Film / Quest of the Delta Knights

Quest of the Delta Knights is a 1993 Direct-to-Video fantasy/adventure sword and sorcery film wholly lacking in sorcery. It's another one of those movies that wouldn't have a page on this wiki were it not for Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its Season 9 appearance.

The plot concerns a young boy named Travis (nicknamed "Tee"), who is sold into slavery after he is orphaned in an attack on a caravan. Tee is bought by Baydool (David Warner), a beggar man who is secretly a spy for the Order of the Delta Knights, a society dedicated to knowledge, justice, eradicating evil; the usual heroic stuff. Baydool makes Tee his apprentice as he covertly opposes the dastardly Lord Vultare (also David Warner), who is looking for the fabled Lost Storehouse of Archimedes, rumored to contain all manner of Lost Technology that would allow their wielder to Take Over the World.

The duo infiltrate Vultare's castle to gain access to a map leading to the storehouse, but afterward Baydool is captured, and Tee's attempt to rescue his mentor ends badly. So, Tee sets off to find the Storehouse before Vultare can, joining forces with Leonardo DaVinci who is also a member of the Order, and a serving wench named Thena. Along the way they have a few scrapes with Vultare's forces, Leo hits on and gets hit by the girl, the party gets captured by a disturbingly merry band of masked bandits, and it turns out Thena is a princess.

In the end they find the Storehouse, but it turns out Vultare's been following them the whole time! Fortunately the villain gets Distracted By The Shiny artifacts and zaps himself to death, and Tee blows up the Storehouse, reasoning that mankind is not yet ready for its secrets. But Leonardo rips off most of the gadgets inside of it, so it isn't a total loss. The end.

As far as movies riffed on by Mystery Science Theater 3000 go, this one isn't one of the worst but also not one of the best. It's at least watchable and usually fairly fun, but also notably confusing and nebulous, especially with regards to its temporal and physical setting. The recap can be found here.

Also, several viewers have noticed that the first act of Delta Knights ("mute" orphan slave is bought for an insultingly low sum, freed, and adopted by a "crippled" beggar who is a spy for a secret organization) is essentially Robert A. Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy Recycled In Medieval Europe.

Quest Of The Delta Knights contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: And how! The extras were workers and patrons of a local Renaissance Faire who provided their own costumes. So some Mooks wear horned Viking helmets, others wear armor, while still others dress like pirates and sultans. Archimedes' notebook, which becomes the foundation of the Order, is bound with ancient staples. And as mentioned earlier, Tee uses bombs to bring down the Storehouse, and also has a crude pistol (though to be fair, gunpowder weapons had been present in Europe since the 14th century). Tee's gender neutral parent thing tries to assault Vultare with a sai.
  • Artistic License Geography: Everyone's speaking English, but "Vultare" sounds vaguely French, Leonardo da Vinci is hanging around, and supposedly Archimedes of Syracuse has a storehouse nearby.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Attempted with Leonardo and Thena. Failed mostly because Leonardo turns into an unlikable jackass from the moment they rescue Thena from slavers.
  • Big "NO!": There's one from Travis at the beginning as his family is killed, but we only see him mouth the word as the sound is removed for drama.
  • California Doubling: Filmed in Marin County on the grounds of the local Renaissance Faire (they've since relocated to Casa de Fruta, about 100 miles south).
  • Kid Hero: Tee, the Chosen One of the Order, who is destined to lead the way to the Lost Storehouse of Archimedes.
  • Lost Superweapon: It turns out one of Archimedes' great inventions was a crystal ball that focuses latent energy in the atmosphere to create a Death Ray. It turns out it wasn't quite Ragnarok Proofed well enough, though, and it overloads on Vultare, killing him.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: Originally a Sci Fi Channel made-for-cable movie.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: By Thena's brother when Leo comments on how she went from serving wench to princess overnight.
    "Athena was always a princess! matter what things she had to do."
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Replace just one letter in the villain's name and you've got Lord Vulture.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Tee pretends to be a mute while a slave.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Baydool's disguise as a simple beggar allows him to move around freely.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Athena, and how. When she's revealed as a princess, her corset pushes her bosom to her shoulders.
  • Older Sidekick: Leonardo Da Vinci, who seems to be in his 20's here, is sidekick to little kid Tee.
  • Plagiarism:
    • It turns out that Leonardo Da Vinci stole all of his ideas from things he saw in the Lost Storehouse of Archimedes. It's fair, though, since Archimedes apparently stole all of his ideas from Atlantis. The Order would probably try to explain it with some form of the "standing on the shoulders of giants" concept, but yes, they apparently have a long and proud history of plagiarism.
    • The opening scenes also rip off Citizen of the Galaxy word for word.
  • Prophecies Rhyme All the Time: "The arrow will show / Where the Father did glow / From the house of the One / Treasures are given... from Father to Son."
  • Rags to Royalty: Thena, who goes from serving wench to princess overnight after meeting a thief prince who happens to be her long lost brother.
  • Red Baron: By his own account, Vultare has many nicknames along these lines, such as the Scourge of Iberia and the Panther of the Pyrenees.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The entire point of Tee's quest was to find the Lost Storehouse and use its treasures of Lost Technology to lead mankind out of the dark ages. Instead, Tee destroys the Storehouse, saying The World Is Not Ready. Sure, they reunited Thena with her brother and killed Lord Vultare, but mankind is still in the dark ages, the Mannerjay still retains power in their homeland, and countless treasures of antiquity are lost forever.
  • Shown Their Work: No matter how inaccurate the rest of the movie is, the writers did get some facts on Archimedes right, notably how he reflected the sun's light as a weapon and the basic circumstances of his death. They also knew that Leonardo da Vinci was called that because he really was from Vinci, rather than treating it as his surname (he didn't have one).
  • Spider-Sense: Tee, though it rarely does him much good given how many times it gets him captured or his friends killed.
  • Spy Speak: The shibboleth of the Delta Knights.
    It's a nice day if it doesn't rain.
    It's always a nice day if it doesn't rain.
    If the sun isn't too warm.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The opening theme is a re-use of the theme from the 1980 sci-fi movie Battle Beyond The Stars.
  • Training Montage: Guaranteed to be the goofiest and least believable one you will ever see in your entire life. Or at least the second.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Leonardo and Thena.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: So, what became of the Mannerjay, anyway? Or the wizard who was working for her?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Leonardo openly calls out Tee's decision to destroy the lost storehouse of Archimedes, and especially pointing out that he had no right to do so. Tee simply claims The World Is Not Ready and Archimedes gave him the right. Amusingly, unknown to both his actions were irrelevant since Vultare managed to blow it up independently.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Here's everything the audience knows about where the story is set: It's not England, and Tee is from England, but it's not the setting. It's ruled by a Mannerjay (not a real world title). It's the dark ages. That's basically it.
  • The World Is Not Ready: Tee's reasoning for destroying the Lost Storehouse at the end of the film.
  • Ye Goode Olde Days: Much of the movie was shot at a Renaissance Faire in California, using staff and patrons as extras, which may explain some of the anachronisms.