Director: Chuck Vincent

Hoff! Hoff! Hoff! Hoff!

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Pompeii: August 22, 79 A. D.

Our film opens with a rThere's something about a woman with a sword...*rawr!*oyal caravan slowly creeping across a field, when suddenly, it's attacked by bandits. The guards attempt to ward off the robbery, but to no avail, as they are quickly cut down by the bloodthirsty thieves. Just as it looks as if all hope is lost, the royal ambassador, Berenice (Sybil Danning), emerges from the caravan, sword in hand, and deftly disposes of the criminals with her steel blade of justice. On second thought, "deft" may be a strong word to describe Berenice's sword skills. A more accurate description maybe "clumsy," and "implausible," but I digress. So then, under the stern vigil of Sybil Danning, the caravan continues on their way."Arrr! Shiver me....oops, wrong time period."

Meanwhile, in the heart of the city, a fresh supply of slaves have just arrived, much to the disdain of the townspeople, who (half-heartedly) cry out, "Whores, get outta here." To be honest, they seemed more bored with the situation than actually outraged. So, the captives are then herded into a warehouse, and the slave auction begins. The auctionees are stripped, hung by their ankles in chains, and swung back-and-forth in front of the prospective buyers as they bid. Now, before you feminists get all riled up, let me add that they did this for both the women and men. The producers of Warrior Queen just w"Even after a harsh day of chariot racing, my hair still looks GREAT!"ant you to know, they are an equal-opportunity offender. Anyway, the majority of the slaves are brought by Victo, a one-eyed entrepreneur, who runs the local brothel.

Suddenly, a fervor in the streets draws the auction participants outside to witness the arrival of Marcus, the requisite gladiator hero. And you know he's the hero, because all the women (half-heartedly) cry out to him, "Marcus, I love you," and blow kisses in his general direction. That, and I think I may have also saw a cue card somewhere with the words THE HERO printed in bold, and a big arrow pointing to Marcus -- but it might have been subliminal.

To bring the excitement to a fever pitch, the aforementioned royal caravan arrives, and the Royals are greeted by Clodius Flaucus (Donald PleasanShouldn't one of them be wearing a backwards ballcap?!ce), the...*snicker*...ruler of Pompeii. Flaucus escorts Berenice and her entourage to his palace, where they have prepared a magnificent feast in their honor, with entertainment including: armwrestling (to the death!), a guy holding a torch in front of his mouth and spitting fire (say, he stole that from Gene Simmons!), and Rome's favorite pastime where all party attendees get a net, a flock of doves are released, and then they get to -- CATCH THE BIRDS! You know, Donald Pleasance may be somewhat of a ham, but he sure knows how to PAR-TAY! Unfortunately, none of Flaucus' wildman antics impress Berenice, and she excuses herself from the festivitieLou Ferrigno in his biggest role since CAGE!s, much to his dismay.

Meanwhile, at Victo's brothel, mass fornication is afoot. Victo calls forth Vespa, his prized new slave, and takes her to see Chloe, the senior slave, who will help nduct her into the "organization." Then Goliath, the evil gladiator, arrives. The prostitutes don't like Goliath because of his apparent mistreatment of the women. Naturally, since Vespa is the naive, good-natured, new girl of the bunch, he chooses her to satisfy his wanton needs (i.e., to "do it"). Luckily, before he can get down to the satisfying, Marcus and Berenice show up (for no apparent reason) and stop Goliath (via a good butt-kickin'). Berenice then takes VesI, personally, am rooting for the lionpa to the side, tells her to keep a stiff upper lip, and leaves.

The next day, after a huge gladiatorial extravaganza, a victorious Marcus pays for the "services" of Vespa, and they go off for a romantic rendezvous in the woods. Before the "services" can be "rendered," however, Marcus is tricked into investigating a disturbance in another part of the woods, and once Vespa is left alone, she is immediately attacked by Goliath and his gang. But once again, Berenice unexplainably appears, fends off the attackers, and sOur heroes share a momentaves Vespa's bacon for the second time in two days.

At the following gladiator tournament, Marcus confronts Goliath, and they fight to the death. (I won't tell you who wins, but I'll give you a hint -- it isn't Goliath.) Then, unexpectedly, unexplainably, but yet mercifully, Mount Vesuvius erupts, destroying Pompeii (but unfortunately missing most of the principal characters), and ending this tragedy -- which brings forth the following questions:

What exactly was Berenice doing in Pompeii? It was obvious that she wasn't enjoying her stay. It appeared that Clodius was expecting her, and doing"Perhaps this choke would prove more effective if you held the stick against MY THROAT?!" his best to impress her, but what exactly was her function? And how did she become such a fierce (ha!) warrior?

How did Berenice always know when (and where) Vespa was in trouble? Did she consult her psychic friend? And why did she care? Why did she bother saving her from Goliath at the brothel, and yet still leave her there? If you are going to save somebody, shouldn't you remove them from the establishment which induces harm? I don't know, maybe I'm just being too logical.

There seemed to be a lKing Donong-standing feud between Goliath and Marcus...so, what the heck was it? Why did they seem to hate each other? What was the background of this historic rivalry? It's this crazy new concept called character development.

And finally, why does Donald Pleasance have to act like such an idiot? Well, I guess I can't necessarily blame the movie for that.

Though it may be redundant, allow me to summarize my thoughts by telling you not to see this movie. It is an exercise of sheer boredom and incoherency -- not to mention a test of my patience.

Woo!

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These are the times of which to cherish...

- The stunning scene where we get to see Clodius flail around like a moron trying to catch doves for Berenice's amusement. Does Donald Pleasance have no shame? Sorry, stupid question.

- The "thrilling" gladiator combat! One contest has the opposing factions tied to their respective stone columns, then they each take turns throwing a razor sharp discus at each other (ala "Xena: Warrior Princess"), and after each throw, they have to walk around the column, making their leash shorter, thus making it harder to dodge the lethal projectile being hurled at them. This particular scene also shed light on the fact that the ancient Roman's innards distinctly resemble spaghettios. I guess the gore used in the film wasn't factored into the budget, and they had to make do with whatever was on hand (or at the Lunch Wagon). And if you do happen to watch this film (fool!), be sure to pay attention when Goliath takes out a heckler in the crowd -- funny stuff.

Another exciting contest has the gladiators swinging from ropes back and forth from platform to platform, punching each other with nail-covered gloves. Whoever falls first meets the spikes layering the bottom of the pit. Unfortunately, my favorite gladiator spectacle, the one where the contestant tries to make it through a rigorous obstacle course while the opposing gladiator shoots tennis balls at them, was not featured in Warrior Queen.

Upon viewing this picture, you have now seen almost one-half of WARRIOR QUEEN

The establishing shot of Warrior Queen. Notice I didn't say "one of the" establishing shots -- for this is the only one! I must've have seen these particular mountains about half a dozen times throughout the course of the film. Why? What's the significance? I DON'T KNOW!

- Remember the huge gladiatorial extravaganza I referred to earlier? I may have been pushing the envelope a bit with the word "huge." The only people who actually attends this event are the principal characters. The roaring crowd was supplied by stock footage from, seemingly, another film. A "stock crowd," if you will. A very obvious stock crowd.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia-Hair was very popular in ancient Rome

One fascinating feat the filmmaker's successfully pulled-off was filming an orgy sequence completely void of anything erotic. Amazing. Another interesting aspect of this scene was the snake-dancing number a la From Dusk 'Til Dawn. The difference being, the girl performing the dance is not Salma Hayek. Not in the least bit. I've seen episodes of "Hee-Haw!" that are more erotic.

I guess you had to be there

Be sure to look for the random midget during the orgy scene, as well. Like the one in Shaolin Deadly Kicks (Flash Legs), he provides absolutely nothing to the story. His only function is to sit atop a stone column, in the middle of the brothel, and laugh hysterically for no apparent reason. The only time his presence is acknowledged by another character is when his hysterics get a bit out of hand and Victo gives him a little smack on the face. So, I'm assuming the midget was added as a novelty -- because, as you well know, short people are FUNNY! Why? Because they're SHORT!

- The devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius! Actually, it's more like devastating, grainy stock footage of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (or a close facsimile thereof). And it's during this eruption that Chloe, instead of trying to escape, returns to the brothel, and defiantly stands her ground as the building collapses on top of her; for as well all know, a good hooker goes down with the whorehouse. A stirring testament to the power of the human spirit; Upon my initial viewing, a single, solitary tear came to my eye.

 

Doesn't appear to be available at Amazon.com. Sorry.

 

-- Copyright 2000 by J. Bannerman

 

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