Film Review: The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)

Release Date: April 30th, 1982
Directed by: Albert Pyun
Written by: Albert Pyun, Tom Karnowski, John V. Stuckmeyer
Music by: David Whitaker
Cast: Lee Horsley, Kathleen Beller, Simon MacCorkindale, George Maharis, Richard Lynch

Sorcerer Productions, Group 1 International Distribution Organization Ltd., 100 Minutes


“I will allow you to live as long as you serve me. Betray me, and I will joyfully send you back to rot in hell.” – Titus Cromwell

This was the first feature film directed by Albert Pyun, who would go on to direct such hits as CyborgCaptain AmericaKickboxer 2Kickboxer 4 and Arcade. Okay, I’m being sarcastic. I figured I’d have to point that out, as people’s sarcasm detectors don’t seem to work as well these days.

Anyway, this is a sword and sorcery movie that came out at the height of sword and sorcery movies.

That being said, this can’t compete with films like Conan the Barbarian or The Beastmaster but it has some impressive stuff in it.

First off, the bad guy is cool as hell and the opening scene that sees him come to life was well crafted for a motion picture with no budget. The walls of the pit he was in were made up of faces and it was just creepy as hell and looked damn good. Also, I liked the look of the bad guy in his true form and there’s this really cool bit where he rips a witch’s heart out of her chest, pulling it into his fist with telekinesis.

Also, the hero has a three bladed sword. That may seem impractical and silly but it actually shoots it’s blades like the friggin’ sword from The Legend of Zelda. Granted, they’re actual blades and not some sort of energy projection but it’s a neat idea and it works for what this film is, an imaginative but kind of hokey, violent fantasy film.

There is no one of note in the movie and with that, the acting is definitely subpar. But it’s not so terrible that you feel the need to laugh at it.

The biggest problem with the film is that it has a lot of slower, filler moments and those get quite boring. The highpoints are solid and fun but there isn’t enough of them to make this a better than average film.

People may see this and think it’s terrible and I can’t argue that it’s not. But if you pay attention to the little things that add a level of real sword and sorcery coolness to this picture, it’s an enjoyable experience for fans of the genre. The good parts are much better than the bad parts are bad. I just wish it had more of the good bits.

Rating: 5/10
Pairs well with: other sword and sorcery films of the early ’80s.

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