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.
  • Bigger Bad:Voltan's dark mistress. She never gets directly involved in the plot, but is clearly manipulating things behind the scenes. She's also shown to have great magical powers, including the ability to resurrect the dead.
  • 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.
  • Burn the Witch!: Hawk meets the witch by rescuing her from a couple of locals who want to burn her for... being a witch, apparently.
  • 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. The Bishop thinks his actual goal is to establish a precedent, so it may be justified.
  • 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. The wizard he gets magic pain relief from mentions that it inexplicably refuses to heal, and in fact the flesh seems to be melting.
  • Flynning: The swordfights aren't the least beat realistic.
  • Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: The unnamed witch supports Hawk and his band, while Voltan's evil mistress serves as the movie's Bigger Bad. They never fight directly, though.
  • Hobbits: Baldin is a dwarf, but he acts more like a typical fantasy Hobbit rogue - merry, sneaky and gluttonous.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Hunchback is killed by the exact method by which he threatens Gort's life.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The nuns are utterly convinced they can trust the Dark One at his word.
  • 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.
  • Schizo Tech: Generally a typical medieval fantasy setting, but one character inexplicably carries an automatic crossbow that would be impressive even in the modern world.
  • 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".
    • Gort, Baldin and Voltan are pretty much the only exceptions.
  • 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.