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Film / The Sword and the Sorcerer

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The Sword and the Sorcerer is a low-budget Heroic Fantasy movie from 1982 directed by Albert Pyun.

A generation ago, evil sorcerer Xusia aided an ambitious tyrant named Cromwell, allowing him to win a decisive battle against his enemies. But Cromwell betrayed the sorcerer, stabbing him in the back (literally). Xusia wasn't quite dead, but it took a decade for him to recover. In the process, Cromwell also slew his arch-rival Richard, but made the crucial mistakenote  of leaving Richard's young son Talon alive.

Cut to the present — a present that resembles a fantasy version of the Middle Ages — and Talon is now a grown mercenary. With the help of a sword with 3 blades (2 of which it can shoot like missiles), Talon rides into town, swings his sword, woos the princess, defeats the evil Cromwell, and finally slays the evil sorcerer for good.

At the end of the film's credits, we were given a tantalizing promise of the further adventures of Talon in later movies, none of which ever materialized. A Spiritual Successor, titled Tales of an Ancient Empire, was eventually released in 2010 — but with almost no relation to the original film.


This movie contains examples of:

  • Arrows on Fire: The Red Dragon archers. However, they don't live long enough to use them.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Mikah accepting the crown of Ehdan.
  • Bad Boss: Xusia offhandedly kills the dedicated follower who resurrected him just to demonstrate his power to Cromwell.
  • Bald of Evil: Verdugo, Cromwell's Torture Technician.
  • Balls of Steel: Machelli when he reveals himself as Xusia.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Xusia defeats Cromwell's attack by catching his sword in the crook of his thumb.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A nice subversion. When Talon's mercenary band learn that he's been captured, they very excitedly and ostentatiously rally to rescue him, and... cut to them imprisoned in the dungeons.
    "We should never have followed that bitch in here!"
    • Also played straight during the climax.
  • Big "NO!": Young Talon witnessing his mother's death.
  • Black Magic: Xusia wields this to devastating effect against Richard's army.
  • Body Horror: Xusia sheds his mortal skin, quite literally.
  • Bound and Gagged: Alana. She pretty much spends the entire movie being kidnapped and menaced. Even by a snake.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The movie's beginning honestly makes little sense. Cromwell has determined that the good king's army is too fortified and hard to defeat, so he calls upon a demon to assist him. Immediately after the all-powerful demon has helped him win the day, Cromwell turns on Xusia and tries to kill him, as if somehow he didn't realize that it would make him a target if he's wrong and did not properly kill the demon. Guess what happens later on in the story?
  • The Casanova:
    • Talon seems to have little interest in staying monogamous, having far too many "kingdoms to save and women to love".
    • This actually gets really creepy sometimes. One of the first things we see him do as an adult is try to seduce a woman moments after saving her from sexual assault, and then only aid the resistance after she promises him sexual favors in return.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Mikah in Cromwell's torture chamber.
  • Cool Sword: A sword you could shoot people with. Stan Freberg's "forty-five caliber sword" joke takes on a whole new meaning here. A big deal is made in this movie of "whose steel is stronger." In the final fight against Cromwell, the titular 3-bladed sword actually breaks when Talon parries one of Cromwell's blows; thus, by the transitive property, we know that Cromwell's sword must be even cooler. Until Talon pulls the grip free, revealing another sword (more of a dagger, actually), which he stabs Cromwell with. Of course, it probably only broke because the core was hollow...
  • Deadly Nosebleed: Xusia's black magic causes hemmorhaging of the eyes, nose, ears, and gums, and also has the potential to extract the heart from its victims.
  • Deal with the Devil: Cromwell's arrangement with Xusia. Confusingly, he enlists his help to overthrow the king, but then instantly turns on him and tries to kill him even though they had an alliance and Xusia didn't indicate any plans of betraying him.
  • Detachable Blades: The film has the protagonist wielding a triple bladed sword - the two outer blades can be shot at enemies as seen here.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Indeed it's Xusia, as the title would suggest.
  • Fanfare: The main theme is just about the only memorable thing made by David Whitaker. (And just about the only memorable thing in this movie, for that matter.) It appears in this video at about 2:43.
  • Faux Action Girl: Alana does try to defend herself at several points but she's not very good at it and never has a weapon
  • Gilligan Cut: Well, Gilligan Fade, actually. See Big Damn Heroes.
  • Groin Attack: Alana's favorite method of attack. It works until it doesn't.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Used during the climax between Talon and Cromwell.
  • Heroic Fantasy: A subgenre of heroic fantasy is "Sword and Sorcery", after all.
  • Heroic Resolve: Talon displays almost superhuman-level strength in pulling himself free of a crucifixion to interrupt Cromwell's marriage to Alana. He then leaps right into the fray showing no ill-effects despite just having six-inch nails driven through his hands.
  • Human Architecture Horror: Evil sorcerer Xusia's tomb is built from human faces, which come alive during his awakening ritual, shortly after the movie's opening credits. No wonder Xusia's lair is called "Skull Cave", on Tomb Island.
  • I Am X, Son of Y:
    Cromwell: "Who are you?"
    Talon: "Talon...Son of Richard!"
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Tomb Island, Skull Cave.
  • La RĂ©sistance: Mikah's rebel faction, seeking to overthrow Cromwell.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Possibly one of the most absurd in movie history. Talon is literally crucified in the great hall where Cromwell is about to force the princess to marry him. And yes, it is a proper crucifixion, meaning that huge nails have been driven directly through his palms. Then out of nowhere, he just regains his strength, climbs down, and picks up a sword and fights all the men in addition to Cromwell and Xusia. Because, you know, "it was only a flesh wound! Come on, ya pansy!"
  • Meaningful Name: Cromwell's Torture Technician, Verdugo: the name translates to "executioner" in Spanish.
  • Man on Fire: Talon uses a keg of oil to set Cromwell's Red Dragon archers ablaze.
  • The Mole: Machelli. Not that it was very hard to tell.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alana becomes this when she gets the Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me treatment, right down to a close up of her ass being rubbed down.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Talon is hell bent on getting his revenge, ordering Xusia (who has his own grudge with Cromwell) out of his way, leading to the example below.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Xusia may or may not be some kind of demonic entity on top of being a sorcerer. He's a strange reptillian creature and well over a thousand years old. He's somehow survived dying at least twice by retreating back to his stronghold to heal. Cromwell, at the very least, believes him to be a demon.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    Talon: "I have no quarrel with you. Out of my way."
    Xusia: "Cromwell's mine!"
    Talon: "Now we have a quarrel..."
  • Rated M for Manly: The film attempts this, but its success rate is rather dubious. We have a smarmy hero who loves polygamy and quips, a kidnapped princess, an imprisoned rightful heir, an evil king, and a nefarious demon all set against an epic/high fantasy backdrop with jaunty music.
  • Rightful King Returns: Subverted; while Talon is, in fact, the rightful heir to the throne, he passes his crown on to Mikah for a life of adventuring.
  • Say My Name:
    Talon: "CROMMMMWWWELLLLLL!"
  • Smash Cut: A really significant story development happens offscreen after Talon's men, a woman who is probably his sister, and a group of pirates band together to rescue our Hero. Next thing we know, they're all in jail and the sister along with one of Talon's men are executed.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Light, cheerful music is played over bloody and brutal fight scenes.
  • Sword Sparks: Used liberally during the final battle.
  • Terrifying Pet Store Rat: The heroes are attacked by hordes of these when they are traveling through some tunnels.
  • The Time of Myths: The opening narration.
    Know you now, of days long past. A time when the world was young. When sorcery thrived, and wild adventure was forever in the offing. And of this epoch, little is known, save that which is veiled in the mists of legendry...
  • Thwarted Coup de GrĂ¢ce: Cromwell poises to finish off Talon right before Talon counters with a blade hidden in his gauntlet.
  • Villainous Crush: Cromwell desires Alana. He even threatens to kill her brother Mikah unless she submits to marriage.
  • "Will Return" Caption:
    at the end of the film: Watch for Talon's Next Adventure "Tales of the Ancient Empire" coming soon.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A key plot point, Cromwell tried to kill Xusia after Cromwell no longer needed him to win battles. Other villains in the film do this as well, near the film's beginning, the evil sorcerer Xusia repays the witch who resurrected him by killing her.
  • You Killed My Father: Talon swears an oath to avenge his father's death. Then he doesn't do a damn thing about it for decades and only ends up avenging his family through a total coincidence when the princess hires him and his men to stop Cromwell.

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