Marcel, who you may remember as the director for such classics as Prisoners of the Lost Universe, and Jane and the Lost City. The art of film direction will forever be indebted to this man. His flawless artistic vision is only complemented by the always subtle acting style of one Jack Palance. This film truly is a classic amongst classics

Who To Know
Hawk – The supposed hero who isn’t likable, isn’t unlikable, and ultimately isn’t really noticeable. Baldin should’ve been the hero. At least he’s clever.
Voltan – The evil brother of Hawk. He looks like the Phantom of the Opera, and wants power.
Ranulf - A supposed warrior that Voltan stabs every time that they come across one another.
Crow – A Spock-like Elf that is great with a bow. He has Elf ears.
Gort – A giant. That’s about it…he’s tall….and he eats.
Baldin – A dwarf that eats…and tricks giants into giving him their food. He has a whip too.

And the story goes...
We open with Voltan threatening his own father for the Key to the Ancient Power. It’s funny seeing Voltan refer to his father as an “old man.” I’d say the guy is probably 5 or 6 years younger than Palance was at this time. It’s like when you have two fat people arguing, and one calls the other fat. There’s no reason for that. Everybody knows that when insulting another person, you must pick something that isn’t true about yourself. I read that in Jet magazine.
Long-story-short, Voltan’s brother Hawk, who is about 50 years younger than Voltan, is pounding on the door in an effort to save his father. Dad refuses to give the “last Elvin mindstone” to Voltan, so he stabs his father, and runs. Hawk finally kicks the thin door in, but is too late to catch Voltan. His father gives a sword that has a hand shaped hilt. A glowing rock floats to the hand, the hand comes to life somehow, grabs it, then goes back to being a hilt. Hawk’s ready to slay stuff.
After what felt like 20 minutes of opening credits, we see a delirious man, Ranulf, stumbling around. He is taken in by the Sisterhood of the Holy Word, and they are forced to amputate his hand because it’s so badly injured. After he wakes up we discover that “the Devil himself…Voltan” had ransacked his town, killing everybody but him. Convenient. That should add an extra 1.25 hours to the film.
Voltan speaks with a wizard for a while about his destiny or something. Then he shows up at the abbey that Ranulf is at to inform the Abbess that he will attack the abbey if they don’t pay him gold. He then throws a knife stabbing Ranulf in the stomach, and cuts a loaf of bread with his sword. Even though Ranulf was just stabbed, he is sent to speak to the head Abbot to find out what he should do. The Abbot says to find Hawk, of course.
We cut to a forest to see Hawk save a witch from being burned. Here he does some impressive block-the-arrow-with-your-sword-and-make-it-stick-in-a-tree-fu. We get some Leone-esque close-ups, and the entire time, Hawk does not show any signs of a personality. Hawk has a witch/wizard now too!
Meanwhile, Ranulf is still searching for Hawk when he is stopped by forest peasants. He shoots one with a cross bow, then the other one smacks him off of his horse. Seriously, what kind of warrior is this guy? We never see it, but I’m sure the nuns slap him around too. He should stick to farming, or something like that. He’s clearly not cut out for battling. We get a kick-smack music interlude, then Hawk saves Ranulf, while maintaining absolute boringness.
Flashback time: Hawk had a fiancé that Voltan believed was his girlfriend before he went to war. That’s the source of all of the animosity.
Crow. He's an elf!
Hawk now has to find Crow, Gort, and Baldin in order to fight Voltan. As Hawk discovers, each one is in a real fix, that is until Hawk comes to save the day, because he's our supposed hero. He tells them of the mission, and they each agree to fight. Yay! They return to the Abbey, and have more flashbacks about Voltan killing Hawk’s wife. It turns out Voltan has the Abbess as a hostage now also.
Next our heroes come across a disgusting slave trader who spits food on himself when he speaks. An awesome battle scene ensues, and we are invited to bear witness in the choppiest editing that I’ve ever seen. The least they could do is take a couple of different shots of a bow being shot and edit them together. Looping just isn’t doing it.
Moving on. Baldin is a trickster when it comes to food. Voltan has a son that he will kill if he holds a knife. And Hawk is still impressively uninteresting.
Voltan’s son comes to the Abbey for the gold, but Hawk isn’t feeling it. And, you gotta feel it. So we have another battle scene complete with lots of jump cuts! Voltan’s son is injured in the battle, and Voltan is pist. He kills a soldier that accompanied his son because the sodier survived. That makes sense, I guess.
Voltan drops in on the abbey without so much as a phone call, and lets everybody know that they are to give him gold and Hawk, or else the Abbess will be “returned with her innards around her scrowney neck”. Hawk ain’t havin’ it! Crow is out to find Voltan’s hang out, as he runs in slow motion across the land. Luckily in his slow running, he found the blind witch to assist.
She shows the group where some of Voltan’s men are camping. We now get to see some of the smokiest fights scenes that have been committed to film! Once finished, Hawk continues to be boring.
We get about 5 minutes of the usual. Hawk is worthless, Crow is emotionless, and Gort and Baldin eat. But then a nun drugs some beer and gives it to Gort. No, it’s not “date rape time,” it’s “betray everybody in the convent for your own gain time, and say it’s to help the Abbess time!” This nun allows access to the abbey for Voltan, and is surprised when he betrays and kills her. Holy crap Jack Palance is a ham. Shatner has nothing on this thespian. His speach about killing Hawk's crew brought tears to my eyes.
Tied up, our heroes are in great peril. But then, the blind witch enters to shoot silly string on the guard, which is apparently enough to put him and everybody else in the room, besides Hawk's crew, in a coma. Then, the midget dies and we move to a battle with snow and glowing ping-pong balls, and the disco-iest of disco music that I’ve ever heard. I was expecting a biker a sailer and a construction worker to pop on screen. The Indian wouldn’t be there because it’d be too out of place.
Hawk and Voltan have their final battler, which is pretty much Voltan swinging his sword wildly while Hawk swats at it. Alas, Voltan is tired, so Hawk moves in for the kill. Voltan’s last words are that he’ll be waiting for Hawk “at the gates of hell.” Holy crap, the dudes even a hard-ass when he’s dieing!
When all is said and done, a floating wizard takes Voltan’s body and says that his death will not last because they need him. The blind witch tells Hawk and Gort that some stuffs going down in the south. Looks like it’s time for the sequel, HAWK THE HUNTER!

Bring home the Slayer, in all of his boring glory today!
Hawk the Slayer

Previous: The Wizards of the Demon Sword

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