Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Gladiator Cop

Gladiator Cop

“Perhaps we have the wrong man”

Jarv’s Rating: 3 Changs out of 4

Perhaps indeed.

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.

En Garde- Gladiator Cop

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.

Henchman with magic sword of Alexander the Great

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.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

34 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Gladiator Cop”

  1. Droid says :

    Lamas may have invented anti-acting, but Chris Klein perfected it.

    I’m thinking we cast Klein as Buzz Armstrong.

  2. Jarv says :

    There’s some serious contenders for this role.

    I think it could be a career maker.

  3. Continentalop says :

    Historically, I think Rod Cameron invented anti-acting.

  4. Jarv says :

    That’s a great shout. You may well be right.

  5. Droid says :

    Rod Camerons wiki tells me…

    “Cameron’s private life was colorful; in a highly publicized marital scrap, he divorced his wife to marry her mother. Hence his former director, William Witney, publicly acclaimed Cameron as the bravest man he had ever seen.”

  6. Jarv says :

    I can’t think of any point where that would be acceptable.

  7. Tom_Bando says :

    Well was going to ignore this one just because–then I saw James Hong! Alright!!! A James Hong sighting means you know you are in for a good time-at least when he’s around.

    He’s in stuff like Black Widow w/ Theresa Russell. Plays a sleazebag well.

  8. Continentalop says :

    He married his wife’s mother? I can see it if they are like Rumor Willia & Demi Moore, otherwise that just seems wrong.
    William Whitney – I’ll give QT credit, he is a good director who deserves more respect. Even if he kept casting Rod.

  9. Continentalop says :

    James Hong. Chinatown. I don’t have to say more.

  10. Continentalop says :

    What I really love is this flicks title. “Gladiator Cop.” Just combine an ancient job with a modern one and you’ve got yourself a schlock film.
    I want to write Viking Fireman.

  11. Droid says :

    Samurai Astronaut!

  12. Jarv says :

    People, you are all hilariously wrong.

    We want something ancient combined with something mundane- I give you Caveman Accountant.

  13. Droid says :

    Pirate Anthropologist!

  14. Jarv says :

    Mongol Cleaner!

  15. Jarv says :

    Cowboy Banker!

    Wait, shit, that one works.

  16. just pillow talk says :

    Ninja Garbage Man.

  17. just pillow talk says :

    You really need to do a write-up on Samurai cop.

  18. Jarv says :

    I know. As soon as I can get it, I am doing.

  19. Droid says :

    Jarv, I got my hands on Shootin Aces 2. Also managed to find Daisy. I could only find the theatrical cut. Apparently there is a directors cut thats 15 minutes longer.

    I’ve watched neither thus far.

  20. Jarv says :

    I’ve got Shooting Aces 2 coming from a friend.

    I’ve just got to summon up the nerve to watch them back to back. The first one is still too painfully fresh in my mind.

    Daisy is superb, droid- I don’t know which version I’ve got, but I can’t think of anything I’d either add or take away from it.

    • Droid says :

      Didn’t you buy Smokin Aces in a drunken impulse purchase recently?

      • Jarv says :


        And it sits on the shelf glaring malevolently at me to remind me of my folly.

        Fuck’s sake- this is precisely why Mrs. Jarv is entirely necessary. She stops me doing stupid fucking things like that.

  21. Jarv says :

    Or even Smokin’ Aces 2.

    Fuck’s sake

    • Droid says :

      That was my fault. I called it shootin aces for some inexplicable reason. Primarily because I couldn’t give two shits was that garbage is called.

      I saw the trailer for The A Team and it looks like shit. But that may be partially because of the irritating fade outs every two seconds.

      • Jarv says :

        I saw it too- it just looks horrible.

        I’m starting to think Carnahan is a hack and Narc was a freak event.

  22. Bartleby says :

    How bout Latte Knight?

    Anyway, Gladiator Cop is ridiculous. I can’t recall though, didn’t Lamas make another (different from this one) Highlander ripoff called The Immortal or something? Or are these the same movie?

    To his credit his ‘acting’ is consistent. In Mega Shark/Giant Octo he was just sort of there too.

  23. herr milflover says :

    How have I not heard of this movie before? Sounds awesome.

    Or not.

    And when has Lamas ever been any good at acting?
    Cena is like Anthony Hopkins in comparison.

  24. Jarv says :

    You’ll love it Frank.

    Did you do the acid test.

  25. ThereWolf says :

    If James Hong is in this it’s got to be worth a go.

    All Hail The Hong!

  26. ____ says :

    I’ve seen this as a kid in the late 90s, along with its prequel The Swordsman, where Lamas killed his fencing teacher who was Parmenion as well. Well Gladiator Cop was not as boring due to the multiple fights, but how the heck did Parmenion got reborn old so fast and got chinese? I hope it’s as watchable (if senseless) as Ninja 3: The Domination.

    • Jarv says :

      It’s the mystery of this film. It’s watchable, but nowhere near as funny as Ninja 3- which is coming soon, but I want to do the whole Ninja series.

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