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Film: The Blade Master
WARNING: Objects in poster are dumber than they appear.
Ator is the avenger, the guardian of knowledge and the hope of the future. Not in that loincloth, he's not.
Kevin W. Murphy ("Tom Servo"), 'The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide

Ator l'invincibile 2 (released in English-speaking countries as The Blade Master, Ator, the Blade Master, Cave Dwellers, and The Return) is an Italian film that was made in 1984. The movie was written and directed by Joe d'Amato. It stars Miles O'Keeffe as Ator, a man skilled in not only fighting, but in many other arts as well. It also stars Charles Borromel as Akronas, a wise ruler and teacher who is also called the Great One. Lisa Foster stars as Mila, the daughter of Akronas, and David Brandon as Zor - the principal villain of the film. The film was released in theaters as Ator the Invincible and later as Ator, the Blade Master. It received the name Cave Dwellers after it was re-edited by distributor Film Ventures International. It is the sequel to 1982's Ator l'invincible and was followed by 1986's Iron Warrior. The fourth film, Quest for the Mighty Sword, was also released as Troll 3, one of two In Name Only sequels to Troll 2. The movies were made to capitalize on the popularity of the Conan movies which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

The Blade Master has these examples:

  • Annoying Arrows: Mila gets hit by an arrow in the heart and keeps limping on! The heart!
  • Backstab Backfire: Saved by Fong, though!
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: In the Film Ventures International release, the film's opening credits are clearly from another film.
  • Bamboo Technology: Pushed to the breaking point of credibility when Ator even makes a hang glider.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Ator and Thong beat invisible assailants by turning them into these with their cloaks.
  • Big Bad: Zor
  • Big "NO!": Several, actually. Said in a fairly goofy manner, however.
  • The Blacksmith: Ator
  • Breast Plate: Averted, Mila appears to be wearing a hub cap on her chest.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: The first film in the series opens with Ator asking his father for his sister's hand in marriage. His father happily gives it, revealing that Ator was adopted, and thus he and his sister are Not Blood Siblings. Ator, of course, had no way of knowing this.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Mila wears one in the promotional poster...though not in the film itself.
  • Cultured Warrior: Ator, in the second movie anyway, is so cultured he can create hang gliders, perform surgery, and make gunpowder grenades.
  • I Lied: Punctuated with an axe to the face. Ouch.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Miles O'Keefe.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Say what you will about her uselessness, Mila certainly is easy on the eyes, and the camera certainly enjoys taking shots up her bearskin Minidress of Power.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The "geometric nucleus" seems to be a magic-based nuclear weapon, depending on how you interpret the anvilicious closing monologue and stock footage of a mushroom cloud.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: See Brother-Sister Incest above.
  • Faux Action Girl: Mila. Sure, she's a strong-willed young lady with lots of rebellious spunk. Sure, she has some nominal experience fighting bad guys with swords. Sure, she knows everything her Dad taught her, even did a neat MacGyver job with gunpower made from cave wall minerals in a test Ator had for her. However, she gets shot with an arrow, becomes a Distressed Damsel with both the cannibal cavepeople AND the snake cult & cowers in the corner like a helpless blob of jello when in the snake pit with Ator. C'mon, lady! Wield a femur or do the MacGyver routine with a skull-bomb or something! CHEEZE LOUISE! She's What Could Have Been as applied to a character...she's foisted on us as a cool, cute, spunky little warrior chick with mad science skillz but turns out to be a lackluster swordswoman & Distressed Damsel.
  • Genius Bruiser: How many other Conan knockoffs can build a goddamned hang glider?
  • The Hero: Ator
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him
    Mentor: To kill him would make us no better than barbarians!note 
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The cave dwellers of the And Show It to You variety.
  • Invisible Monsters: "I don't believe it - they were too cheap to hire villains in this movie."
  • Loin Cloth: Ator
  • MacGuffin: The "Geometric Nucleus"
  • Neutral Female: You were a big help with the snake, lady.
  • The Obi-Wan: The Great One
  • Porn Stache: Zor
  • Previously On: The movie shows a recap of the first. As low budget as it was, it also painfully points out how the first movie had a better budget than this one.
  • Schizo Tech: A barbarian ripoff with gliders and atomic bombs. While building a glider is not too out of place, the fact it uses forged metal components and tanned leather makes it a little hard to believe Ator could have whipped it up in 5 minutes. Nukes, on the other hand...
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sidekick: Thong
  • Snakes Are Evil: So evil that they... er, growl.
  • The Speechless: Thong
  • The World Is Not Ready: Then again, what can an iron age tyrant can do with a nuke?
  • Token Minority: Thong
  • Trivial Title: For Cave Dwellers. The actual cave dwellers are shown very briefly in the movie. The rest of the plot revolves around a journey made by a character named Ator to save his former mentor from the bad guy. The scene with the cave people is just a brief detour. It's worth mentioning that it was originally Ator l'invincible 2 (Ator the Invincible 2, also released in the US as Ator, the Blade Master or The Return). Cave Dwellers is just the title that Venture Films International slapped on it when they got the distribution rights. Of course, since the VFI version was the one featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, it's the most famous one.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Ator. Delicious barbarian Ator...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Thong dicks around for no apparent reason long enough while rescuing Ator from the snake dudes' temple that all of the other prisoners are sacrificed to the giant snake.
  • What The Hell, Townspeople?: What looks like a Training the Peaceful Villagers sequence gets derailed when they drug and capture our heroes. Then the pseudo-Mongols raze the place anyway.
  • Yellow Face: Zor is some sort of weird Samurai/Mongol/Hun guy with a cheesy Fu Manchu moustache, played by a white guy.

Black ForestFantasy FilmsThe Brothers Grimm
The Black ScorpionMystery Science Index 3000 Bloodlust
Bagi, the Monster of Mighty NatureFilms of the 1980sBlood Simple

alternative title(s): The Blade Master
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