Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Gladiator Cop
“Perhaps we have the wrong man”
Jarv’s Rating: 3 Changs out of 4
Anyhow, to give myself a wee break from the serious grown up reviews, I’m going to bang out a quick review of this hilarious piece of schlock. This is a goofy low budget gem, that I thoroughly enjoyed while Mrs. Jarv sat there making snide comments about “The first rule of fencing club”. It’s overblown, ridiculous, hammy, hilarious, stupid (really, really stupid), exploitative and all round great fun.
How do I explain this without making it sound like shit? It’s got Lorenzo Lamas in it, for fuck’s sake: one of the most useless, talentless cunts in the history of cinema and the man that I’m convinced actually invented anti-acting (I know Chris Klein is credited with inventing this, but I’m convinced Lamas should earn that accolade) . The premise is ridiculous, they’ve no regard for mythology or history, the choreography in the fight scenes is laughable, it’s scored by a deaf person that isn’t Beethoven, and I’m pretty certain shot by a cinematographer with a nicotine habit so immense that he thinks the world actually does look hazy.
Plotwise, the film is about the magic sword of Alexander the Great. Apparently, it was on on display in a museum, except the old curator has organised a heist for this precious weapon. He then kits out his big henchdude with it and enters him in a series of underground sword fights (run by a shady chinese geezer called Parmenion), which he bets on and wins untold amounts of money. Because the sword makes the weilder invulnerable. In the meantime, Lamas plays Andrew Garret, a brooding cop with long hair who is suffering from strange dreams. It turns out for reasons never properly explained, that he’s the reincarnation of Alexander himself, and the sword is calling to him.
This would explain the dreams. They weren’t dreams about being Alexander taking it up the pumper (although they may as well be from all you can make out). No, these were dreams of his supreme warrior past. In a freakish co-incidence (ha!) it turns out that Parmenion is actually the reincarnaiton of Alexander’s general/ nemesis- a dude called Mongol (because nobody could be bothered to look up the history), and he’s got a 2000 year old hate-boner for our hero.
All this silliness is basically an excuse for a load of to-the-death cage fights. That’s it. That’s the reason to watch this film. The various fighters are garbed in increasingly ridiculous costumes, and all fight to the death with a variety of silly medieval weaponry. TO THE DEATH! Mwahahahahahahaha!
Erm, excuse me.
Right, where was I?
This film is, and there’s really no sugar coating it, shockingly bad. Lorenzo might well have been lobotomised before shooting started, and he’s also dismally supported by all and sundry. None of them seem to be having a good time. With one exception: James Hong. That’s right- Lo Pan is in this low rent effort, and he at least seems to recognise that he’s in a load of tosh, and therefore he seems to be really enjoying himself.
This is, by any reasonable standard of criticism, a fucking diabolical film. However, and I can’t stress this enough, it’s also an absurdly entertaining one. Lamas walks around with a look on his face that suggests he may well be touching cloth, and he never gives the slightest indication that he’s likely to solve the case. But he’s hilarious. This is one of the worst performances ever filmed. It’s so bad that I’m not actually sure that you can call it a performance. He’s just sort of there. Like a statue, but with less emotional range. I’m sure he thinks he looks brooding and magnificent, but he doesn’t. He actually looks retarded. Somehow he does manage to get laid, but I’m almost certain that it’s either a pity fuck or a charity fuck. It certainly can’t be down to charisma.
The fighting scenes themselves are chaotically and shambolically shot. There’s no clear choreography and no narrative flow to them. It’s as if director Nick Rotundo just told his actors to slug it out in a ring for a bit, then shouted “Right, cunts, stop. You big cunt on the left, you’ve got to win now. You slightly smaller, but still pretty big cunt on the right, let him win.” It’s hilarious.
Overall, would I recommend this film. I have to say- absolutely, but treat with caution. There’s a fairly good acid test to determine whether or not you will enjoy this piece of low-rent ridiculousness:
Do you find the idea of Lorenzo Lamas dressed as Zorro fighting a huge masked Russian (to the death) in a cage armed with the sword of Alexander the Great funny?
If you do, like me, then you’ll love it. It’s an absolute crapfest and well worth 3 changs. If you don’t (like Mrs. Jarv) then it’ll bore you to tears and you will sit there making snide comments such as “the second rule of fencing club is make sure you’ve got the magic sword”.
It’s a gem, and well worth a bit of anyone’s time. Recomended.