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Subj: Sword and Sorcery review #30: Ator- the Fighting Eagle (1982)
Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 at 02:43:51 pm EDT (Viewed 110 times)
Or Ator the Invincible.
Leave it to the Italians to make the greatest, cheesiest S&S film I can think of.
I actually saw this as a kid in the cinema with my Dad. I only remembered it after a rewatch but Im surprised how many scenes I recalled. In fact, I probably saw it before Conan the Barbarian, (which I no doubt saw on cable), since it is a pg film with no blood or sex.
It must have come out right fairly soon after Conan in 1982. The plot copies CtB to a ridiculous level, even in a genre where that is common.
Ator, an orphan, grows up in a village which gets slaughter by a troop of warriors led by an evil black guy. Ator must rescue a dark-haired girl from the black guys evil cult, which worships spiders (in Conan, it was a snake cult).
Bt its all done so wonderfully bad. Ator, is played by Miles OKeefe, as a big blonde barbarian. The director said OKeefe couldn't act or swordfight, but was such a likable guy that they kept him.
As a baby, Ator is the son of a famous hero, who was destined to end the 1000 year rule of the spider cult. He is taken by a priest named Griba, who looks like a low-rent Charles Bronsen, to a family to adopt. The mother already has a daughter and they agree to raise the kids as twins, not telling them that Ator is adopted.
The spider-lord, Dakkar is played by a wrestler with the stage name, Dakar. I'm not kidding that's how it looks in the credits. Dakar as Dakkar. He is a long step down from James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom. But he will let spiders climb on his bald head.
Dakkar and his soldiers live in an old Roman ampatheatre. They don't even bother to cut away the weeds from the ampatheatre.
The first time we see Ator and his grown up sister, Sunya, results in one of the funniest scenes ever. Ator gives his sister a bear cub, telling her he loves her. She says "I love you too." He then asks her to marry him. She says, "We cannot marry, we are brother and sister." Ator then gets a confused look on his face, then says "I'll talk to father about it."
After the most awkward conversation ever where he asks his father if he can marry his sister, his father reveals that Ator was adopted and its ok, they can marry.
So in the next scene, the former brother and sister are about to get married. In barbarian tradition, the wedding gets crashed by the evil Dakkar and his minions, who kill everyone, steal Ator's sister-bride, leaving only him alive.
The priest, Griba returns agreeing to train Ator for revenge. One day as they are training on a waterfall (which I think is Plitvice in Croatia), a group f bandits are assulting a blonde girl. Ator saves her, but she wont tell him her name. It is Sabrina Siani, a popular Italian schlock actress, who I didnt recognise with her clothes on.
Anyway, Ator departs on his revenge quest, getting captured by a tribe of Amazons, of whom the blonde girl, Roon, is a member. Instead of killing Ator, she flees with him. She tries to bang him, but he only has a heart for his sister.
We get scenes where they fight witches and collect magical item, with Roon constantly saving Ator. In one scene, to collect a magic shield, he must fight his OWN SHADOW. Roon saves him by coving the shield with a cloak (He rightly tells her she deserves the shield but she lets him keep it).
This film is so epic it doesnt even know how to end. Ator and Roon battle Dakar and his men. Dakar lasts about two sword swings before the cloak falls from the magic shield, exposing Dakar to a light which makes him EXPLODE. No explanation.
You'd think that was the final boss fight, but instead, we find Sunya, the sister, tied in a giant spider-web and Griba the priest. Turns out Griba is evil and was just using Ator to kill the spider-king. After another amazingly short fight, Ator leaves Griba tied up in the web to be devoured by a giant spider.
But thats not the final boss. He has to confront a giant spider puppet of which no mention has yet been made. The fight is shown entirely from he spider-puppet's perspective (to save on special effects) so it feels like Ator is fighting the camera. He wins and the spider spills blood that is full of bubbles. I guess spider-gods are carbonated.
They find Roon is dead. She really got a raw deal but I guess the message is that she couldn't really match up to Aitor's sister in his heart so its just as well.
This film is great because, unlike the Deathstalker films, which are done half tongue-in-cheek, everyone in Ator plays it completely straight. They all act as if they are in something serious and profound. And I thank them for it.
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