Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ATOR, THE FIGHTING EAGLE (1982)



When Joe D’Amato is in the director’s chair, you know the movie is going to be one of three things: a) sleazy, b) pornographic, c) utter crap. Ator: The Fighting Eagle falls squarely into the third category. And not only is it utter crap but it is utter boring crap, devoid of any and all traits that might make a crap movie so-bad-it’s-good fodder. Nope, Ator: The Fighting Eagle is just bad, and definitely the worst thing I’ve seen D’Amato’s name attached to.
     The story, for those who give a shit (you shouldn’t), concerns a world that has fallen under the rule of the Kingdom of the Spider which is to last a thousand years—“and this time shall be known as the Age of Darkness, where the Shadow of the Spider shall be the law.” After 1000 years, a man named Tauren shall come and promise a new way. But he fucks up and fails—apparently, he didn’t want to be in Ator. However, his son shall be a superior fighter and lead people to freedom—blah blah blah. So the son is born bearing the mark of Tauren, which Griba, a magical priest, covers up with some magic powder (probably cocaine), then steals the child and gives him to a couple in another village to raise as their own. Fast forward about twenty years or so, Ator (Miles O’Keeffe, looking like a discount version of hippie Robert Duvall) is grown up and wishes to marry his sister, Sunya, who isn’t really his sister. On the day of the wedding, the High Priest of the Spider (Dakar) attacks the village and takes Sunya hostage. Of course, it is up to Ator to venture to his palace and save his wife/sister from whatever the High Priest has planned for her.
     Ator: The Fighting Eagle is basically Conan’s less fortunate, less interesting, severely retarded 3rd cousin twice removed. It is a perfect blueprint on how not to make a peplum film—really, how not to make a film in general. From a technical standpoint, the film is fine. However, all other aspects were absent on How-To day. Writing? I can guarantee the script for this thing was written on a napkin at a sidewalk café while Papa D’Amato drooled over a plate of pasta. Acting? Sorry, the actors are all out to lunch. Effects? What fucking effects? The spider made out of pipe cleaner? Fighting? Action? If you can imagine a peplum made by imagination-less five-year olds on their kindergarten playground, then you can perfectly imagine the quality of fighting and action this film has.

     No, having any good effects or good actors or good writing or good fighting and action would require too much effort from Papa D’Amato. They would also require him digging too deeply into his pockets. So what do we get? A bloodless, actionless, talentless, and apathetic movie about a shirtless guy wandering through scene after scene and doing something. Witness as Ator attempts to kill Bambi! Witness as Ator goes through a training montage! Watch as Ator and Roon (a female adventurer Ator picks up along the way, played by Sabrina Siani—shwing!) run from zombies in a yawn-inducing scene, and then watch as the zombies just up and disappear! Behold the magic of Ator fighting the aforementioned pipe cleaner spider (the high point of the film)! Witness as Ator is nearly seduced and killed by Indin (Laura Gemser, in a delightfuly unsleazy and nude-less role)!
     And speaking of nudity, where is the D’Amato Quotient of Nudity and Sleaze? Shit, when Ator and Roon first meet, there was a perfect opportunity for Papa D’Amato to pillage a far more interesting porn flick for some hardcore footage to insert. And why isn’t Roon naked throughout most of this flick? And speaking of lacking, where in the hell did the bloodshed and gore get off to? Was it too busy frequenting more interesting movies?      
     That’s the only logical answer. Yes, there is plenty of (uninteresting) swordplay, but nearly zero blood (but hold on to your fuckin’ hats: we do get one very brief shot of marinara sauce splattered on someone’s shirt, but that’s it). Come on Joe, you made Anthropophagus, Beyond the Darkness, Emanuelle in America, and Porno Holocaust before this piece of shit. THERE IS NO FUCKING EXCUSE FOR THERE BEING SO LITTLE BLOODSHED! AND NUDITY FOR THAT MATTER! No one watches a D’Amato movie for the quality storytelling. We watch it to get our sleaze on! And when Papa D’Amato lets you down, the world itself has failed.
     So what we are left with is The Lord of the Rings minus the budget, the talent, the story, the plot, the characters, the epicness, and all the fight scenes. Basically, take all the walking scenes, redub the dialogue with stupid lines, have the characters trip or stumble, and you have Ator: The Fighting Eagle. Don’t watch it, don’t think about it. Hell, forget the movie even exists. It sucks, and that’s that (though that’s not gonna stop me from watching and reviewing the three sequels that followed).     
"I assure you, my other sword is bigger."

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