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Well, we start with the names of Samuel Arkoff and James Nicholson, always a guarantee that, uh, they bought some Italian thing and sold it to television.  “Rock Stevens” is our star, and Domenico Paolella is our director—no other cast or crew.  Now, those are economic credits!

And under these credits is footage of horses hooves racing along a dirt road somewhere.  But never mind that, as we open with guys with big trumpets (you know, the kind whose blowing heralds the appearance of kings, or tyrants probably) in Babylon, 3000 years ago (according to the title).

And some soldiers appear and walk around these blowers, and then we cut to a wide shot which shows some folks behind the soldiers, and then close up we see some guys waving those big feathered fans as they carry some fancy carriage, no doubt containing some fancy personage. 

And some more soldiers ride up, and one of them dismounts and goes over to the fancy carriage, which turns out to contain a rather mean looking bald guy with a mustache.

He addresses the personage (and the mustache) as (I think) "Solomon, my lord," and he asks if he can speak.  Well...didn't he just?  Speak, I mean.

Solomon says sure, why not (and in close up, he just looks kind of old and less mean).

The guy says that for a while now, they've been getting slaves from far away lands, but that's starting to get more difficult.

Solomon sits up at this, and asks if there's an army out there protecting these foreign potential slaves?

Guy (whose name I didn't catch) says, no, but apparently there's ONE SINGLE MAN out there who's been stopping all the slave-gathering.  Oh, man, one guess as to who this one man is.  No fair peeking at the title.

Anyway, Guy says that Solomon's brother, Azure, says Solomon should send his entire army against this one man to destroy him.  Solomon laughs at this, but Guy persists that this is the plan his brother urges, and the gravity of the situ descends upon him (and his mustache).  But Solomon still says this is totally stupid and demands that the slave raids continue.  Apparently, the need for slaves is increasing like crazy.  And he says that Guy will suffer if any cowardice is shown, apparently by anyone.  (Man, Guy's job sucks.)

Guy chokes and asks if Solomon means he (Guy) should "cross that river" again?  It doesn’t look like the start of a good day for Guy.

Solomon closes his prissy curtains and says, yes, that is what Guy should do.

And we cut to Guy, crossing some river with some warriors on horseback.  They’re making good time when they come across some (one supposes) potential escaped slaves, and Guy orders them surrounded.  The slaves are duly surrounded and rounded up, providing thousands of generations of film-goers with stock footage.  Oh, and they’re roped together, those wily slaves.  And then we shift to some sad music, as Guy and his forces lead these once proud nobodies to their fate as further nobodies, only enslaved ones.  This happens for a long time over some footage.  One gal says that her male friend ought to kill her so she won’t be a slave in Babylon, which apparently sucks totally more than being dead.

Just then, a guy shows up who looks (according to the notes here) a lot like Peter Lupus of Mission: Impossible fame (the TV show).  He picks up a big rock and prepares to throw it against those mean old oppressors from Babylon and their mustaches. 

He tosses this rock against some anonymous guy, and the rounded-up slaves get some initiative to cut their bonds, as he continues to toss boulders against the anonymous (definitely an album title there).  Guy sees this happening, naturally thinks he is in trouble now, but urges his anonymous men to fight against this super-powered person. 

Did you know garlic works on cats as well as vampires?  That’s not in the movie, just what I am noticing now. 

Herc slams his big rock club against more and more anonymous guys, and Guy looks nervously at this but tries to make a good show, and some peasants drag him down and basically make him all chained up and stuff.  After Herc beats off the other raiders, the trussed up guy is brought to him.  Herc tells him to go tell his master that he (Guy) was lucky to escape intact, and Herc boots him away, and instructs others to make sure Guy gets back to civilization, and everyone laughs. 

Later, everyone brings a torch to where Herc is resting, and they thank him, and ask him what his name is so they can pray for his well-being.  He says he’s been away from home for three long years, though he still likes anonymity.   He does reveal though, that his actions against slavery are motivated by the fact that the Babylonians enslaved his girlfriend.  Some other guy says that the slaves of Babylon and Nineveh are only given free time in the early morning, and we cut to some slaves being marched out into (I bet) this self-same early morning. 

Yeah, they sure look like unhappy slaves, all right, and they also (cough) kind of look like the same oppressed masses I’ve seen in way too many of these movies starring Hercules. 

Some guy collapses, and he is whipped until he marches some more.  Some women cry out, but other women restrain them saying they shouldn’t cry out as that only encourages the Babylonians.  Cryer-outer says she couldn’t help herself at the sight of such injustice.

Speaking of injustice, remember Guy?  Well, he’s being led bound to Emperor Mustachio, and his brother Whoever.   Hang on.  Solomon and Azure, that’s what I meant to write.

Solomon sentences Guy to death for being a coward and stuff.  Azure says, well, what is the story?  And Mustachio says Guy proved himself a coward and worse, spread lying stories about super-powered people.  Azure is intrigued by these kinds of stories, the kind men like, and he wants more details which Mustachio is reluctant to provide. 

Mustachio is pretty damn hot on the Kill Him Now trail, while Azure thinks a bit of contemplation is in order (and one can only imagine Guy’s feelings about now).  Mustachio and Azure mention how their sister must feel, and she appears, wondering why Mustachio is so disparaging of her opinion.   She quite significantly grabs a throne that is higher than either Mustachio’s throne or that of his brother Azure.  So, I’m gonna guess here and think we’ve got three siblings.  Let’s hope the film doesn’t throw us a forth just because it would be wicked cool or something, because it would actually mess up everything.  Imagine a movie with four siblings!  Why, that just isn’t done.

In the meantime, Sister is definitely giving the same kind of vibe that France Nureyn gave in that Star Trek episode, “Elaan of Troyius.”

Anyway, she mentions that the father of all three divided the kingdom into three parts, one for each, and that everyone should be harmonious and stuff with their ruling.  And she’s not feeling that kind of harmoniousness that should be just oozing from everywhere.  She wants to know what’s going on, and Azure says it’s Mustachio who wants to kill Guy so readily.

Azure also names the lady as Tanile.  (Thanks, Azure, hope your death is quick and painless.) Azure also notes again that it is Mustachio who condemns Guy to his painful death. 

Tanile orders Guy to his feet, which he complies with right away.   She then orders him (to flute music) untied. 

Tanile says that Mustachio is a wrong guy, and a bad guy, while Mustachio says that Guy is charged with “cowardice” and Tanile says she won’t hear of such a charge against Guy. 

Mustachio objects again, Tanile says no, and finally Azure says that Tanile must have heard swell stories about, uh, you know, um, Hercules.  Tanile says, yep, she has sure heard about this Hercules guy and about his deeds and stuff.  But “I can’t really believe that he’s come to Babylon…unfortunately.”

And we cut away to see some folks in robes being led along what looks like a fairly hot roadway, no doubt, to do a spot of slave labor, slaves being all the rage and things.   The slaves here all appear to be attractive women.  One of them hands another a bundle, and says she and her fellow slaves will fight to provide cover so the slave can escape. 

Some male slaves seem to watch these shenanigans, and one of them deserts his post as assistant tree carrier to see what’s going on.  As it happens, he is fully in agreement with escaped slave’s agenda.  She gives him a bird cage and tells him to release the bird, so Hercules will know that…uh…a bird is now free. 

She gives the bird cage, and he runs off, and she goes to a line of slaves and grabs somebody else’s burden, and then she sees some slaves getting whopped on because (I am guessing) she ran off.   Not that I am suggesting freedom is a bad thing, but if you are going to feel guilty, now is not the time. 

And cut to some more herald blowers.  And a guy appears to the three royal siblings, and says someone else wants to talk to them.  They grant an OK for this other guy to speak, and it turns out, HE’S just giving permission for someone else to speak!   It’s some guy from Assyria.  And this guy looks so much like the Priest from Hercules and the Captive Women, that any joke I could think of would be utterly unfunny!

…what do you mean, like always?  Hmph!  (As it happens, it’s the same actor.)

Anyway, he says he’s glad to meet everyone, and they say likewise I’m sure, and he strides right up to Tanile and says, “Never have I seen the splendor of the Moon in full daylight!” which has gotta be something like, “Nice ass!”

Well, he calls to some servant, who brings forth an encrusted sword, which Assyria says is for Mustachio.  And Mustachio looks way smug at this confirmation of his swellitude. 

“May the point of this sword never be turned against your real friends,” Assyria says, adding, “your Assyrian friends.”

Azure gets a gift, too, it is a necklace.  Assyria only says “May your wisdom never be used against your Assyrian friends.”

Finally, Tanile gets a nice box, with, inside…well, it’s being kept from us all, but I bet it’s just as totally swell.  Two shelves where none are needed and all that.

And, in fact, it is a big jewel, which she thinks is pretty damn great, and Assyria presses his advantage a bit, and notes that while his gifts to the other guys were pretty much “stop looking at Assyria for future slaves, please” his gift to her is that she should start watching Assyria a lot.  King Assyria.  Especially at night.  If you catch my meaning, if you get my drift!

Assyria, however, says that all his gifts are nothing compared to the other stuff he’s brought.  Don Pardo, why don’t you tell the folks at home what else the ambassador has brought!

”Why, thank you, Assyrian Ambassador, to start with, some servants have brought out several jugs!   Placing them down and running away, someone with authority upends the jugs, which spill out GOLD COINS!”

Thanks, Don, and those gold coins are ALL for the ruling trio of Babylon!   And what’s more, MORE jugs are brought out!  With more gold!  Wow!  Of  course, there’s a catch.  In exchange for this gold, Assyria only asks for ALL the slaves that are in Babylon now.

And cut to these slaves, where one femme slave says, “They’ve found out that one slave is missing” which explains the tumult happening now among some of the guards guarding some other slaves. 

But no matter, some guys on horses show up, say, “You men, come with me!” and ride off, and various non-slave-types scramble to get more horses and follow along.   The women slaves watch this, and then…eat potatoes in a rather significant way. 

What?  No, no, I meant significant to the plot, not to your foolish fantasies!  Good heavens, I don’t even know how eating potatoes could be seen as some kind of sex code!

…really?  Potatoes?  I…I had no idea! 

Well, cough, fade to some folks (reflected in water) discussing the problem of slaves and stuff.  “I don’t believe they want those slaves to repopulate Assyria,” says some guy.  Actually, as we pan up, it’s Azure.  “No one would want a slave to be anything but a slave,” he continues.

”A pity to turn down all that gold,” says Tanile.

”The request of Belique is covering up some plan we don’t know about,” the wily Azure asserts as Solomon shows up and Tanile walks around slinkily, “which we must prevent.  If ever there was an occasion calling for unity, this is it.”

”Do we really have to say no?” asks Tanile.

”It’s not difficult to say no,” Azure offers.  “Nor is it difficult to say yes,” he says when she doesn’t answer.  “But I can’t help wondering what might be the motive that underlies this strange request.”

”There is only one way to find out,” says Solomon, and we zoom into Tanile’s impassive face, then cut to some slave maidens preparing a bath or something involving a ewer of something…er, wait, it’s not a ewer, it’s something Tanile (I think) takes out of a pot, then, accompanied by her 3-d slave chicks, walks toward a large door.  Sensual flute music plays, but don’t get your hopes (or anything else) up, this was made in the sixties sometime. 

In the chamber, Tanile is stopped by some red-haired guy, who blocks her way.  She kisses him, then throws him aside, much to his astonishment.  And in some other chamber, she pours Assyria a drink, which he drinks of deeply.  Now, I’ve seen enough of these Hercules films to last a lifetime, and I know drinking something given to you in a strange kingdom is a sure way to doom and ruin.  But I also know it’s possible to hide the drink in your mouth and spit it out when convenient.  It’s so exciting!

Assyria says Tanile is not at all like her brothers, and if “one day you find yourself opposing them, you’ll find me at your side.  With my army.”  Not getting much response, he goes on, “To me, it doesn’t seem reasonable that brothers should share their rule with their sister.”

”Doesn’t it?”

”It would be more normal for a husband and wife to reign.  With two, you can rule over an empire.  Why not?”  He laughs.  “I must be dreaming!”  As the drink takes effect, he asks, “Do you think that the Babylonians and the Assyrians could get along together?”

”Why shouldn’t they?”

”I could tell from the beginning,” he says, reaching for her personal area, “that you think the same way I do!”

She shrinks back from his pawing attempts, and stands and looks over him in triumph as the drink takes effect.  He starts to talk about how groovy he feels, man, and so on, until he mentions how tired he is and how he’d love to sleep a bit just now. 

Solomon parts the curtains then and peeks in, then goes away as Tanile smiles and moves closer to Assyria. 

”No secrets can be kept from me,” she says.  “Tell me, Balique, why do you want all the slaves of Babylon?”

Before we can hear the exciting answer, Azure and Solomon appear and stand menacingly.  She tries to get some more out of Assyria, and after a bit, he responds, “I want to marry one of them.  I’ll marry her willingly, or by force.  It’s the only way I can extend my influence over Hellenes [sic] without provoking a war, that will turn into a disaster.   I don’t want to sacrifice my cavalry to their superior horsemen.”  Azure and Solomon look smugly at each other at this news.  “I know that I’ll find her among the slaves of Babylon.  All that I have to do is identify her.”  What, no flowers or Friday night movies? 

”Who are you looking for?” asks Tanile.  “Among the slaves of Babylon?” she adds.

”The Queen of Hellenes,” he says happily, and to a discordant bit of music, we see a female slave rise into frame among the other slaves.  Who wants to bet this is the Queen?  Anyone?  Oh, come on!  It’s not that hard.

Queen notes that there are more slaves arriving, and asks if there is ever to be an end to this misery.  While a slave master orders the new arrivals manacled, one rushes forward, says “Excuse me,” and faints in Queen’s arms. 

Well, enough of that.  Cut to Hercules sleeping somewhere, when some guy calls out his name.  Herc of course wakes up at the alarmed chap’s call.  Just in time, too, as he sees some horsemen chasing the poor guy.  Pretty crappy horsemen, who can’t catch one guy on foot.  But no matter, Hercules is running along with his giant club, and he throws it at one guy who gets knocked asunder.  But too late!  The lead horseman has caught up with the running man and slashes at him with his sword.   He then runs off, a slashing job well done.  But Hercules grabs the fallen other guy’s horse, rides off toward the slasher, and bashes him to death with his (retrieved) club.

(More Microsoft Word follies.  “Hellenes” is perfectly fine, as are words like “Azure” and “Mustachio.”  But “slasher” is flagged as misspelled.)

Oh, and Hercules ran off to catch the third horseman, and slammed him with his club too.  He then goes to the wounded man, who seemed to enjoy the show.  The two greet each other  by name, and wounded man says, “Asperia…none of the slaves…they don’t know anything…I got away with her help.  She sent me to you.”

One of the horsemen, not quite dead, listens in on this gossip.  Hercules wants to know where Asperia is, and he is rather insistent.  He starts shaking the mortally wounded man, but he dies before he can get a useful answer. 

But he unwraps the guy’s parcel (no, no, a package he was carrying—you people!) and it is the bird that was given way back when.  He releases the bird, and notes that it is flying toward Babylon, and that’s all the answer he needs.   Not Dead Horseman seems interested as well. 

Cut (rather abruptly) to Assyria, now awake and ready to depart this vale of beers, er, tears.  “Our turn will come soon,” he tells his Alice-Cooperish assistant.  And they ride off.  I guess they got their gold back, but I bet Azure, Solomon and so on are planning to attack and get the gold too, because, after all, they’re incredibly evil and would do just that sort of thing at a moment’s notice. 

And we follow the pageantry through the streets for a while, and Azure plotting for some more of a while.

”We must follow him, without being seen, and then attack him, before he crosses the frontier,” Azure tells some underling.  “Our great friend Balique, king of the Assyrians, knows a secret.  And secrets are only valuable when known, just to a few,” Azure tells the underling further, kind of spreading the secret, but whatever, “therefore—“

”Therefore, the death warrant of King Balique is already signed,” says the underling, picking up quickly.   He then notes that the plan is to make Azure king of Assyria, too.

Cut to Tanile, who is poking about with some feminine things, and there’s Guy (I think he was the red-head who kissed her earlier).  He notes how Balique got awfully far with her, and she takes umbrage at this.  But she softens, and mentions that there is a special Babylonian in the prison, and he should find this woman for her.  He says, okay, sure, but “you know the reward I’ll claim.”

Cut to Azure talking about how they know, now, that the Queen of Hellenes is hidden somewhere in Babylon.   He deems this pretty important, and that she should be killed and stuff.   Solomon says, sounds great, “we’ll eliminate her, and become masters of Hellene.”   He asks what Tanile thinks.

She agrees, and Azure says, “Let us act at once, to crush the life out of this serpent who has taken refuge in the subterranean world of Babylon.”  Geez, can you spell overreaction?  Wow, do these people have issues like crazy.

Fade pretty abruptly to black, then to the slave quarters where a guy reads out that anyone who identifies the Queen will be granted freedom.  Yeah, like that’s a promise that will be kept.   This new guy says that the femme slaves will have a bonus to prove the worth of this promise:  they’ll be excused from their regular labors for twenty-four hours.

Cut to a bunch of lady slaves all tied to stakes out in the sun.  Well…that didn’t last long, even by Babylonian standards!   Guy (the original Guy) shows up and stalks around these stake ladies for a while.   And then some horsemen show up, and one of them is Solomon.  He glances at the ladies, left and right, and says, “They’ll talk, sooner or later.  No water, no food.  But be careful!” he advises.  “Don’t let any of them die!”  He strides a bit more, then adds, “There’s a limit to the power of resistance.  We’ll have the answer before long.”

Cut to Assyria, who is really Balique but ultimately who cares, riding along through the barren countryside.  You might remember the plan of the evil Babylonians was:  attack and kill him.  I bet that plan is about to commence.

Well, he probably thinks so too as he glances around nervously, yet trying to appear calm.  A little while away, Hercules is carrying his giant club, and he sees the marauders attacking Balique.  “It’s an ambush!” shouts the king, and everyone rushes forward into a huge melee.  Balique, after some fighting, thinks escape would be a good thing for him, so he and some others rush away…right into the line of fire of some arches, who pop up, shoot their arrows, then pop down again.  Lucky for them the king just happened to run away in that direction.  It kind of looks like Balique is down for the count.

”Babylonians!” says Herc with disgust, watching all this from a distance. 

Oh wait, sorry, Balique is alive and well, fighting alongside of his men.  See, others are dressed as he is, in dark capes and furry hats, so it was an easy mistake for me to make.  Sorry about that!

Hercules decides to even the odds up a bit, so he has a rope tied on his club, and he hurls it at the archers, knocking a couple of them out cold.  The other archers take no notice of their diminishing numbers, and Herc reels in his club and knocks a couple more out.  Again, those archers are single-mindedly focused on their bows.  I guess that’s either dedication or stupidity or perhaps blindness (unlikely in archers one would think).  Hercules does the club trick one more time, but we’re not fooled—it’s the same footage!  Those naughty film-makers.

He then enters a bit more directly, jumping into the fight and hurling Babylonians hither and yon.  He saves the King’s best pal, a kind of grey-haired weak looking guy, who says he’ll never forget how Hercules saved him.  They both rush off then to do more king saving.

And more fighting happens, until finally the music starts slowing down and the Babylonians run away like crazy, probably to be killed by the kings for being incompetent and stuff. 

And we see the aftermath of the battle, with some bodies lying around.  King’s Best Pal looks a bit under the weather, but he notes to King that Hercules (who has not been named to them) saved them all, and King is eternally grateful, etc. 

Later, when King’s wounds are being attended to by an attendant, he wants to know Herc’s name, but Herc’s gone all coy.  King though has a proposal for Hercules.  He wants him to do a task, and he’ll be just the most grateful person ever and Hercules can have anything he wants, probably even chocolate candy bars if he wants them, or ice cream.

Specifically, he wants Hercules to retrieve the Queen of Hellenes for him, but Hercules has to respect her and be nice to her and stuff like that.  He’ll be accompanied by (I think) King’s Best Pal and some of his loyal men, and in the meantime, King is going to send for his cavalry to attack Babylon.  That’ll learn those Babylonians for being mean and, well, mean.

The guy who was tending King’s wounds snuck off significantly; he kind of looked like Best Pal, but that could be because the print of the film is, shall we say, less than pristine.

Anyway, Hercules accepts the job, and King says Hercules has to take “the oath” which consists of holding a sword and saying, “I swear.”  This is pretty easily accomplished.

Best Pal returns with three other guys and King declares that these are the men that Hercules is going with.  King suggests that Hercules get some rest, and Hercules thinks that sounds just great.

After he leaves, King (also known as Assyria and Balique for those of you keeping score) reveals that he has guessed that this guy is Hercules.  He then says that the only reason Hercules could be in Babylon would be to liberate his Queen—who turns out to be the Queen of the Hellenes!  Wow, small world.  King says that Hercules can recognize her, and when he does, everyone will know who she is. 

And it turns out that King is just as bad as everyone else, which I know is a major bringdown for you all, but there it is.  He says that Hercules will “never have the chance” to betray him (the King) and instructs his Best Pal that, when Hercules has rescued the Queen, “the sun must not set before Hercules has been murdered.”  The camera moves in on him.  “The moment in which I’ll also reign as King of the Hellenes is not far off.”

Well, that’s a pity, since I was starting to like ol’ Assyria/Balique/King/Priest, but you can’t have an omelet without breaking promises, so I guess that’s that.

Hey, remember all those women who were tied to stakes?  Well, we cut to see them now that it is nightfall, and some guards with torches are walking around doing the inspection or something. 

And then it’s the next day.  Some of the women seem pretty surprised by this, almost as much as I was.  And Solomon shows up, with a couple of guys in red shorts with whips, (the guys, not the shorts), and they start whipping some woman, and the woman who I thought was Queen looks pretty distressed at this.  Not being able to take it, she calls out, “I am the Queen of the Hellenes!” but, get this, every other woman there calls out the same thing!  It’s like that scene from near the end of Monty Python’s Life of Brian only you shouldn’t be laughing at it.

Azure shows up and looks puzzled at all this ranting, and then we see a bird fly overhead, and all the women look really happy at seeing this bird.   I’m sure it’s the same bird that guy released way back when.  That’s probably why folks are making a big deal of it.  I guess it tells them that wounded (now dead) guy found Hercules, and he’ll make everything all right again.  I think that would make me happy too, so that’s my guess.

Watching the women, Azure says, almost in wonderment, “They’re all worthy of a throne.”   Well, perhaps he’s now the nice guy.  I mean, it seemed like a pretty nice thing to say, for a Babylonian. 

”Untie them!” barks Solomon.  I’m sure there’ve been bald guys with mustaches who were good people (in movies) but I’m having a hard time recalling any.

And cut, to one of the beaten soldiers from that melee a few scenes ago, and he’s being asked, “Are you sure you heard that name?” and he says yup.  (This could be the Not Dead Horseman from even earlier, too.)

Solomon, Azure and Tanile aren’t too happy to learn that Hercules has been seen around.  Solomon says, “I would never permit him even to set foot in this city.”  Oh, I’d like to see you try and stop him!  Bald guys with mustaches…there must be something there.

Azure notes that it sure seems odd that Hercules arrives in Babylon at the same time the three of them are searching for the Queen of Hercules.  “Doesn’t that seem strange?” he asks.  “Doesn’t it seem possible that he’s searching for the same thing that King Balique wanted?”

”There is only one way for us to unravel this complicated intrigue,” says Solomon.  “Eliminate Hercules.”  Why, of course!  It all seems so simple now.  Simple minded, that is.

Azure seems to digest the fact that his brother is kind of stupid, as he looks at various corners of the set and then walks off, trying (honestly) to stifle his laughter.  “This would only eliminate our best possibility of finding the Queen of the Hellenes,” he finally says.  “We will invite Hercules to be our guest,” he goes on, adding, “it’s the only way to control him.”

”I’ll never agree to that!” shouts Solomon.  Bald, mustached Solomon (add ‘em up).  But Tanile casts the tie-breaking vote in favor of Azure’s plan, which is:  be nice to Hercules. 

Speaking of whom, he and his Assyrian pals show up in some Arabic marketplace.  A merchant appears and says he has to speak to Hercules alone; the Assyrians obligingly move off to look at some of the new model slaves. 

The Merchant tells Hercules his name first of all (something like Vocipherus), then that he had heard Hercules was coming.  He’s sure glad to find out it was true.

Meanwhile, the Assyrians start a pushing and pulling match (despite the valiant Foley work, it’s just a lot of shoving).   Hercules goes off to see if he can lend a hand, and he’s soon shoving people all over.  One guy smashes a board against Hercules back, and Hercules just turns and looks at the guy, like, You are soooo annoying, and he belts the guy.

Then a fanfare sounds, and the Babylonian Trio appears.  Fortunately, this stops the fighting dead in its tracks, as Azure says, “We bid you welcome, Hercules.”

Hercules sure looks surprised to be recognized, and everyone is like, Oh, never mind, and all the fighting stops.

Best Pal and Hercules go to meet the royals, and Best Pal opines that he’s surprised they weren’t thrown in prison, and asks if it’s wise to go meet the rulers.  “They’ll be watching us,” he says.

We’ll be watching them,” Hercules says with pretty solid logic.  The other three Assyrians determine that they should stay close.  Merchant says, “Hey, wait for me, I’m coming too,” and he dashes off.

Azure says, now that everyone is right in front of him, “Welcome to Babylon, Hercules.  You…and your six friends.”

”Six?” asks Hercules, and he sees the Merchant all anxious like I’m-a-friend-please, so he says, “My six friends and I thank you.”  Hm, King’s Best Pal, three Assyrians, Merchant…I guess there must have been four Assyrians. 

Cut to the slave ladies, who are all abuzz that Hercules is here.  Then cut again to a feast in Hercules’ honor.  Lots of food and drink and stuff, hopefully there is a designated driver.  People ripping the flesh off bones and stuff, and Tanile glancing significantly at Hercules, who glances significantly back.  Man, not this tired old bit again.  The evil female rules falls for Hercules?  It’s like Japanese monsters crushing a city, they’ll never make a movie where it doesn’t happen.

Solomon makes an announcement, in which he (very roundaboutly) says he “cannot deprive” anyone at the party from witnessing Hercules feats of strength.  Er, isn’t that Hercules’ to decide?  (Bald with mustache.)

Apparently this was once a widescreen film, as five strongmen types show up, kneel before the ruling triumvirate, and Solomon says that the SIX of them want to pit their strength against Hercules.  Which seems a bit much to ask of what was supposed to be an “honored guest” but you know, those were different times.

Hercules, avoiding embarrassing Solomon, says he agrees to fight these guys, and Solomon says, why not three at a time?

Me, I imagine this is really screwing up Azure’s “be nice to Hercules” plan but he’s being remarkably calm about it all. 

Hercules takes off his robe and prepares to do battle, and it begins, and Hercules beats the crap out of all of them.   Without even breaking much of a sweat.   The bald one (but no mustache) proves the toughest of the lot, but he’s taken care of soon enough.  He drops his club though, which seems to sprout spikes (try saying that ten times rapidly).  Everyone looks alarmed at this, and they mostly look alarmed  toward Solomon, who has that It-wasn’t-me-that-farted look. 

Hercules picks up the spiked club and crushes it.  Tanile smiles and offers him a drink  (oh not that old trick).

Well, not that old trick I guess, as we’re in Hercules quarters, and Best Pal says “One of the three hates you more than the others.”  Oh, like the one that proposed the fight, maybe?

Best Pal advises hurrying on their mission, and Merchant says he’ll take Hercules, but only Hercules to the subterranean tunnels where the slave chicks are.  Best Pal looks totally But-I’m-Supposed-To-Kill-Hercules in his face, but accedes to the Merchant’s request.  And Hercules opens up the secret passageway the Merchant indicates.  And they descent into spooky darkness, and the door closes behind them.  Merchant takes this moment to say that he knows all about the palace, as he was a slave here, and some folks helped him, and he swore he would help Hercules in the same way.  So I guess this is his dream fulfilled.  Way cool for him. 

He continues to lead Hercules through the spooky passageways, which is actually a pretty cool sequence, considering the skulking through passageways scenes I’ve had to endure before.  I mean, you take what you can get, right?

The journey turns out to be a surprisingly lengthy one (uh, no).  Merchant finally takes Herc to a slab and says he’s the only one who can move it.  So, Herc moves it, and sure enough, there are lots of slave chicks on the other side.  Wow, the jackpot!  

Of course, it takes a bit longer than the two lines above.  But you know, I really like you people.

And when the slab is moved, the music is all nice, and Hercules gets lots of hugs.  And (I think) Queen says that Merchant swore that he would never leave until Hercules liberated all the slave chicks.  Women’s liberation. 

Merchant runs off to…uh, pee or something, I dunno.  Hercules promises he’ll free everyone here, but he just can’t up and do it, because soldiers will be waiting. 

Merchant pops back and says it’s time to go, as he hears footsteps.  Hercules…kisses Queen full on!  And we fade to black.

And we cut to Merchant leading Hercules through some more tunnels.  Can’t get enough of that, I suppose.   Hearing a noise, they quickly hide, and then stop hiding (I guess the noise went somewhere more exciting) and then they go follow where the noise went.  And Hercules sneaks up onto this platform, where he’s able to spy on Tanile and Guy. 

Tanile explains that the chains in this room are all attached to all the houses in Babylon, and then, they’re attached to the main buildings in Babylon.  Wow, that sounds convenient for the strongest man in the world.  Er, not to try and guess the plot or anything. 

Anyway, Tanile says that Babylon is constructed right on top of the desert.  She asks Guy to look at some part of the central device.  It seems that all these here chains are attached to the central shaft, and if she can get a hundred slaves to turn the shaft, the whole of Babylon will be destroyed.  She thus reasons that Babylon is in her control.

Guy asks who built this ludicrous thing (he doesn’t describe it that way).   Tanile tells him it was Daedelus, “who built the labyrinth at Crete.”   I’m sure you mythology fans recognize that name as the father of Icarus. 

(Daedelus, Icarus, Darth Vader.  Guess which name isn’t flagged misspelled?  Man, Microsoft’s spellchecker has no culture to it.  Magritte.  Dali.  Skywalker.  Take another guess?  Erik Satie.  Claude Debussy (wow, Word knows that one).  Galactus.  BZZT, Word doesn’t know who Galactus is!  Granted, his music doesn’t compare to Debussy, but he could devour whole worlds just by wanting to.  Microsoft, know the VIPs of time and space.)

Uh, where were we?  Oh yeah, Tanile was revealing some machinations against her brothers.  Yawn, color me surprised, etc.  She says she’s going to leave Babylon, taking its treasure and its army, and she wants Guy to lead this army.  All the slaves will be left down in this room, to get the shaft.  She wants to rule over everyone from Nineveh, and she won’t have to share with anyone, which apparently galls her no end. 

Hercules, having gotten the gist of the plan, decides to withdraw at this point.  Which he does slowly, the way everyone does things in this land.  And fade to black.

Fade in again as Herc and Merchant are returning to the place with the hidden slab doorway, and Balique’s Best Pal says that Queen Tanile requests the presence of Hercules.  Merchant says he wouldn’t trust her.  (If she tries the drugged drink again, I bet Herc spits it out.) 

Hercules shares the concerns of those who do not trust Tanile, and says he’ll be careful.  And there he is in Tanile’s chambers.  She tells him she will free the slave he wants freed (the Queen of Hellenes) but he first has to lead one hundred slaves down to the room with the big shaft in it.  Hercules asks why, and she says (after a spot of hesitation) that the winch is required to open a big door with all of Babylon’s treasure behind it, which she’s going to take for her own. 

Just then, the Foley man lays in some footsteps, and Hercules notes that someone was spying on them.  Tanile, concerned a bit, asks first if Hercules accepts the job.  He does.

He takes the opportunity to leave, and some guy who was barely hidden at all tries to look more hidden as he leaves.  Tanile comes out, looks after Hercules walking away, and the hiding guy tries hiding some more but with…limited success.  Fade to black.

Fade in as Hercules is moving the big slab that imprisons the slave chicks.  As soon as he gets it all the way open, a slave chick notes that the Queen has been removed from the slave room.  And I may be crazy but I think he moves the slab back into place!  It’s a very quick fade to a big brass statue and Herc and “friends” racing into a room.  Some Babylonian soldiers, who are apparently slow learners, show up to brandish their weapons.  At first, I thought Herc ran away, but he was just ripping a door off its hinges to he could hurl it at the Babylonians, decimating their number down to three.

The three attack anyway.  But we cut to the Queen all tied up elsewhere.  Turns out, she’s being taunted by Azure, who tells her that he’s going to be the King to her Queen.  She says never, and he asks if he’s any worse than Balique?  (Good question.)  He says that Balique is “no longer of this world” and notes that, “your beauty, is only equaled by my wisdom.  We should do well together.”  He then says he’ll take her to Hellenes as his wife, and thus unite the two kingdoms.  “It will be the greatest empire in the world!”

Just then, Solomon shows up.  (I was wondering when his machinations were going to be revealed.)  “You’re right!” he snarls (in fairness, the only way he has of talking).   But he has an alternate suggestion for the emperor, namely, him.   And he pulls a sword on Azure.

Azure says, hey, let’s talk about this, but Solomon reveals that Balique is alive, and that seems to follow that Azure betrayed him (Solomon), so he rams the sword through Azure (off screen) while Queen screams. 

Boy, I used to fight with my brothers when I was a kid, but way before we were as old as these folks, we got along pretty well.  I guess there has been a march of civilizations after all.

Approaching Queen, Solomon notes, “It’s not wisdom you need…but the sword!”   And he cuts her bonds and takes her out of there.

They come across a chamber with some dead (or badly beaten) Babylonian soldiers in it, and Queen calls out “Hercules!” while Solomon looks uneasy at this unexpected turn of events.

Queen runs away from Solomon and to Hercules, and we hear some swordfight noises as Balique’s Best Pal and his men and Hercules and Queen all make their escape.  On the way, they grab Merchant.   And Solomon defeats the two Assyrians who were fighting with him. 

And Hercules and Pals get to the front gate, where they beat up the Babylonians foolish enough to oppose them, and then Hercules tells the others to get the Queen to safety.  He has some civilizations to crush.  She wants to come with, of course, but he says that Babylon is pretty damn evil and it should be “cut off at the roots.”  He gives her a quick kiss and then everyone is off. 

Solomon is calling for more guards, saying no one must escape, etc, and down below, Guy comes to Taline and says it’s time to go.

”Are they loading the treasure?” she asks.

He avoids the question.  ”Let’s go,” he says.

Down under the ground, Hercules grabs the giant shaft and having the strength of hundreds of guys he’s able to move the whole thing by himself.   (Hope he’s turning it in the right direction.  It’d be pretty sad if he was making more buildings rather than tearing them down.)

Up top, Solomon hears some muttering and looks down at Taline and Guy having an incomprehensible conversation (it’s just muttering on the soundtrack).    Thinking this can’t be good, he continues to look as he sees treasure being unloaded.  He grabs his sword, then his bow and I guess he is determined to be an only child.  

But just as he aims for Tanile’s back, the building he’s in starts to crumble and he gets crushed to death. 

Tanile notes that this is too soon, who gave the order?  Guy doesn’t know.   But we cut to Hercules, turning the shaft, just in case we had fallen asleep and forgotten all that.  Yep, he’s doing a good job winding up all these chains.   Yes sir, doing a great job.  Just to get the message, we see another tower crumble, and then another one which falls right on Guy.  He appeals to Tanile for help, but you know how that’s going to work, so he dies in the dust.  Boy, it sure sucked to be Guy.   Tanile’s expression never changes as more and more towers fall down.  And some pottery breaks, and some fires break out as well (the Babylonians were pretty advanced in their day, they had gas pipes). 

Of course, during all this mayhem and miniatures (one brief cool shot of a guy jumping onto a bridge which collapses under him) I have to wonder if all the slave chicks escaped.  Being in a dungeon and all, they’d be pretty vulnerable to falling towers. 

Up on a hill, Queen, Merchant, Best Pal and Other Assyrian watch the destruction of Babylon.  Best Pal tells Other Guy to go get Balique, but Merchant says the Assyrians have betrayed everyone, and he urges Queen to run, but he gets stabbed for his trouble.  Queen does run off, however.  Best Pal runs after her, but Tanile is there.  For some unfathomable reason, Queen runs right up to Tanile, who grabs her and tells Best Pal, “deliver her to Balique.”  Way to go, there, Queen, sure looks like Azure was right when he said he had the wisdom part.

But then, Tanile stabs Best Pal and runs off with Queen.  Looks like she’s keeping her options open. 

As Hercules continues this exciting footage of turning the crank, we see some Assyrian soldiers riding up to Balique.

”My lord, the Queen is in the hands of Balhere [Best Pal],” one of them says.

”Just as I planned it!” says Balique with satisfaction.  He orders his men to surround the city, and we get some stock footage of thousands of riders doing just that.    Naturally, surrounding a city takes quite a bit of screen time.    From many different angles.   Yes, I can see if you’re going to surround a city, you need to plan this because it will take some time. 

I’m awake!  Hercules is apparently finished with his city destroying duties, so he happens upon the dying Best Pal, who tells him that he (Best Pal) betrayed him (Hercules) and that Balique will soon be here.  He then dies.

But not before he apologizes, reveals the plot against Hercules, and says that Tanile has the Queen now and is going to bring said Queen to Balique.  THEN he dies. 

Hercules runs off, as the two ladies are surrounded by Assyrian riders.   Balique stops, dismounts and notes that Queen is the Queen.   Queen, on the other hand, notes the appearance of Hercules. 

Balique isn’t terribly happy to see this guy, of course.  He draws his sword and advances on the legendary strongman.  (While his riders continue to ride around.)

”Hercules liberated you because I ordered it!” says Balique.

”No!  That’s not true!” says Hercules.  “I pretended to accept your offer, so I could discover your plan.”

”You betrayed me!” says Balique.

You betrayed me!” says Hercules.  Yeah, well I’m rubber and you’re glue.  “I saved your life, and you ordered [Best Pal] to eliminate me!    After I saved [Queen]!”

Everyone looks around at this intelligence, and then someone says, “The slaves have been freed!” and sure enough, a whole bunch of slaves rush over the hillside.   And all these unarmed, unmounted slaves manage to make short work of the Assyrian cavalry.  (So much for “legendary” eh?)

Balique looks really, really unhappy at this turn of events, and he starts swinging his sword at Hercules.  Hercules manages to duck rather a lot, but there’s only one outcome for this fight, yes?

You’re right, Balique runs away.  And his professional, trained, well-fed cavalry are pretty damn easily defeated by some escaped slaves.  Balique, you must have really polished your resume. 

Tanile wanders above the mayhem, looking at her ring (which probably has a poison dart, you know those Babylonians).

Hercules, meanwhile, apparently beats Balique to death (off camera) and he and Queen embrace. 

”Let’s surrender, our king is dead!” yells one of the Assyrian cavalry.   Now there’s a man with perception. 

The fighting continues a bit longer, and Hercules and Queen go to see Tanile, who…collapses.  I guess the poison in her ring was for herself.  Boy, talk about taking the left-field way out.  Oh well, as long as the music turns happier and we fade to another scene, which (of course) we do.

It appears to be a huge procession of slaves, all walking back to Hellene one supposes.  In fact, Hercules pauses at the top of the hill, looks smilingly at Queen, and says “There is your land.”

Oh…good.  It kind of looks like barren desert mesas, but hey, if it’s home and the beer’s cheap, I’m sure it’ll do. 

”Now it is easy to predict a long and happy life for you,” says some woman accompanying the Queen.  And several folks bow and kiss the dirt.  Hey, whatever floats your boat, man.   And “The end” appears (and rapidly disappears) as we see more of this long line of returning Hellenes.  I’m glad they’re happy now. 

As for me, I'm happy to have one more Hercules film over and done with.  This one wasn't as fun as the Captive Women one, but better than the one with the Mooninites (though that one had an imaginative premise).   Ultimately, this one was just sort of okay, a time-waster that wasted its time pretty well.   If you're a Hercules completist, well, you have larger problems than seeing this film, but see it by all means.  The rest of you, so far, if you want to see a good Hercules film, stick with Hercules and the Captive Women.

As usual, there were lots of scenes and ideas and such that have been repeated over the course of these three films, but I think I'll save my remarks on these until we're done with the final entry, Hercules Unchained, coming next month.  I'm sure it will have many of those very same bits, and the only things I like repeating over and over are the jokes, til they become unfunny.   I'm good at that.  So, July 2005, Hercules Unchained.

See you then!

--June 30, 2005