Film / Hawk the Slayer
"Then Voltan will see who is the lord of the dance!"

"I am no messenger, but I will give you a message. The message of death!"

Hawk The Slayer is a fine piece of nonsense set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons-inspired fantasy, a place where longswords, short bows and daggers are swiftly drawn, leather, chainmail and a kind of cloth notable only for its brown-ness remain fashionable and there's always an evil one roaming about. The evil one in this adventure is Voltan (Jack Palance), who's so very evil on account of him bearing a scar on his face that, as we're told by a mysterious figure who lives within a mountain, will not heal. Quite whether the scar came before the willingness to do evil isn't something that Hawk The Slayer makes clear but he is quickly doing all manner of terrible things, all of which seem to involve murder. Indeed, the film opens with Voltan murdering his own father as well as the woman intended to be the wife of his brother.

That brother is Hawk (John Terry), who arrives too late to save his father but in time to hear the prophecy that he had been guarding and which had seen him slain by his own son. As he dies, Hawk's father gives him a magical sword (which Voltan had desired) and the two are set on a path that will see them face one another in battle. When Voltan breaks into a convent and kidnaps the Mother Superior, a guy with an automatic crossbow seeks a hero. Finding none, he ends up finding Hawk. Hawk comes to the rescue of the Sisters of the Holy Word, promising not only that he will raise the two thousand pieces of gold but will defeat Voltan. Carrying his sword before him, Hawk sets out to gather a band of warriors...

They're making a sequel.

The film received the RiffTrax treatment in Oct. 2014.

This movie has examples of:

  • Alternate DVD Commentary: Available from RiffTrax as a video-on-demand download.
  • Anti-Hero: Hawk seems like a Technical Pacifist at first ("You go in peace!"); by the Hunchback scene, he seems no longer to have any qualms about murdering any mook who inconveniences him.
  • Bad Boss: Voltan kills his own henchmen even when it doesn't make any sense.
  • Badass Boast: Drogo will slay Hawk himself and claim the gold, and "then Voltan will see who is the lord of the dance!" Well, he seems to think it's badass anyway.
  • Big Bad: Voltan.
  • Big Eater: Baldin does almost nothing but eat in this film.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The automatic crossbow and Crow's quiver. The latter is especially bad, since when not firing he clearly has less than a dozen arrows total.
  • Cain and Abel: Hawk and Voltan
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Voltan, to the Nth degree.
  • Cool Sword: Two of them, Hawk's sword has a magic stone in its pommel which allows him to call it to his hand and throw it accurately; Voltan's has no powers but its skull-shaped pommel and four-pronged guard are cool anyway.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: two guys with automatic weapons and a powerful witch vs. ordinary medieval soldiers. Even without the guy with the magic sword (and the dwarf with the whip) it would have been a walkover.
  • The Dragon: Drogo.
  • Dull Surprise: John Terry (Hawk) seldom cracks any sort of expression.
  • Dwindling Party: Three of the party members are dead by the end.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite threatening to kill him at one point, Voltan seems genuinely distraught at Drogo's death, even though Drogo isn't his biological son.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The closest thing to a name that the blind witch seems to have is "Woman".
  • Evil Is Petty: Voltan is a wanton murderer who burns whole villages to the ground and is implied to have been involved with wiping out the dwarves, but the main plot is him holding a nun hostage for an amount of gold the heroes secure by fighting one random gang.
  • Evil Overlord: Voltan
  • Exact Words: Voltan's excuse to betray people.
  • Eye Scream: Voltan's scar is apparently a result of his being stabbed in the eye with a piece of burning wood by Hawk's girlfriend.
  • Jabba Table Manners: The Slaver. His mouth gets him killed too, so it's Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Large Ham: Jack Palance as Voltan
    Voltan: "See how it glows!"
    Mike Nelson: "Jeez... how does that scenery taste, Jack?"
  • Last of His Kind: Gort, Crow and Boldwin are said to be the last members of the giant, elf, and dwarf races, respectively.
  • Leitmotif: The pan flute cue every time Hawk is about to do something.
  • The Lost Woods: Much of the scenes seem to be in the same patch of British forest.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer mention's "two armies", "Voltan's army - the Devil's army, and Hawk's". In the actual movie, Hawk's "army" consists of exactly six people, while Voltan's "army" is in no way satanical and has nothing to do with The Legions of Hell - it's a band of some 100 or so normal human bandits.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Let's see we have a heroic swordsman with a Cool Sword, a dwarf thief, a Big Guy with blunt weapon, an elf that talks like Spock, a blind magic user that uses glowing magic balls, and a one-armed man with a automatic crossbow.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Well, Voltan offs the noviate who betrayed Hawk, but he's such a Bad Boss you really can't say he treated her any differently than his own henchmen.
  • Robo Speak: Even though Crow isn't a robot, he speaks like one.
  • Sequel Hook: Voltan gets resurrected by the dark mistress at the end.
  • The Stoic: Nearly everyone, due to bad, bad acting, but Hawk and his elf buddy literally never show any expression other than "intense staring".
  • Stop Trick: The automatic crossbow and elf's bow are so fast the camera can't keep up so it looks just like they repeat the same short scenes of them firing.
  • Summon to Hand: Hawk can make his Mindstone Blade fly into his hand by thought alone. Well, not fly, exactly. Slowly float.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Voltan actually specializes in throwing daggers (not throwing knives). When forced into an actual sword fight (after this fails against Hawk) he clearly has no idea what he's doing.