Wednesday, November 27, 2013


This is a real whoop-de-doo, kick-ass, sword-and-sandal movie; my advice is to ignore the plot and the sometimes amateurish special effects and just enjoy the piling-up of action sequences. What I could follow of the narrative: Back in the pagan days, muscular hero Emilius the Mighty, nicknamed Goliath (though in the original Italian version, he's Hercules), is a right-hand man to the gods, particularly the God of Revenge. His latest chore was to bring back the Blood Diamond, stolen by the wicked King Eurito, and replace it in the head of the god's statue. But Goliath has other problems. His young-pup brother Illus is love with Thea, but Goliath disapproves because her father was responsible for the death of their parents. Illus is led to believe (by Tindaro, Eurito's wily henchman) that Goliath is jealous and wants Thea for himself (even though he is married to Dejanira), so he is talked into slipping Goliath a Potion of Forgetfulness, but it's actually poison. As if all this isn't enough for Goliath, he is told by an oracle that his brother will cause the death of Dejanira.

But the plot machinations are secondary to the action sequences, and there are plenty of those. Right off the bat, Goliath battles a fire-breathing three-headed dog, followed later by a rather teddy-bear-like bat-creature, then a teddy-bear-like bear. Later he grapples with an elephant that is about to crush Illus, destroys his own house by pulling down its pillars, and battles with Polymorphus, a centaur/satyr creature who is running off with his wife. Near the end of the film, there is a battle with the dragon of the title, and another destruction scene involving tearing apart a house from underground. The creatures are fabulous in an MST3K bad-movie way, mostly looking like Muppets (the dog) or stuntmen in ratty Halloween costumes (the bear). The first glimpses of the dragon, a stop-motion figure, aren't bad, but when Goliath actually fights it, it’s a huge kiddie-matinee puppet, and becomes the most laughable scene of the movie—and that's saying a lot. Mark Forest is muscular and stoic as Goliath, Sandro Moretti is pleasant enough eye candy in the less-hunky sidekick role of Illus, and Broderick Crawford—yes, Oscar-winner Broderick Crawford—looks completely uneasy as the wicked king. The Alpha Video DVD is letterboxed but not anamorphic, and the colors tend toward sickly greens, but I hear that the Something Weird disc is in better shape. All things considered, a fun entry in the peplum genre. [DVD]

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