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1980 - 90m.

With as generic a title as you're likely to come across, Hawk The Slayer is your typical early 80's sword 'n' sorcery goofiness with the only real difference between this and many of its ilk the fact that it managed to get Oscar winning actor Jack Palance to co-star as the movie's evil baddie Voltan (which not only gave him the chance to wear a funky looking one-eyed helmet, but also let him give what's probably the hammiest performance of his long career).

Made two years before Conan The Barbarian would blow the doors wide open for this sub-genre of movies, this British production originally aired on English television (which might account for its fairly bloodless battle scenes) before being picked-up by ITC for North American audiences.

John Terry plays our title character, Hawk, who shows-up at his castle a little bit too late to save his father from being murdered at the hands of his Uncle, Voltan. But at least his dying father gives him the power to control the 'mind sword', which lets him use his thoughts to draw the sword directly into his hand from a distance. It seems that Voltan was also after the secret of the sword as he's teamed up with an evil wizard in order to not only gain power and spread fear across the land, but to also try and cure the disfigurement he suffered at the hands of Hawk's fiancée (who he also had the hots for and who he cross bowed to death - something we see in flashbacks that are put into the movie just to prove how evil Voltan really is).

Hawk is forced to take action when Voltan decides to kidnap a nun and demand a ransom of two thousand gold pieces. Wanting revenge, and also recruited to save our kidnapped holy woman, Hawk goes out and recruits a group of allies who, in true Dungeons & Dragons style, consist of a giant, a bow using Elf, and a Dwarf (who is on hand for comic relief as he's always cracking one-liners and even uses a whip to catch a fish and eat it raw).

Containing all the things that makes this a perfect Sunday afternoon movie, Hawk The Slayer never tries to overstep its limits (budgetary or otherwise) and is sure to give fans of cheap movies a good chuckle or two. Whether it's the low-scale action sequences (including one badly sped-up scene at a slavery market), the disco loving musical score, Palance's over-the-top acting, or the fact that numerous fog machines were worked overtime to give it that "medieval" look, there's sure to be something here to please the undiscriminating viewer.

And you just have to ask yourself why our Elvin character Crow (Ray Charleson) has a robotic sounding voice. You also have to wonder why a big battle scene seemingly pops-up out of nowhere right after someone proclaims "there's no sign of the others".

Terry is pretty bland in the hero role but it really doesn't matter when Palance is chewing up scenery and it's too bad the movie's final fight scenes are weak and suffer from being too tightly shot, but overall if you're looking for a cheesy sword 'n' sorcery flick you could do a lot worse than Hawk The Slayer. (Chris Hartley, 2/10/07)

Directed By: Terry Marcel.
Written By: Terry Marcel, Harry Robertson.

Starring: .