The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Ator, the Fighting Eagle aka Ator l'invincible (1982)
With Miles O'Keefe as a card carrying member of DTVC Hall of Fame, it's only natural to get the work he's best known for up here on the site. We've already done Iron Eagle, another Ator film, and when I saw this one available on Netflix, I jumped at it.
Ator, the Fighting Eagle is about some evil High Priest of the Spider who isn't a nice cat, and a prophesy suggests that a child born with the mark of his deceased nemesis will take him down. A la a certain story we know in the Bible, the Spider King tries to kill all the babies born when Ator is, to no avail. The High Priest's other rival has smuggled him out of town. Now Ator grows up, and falls in love with his sister, only his dad's like "she's not your real sister, some dude brought you here", and he's all excited to marry his de facto sister, only to have the High Priest attack his village and take her with him. Now he's gotta go take this dude down, but not before the rival guy that smuggled him away shows him how to fight, and not before he's captured by some Amazon women that want his seed.
As you can well imagine, this was hilarious. From the hubcap chest plate Ator was sporting (that had to chafe!), to the fight with a couple shadows (he actually had a sword fight with two shadows on the wall), to his end battle with a huge spider puppet, this was ridiculous from start to finish. My only complaint was it's length: 98 minutes of this crap was too much. 70 would be plenty. There are only so many funny renamed everyday items as mystical props used against enemies with special powers that are really just silly ways to get by budget constraints that I can handle.
With that being said, this had to be so much fun to make. I'd love to make a movie like this. I wonder what it would cost. There's the horses. If it was post-apocalyptic I could use broken down cars, so that would be cheaper. Then the costumes. I could maybe cut costs by having the extras bring their own outfits. Can you do that? Maybe to continue on that post-apocalyptic theme, the clothes could be from Wal-Mart. Then it's just the sets and the actors. Oh yeah, and the lawyers. Then I'd need insurance. This seems like a lot of work after all. I think I'll just stick to the blog.
Miles is good in this, but not quite as hilarious as he is in Cave Dwellers. There was one scene where someone close to him was dying, and I was hoping beyond hope that he'd be like "No!", but it never happened. He also never did open heart surgery, or hang glide, or fight a Long-Haired John Saxon Guy. The scene at the beginning when he's with this chick, and their saying how they love each other, and he goes "Why can't we marry?" and she replies "We're brother and sister." was amazing. It was also funny watching him get captured by the Amazon women.
My favorite character beyond Ator was this little bear cub thing with a skunk-like stripe painted on it that hung out with him. He was the cutest thing ever. I have no idea what his deal was, and for a good chunk of the film he just happened to be in almost every shot with Miles. Then, out of nowhere, Ator refers to him by name and has him run some kind of diversionary tactic. I guess we're supposed to assume he was training this thing all along. Who knows. It would've been better if it just randomly ran around in the shots with no explanation for it.
One interesting move this film made came with its women. The brunette got the hero, and the blond was killed off. Generally it's the other way around. When I was flying out to LA, some chick flick with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway was showing. The idea was the two were getting married at the same time, which was a problem. I knew, from the moment the opening credits rolled, that Anne Hathaway was not going to be married in that film. When it's a choice between a brunette and a blond in a chick flick, the blond almost always wins out, and the brunette is usually okay with that because she's a brunette. I think we need more movies like Ator, the Fighting Eagle out there to show women of all hair color that they count too, and that they're not second class citizens to their blond counterparts.
Don't go spending a bunch of cash on this, but it's definitely worth seeing. It's not as funny as Cave Dwellers or Iron Warrior, but it delivers enough. If you want a bad movie that you and your friends can pick a part, you've come to the right place.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085183/