Okay, so now we’re going on with our next Sons of Hercules
offering, this one called The Devil of the Desert against the Sons of
Hercules. I wonder if we’ll
get more than one son? And if so,
does that mean one Comedy Relief guy for each son?
This is the last but one “Hercules” film in the Treeline set; the next one (a few films down the road) is about “Colossus” but I’m willing to bet it’ll be the same sort of thing.
Anyway, we have this movie tonight. And we get the same song from the last movie. And we get the credits first this time, over some footage of riders going along through a desolate landscape (no tree monster gosh darn it). And the song goes on for a long time, over two minutes, and you can hear the lyrics much clearer. Assistant Director: Ruggero Deodato. He later directed some of those Italian cannibal movies. Oh, tonight’s film was directed by “Anthony Dawson,” last seen here in these pages for Assignment Outer Space, and probably to be seen here again down the road. Says here it was filmed in Algeria. Well, good for Algeria I guess. No writer credits.
Just so you can never say I never brang you nothing, here are the lyrics to the theme song:
The sons of Hercules!
The mighty sons of Hercules once thundered through the years,
each man of steel could never feel
the curse of a coward’s fears.
The mighty sons of Hercules were men as men should be,
they burned with dreams, then turned their dreams
A hundred giants brave and bold, they ruled the world in days of old.
The mighty sons of Hercules were men as men should be,
they hooked the world and shook the world,
the sons of Hercules.
(Solo voice) The mighty sons of Hercules once thundered through the years,
these men of steel could never feel
the curse of a coward’s fears.
The mighty sons of Hercules were men as men should be,
they burned with dreams, then turned their dreams
The whole thing’s not bad, it’s kind of like the Ventures playing Ennio Morricone while the Moody Blues sing the vocals. It’s got a very sixties sound to it, like the theme from a TV western (Rawhide or Bonanza, like).
But enough of that song—at two and a half minutes, I should say so! And enough of those riders, too, as we fade out, and fade in on a mountain out somewhere (probably Algeria). There is a huge vertical stripe going up the film element (ie, it’s a crappy print) and I hope this will not be a constant companion.
”Through the centuries, in olden times,” says a narrator, “there lived…the sons of Hercules!” And the stripe goes away, probably frightened of these sons. “Heroes supreme, they roamed the Earth, righting wrongs, helping the weak and oppressed, and seeking adventure.” We pan away from the mountain to a valley filled with clouds. It’s rather striking looking. “They were the mightiest of mortal men,” the narrator goes on. “One of them was…Antar!” And we leave this nice vista to find some hunky beardless guy with a torch in a room filled with mirrors. You’ve seen The Lady From Shanghai, right? Anyway, this hunky guy almost looks like Elvis. “It is of his deeds we tell now,” the narrator continues. Antar, looking pretty angry, advances along the mirror room. “And of his struggle with--the Devil of the Desert!” And we cut to a pretty evil looking guy, very Vincent Price-like, all dressed in black.
Then we fade to black, and fade in on a vast desert. In the distance are some riders, and we see that they’re looking at a city that looks pretty prosperous. They signal to each other and ride a bit more. There are about six of these riders, but in the distance we can see lots more. The music is kind of ominous, so I’ll guess that these are bad guys, the city is full of good people, and the bad guys will enslave the good people, there’ll be an evil Queen…I’m going to stop now because I’m depressing myself.
So, some of the riders ride toward the city. Inside the city, we see there’s lots of festive stuff going on, like a guy playing the congas, a fire juggler, some tumblers, and a procession of guards probably guarding the carriage of some important personage. One guy on top of the wall surrounding the city says to another guy at street level, “They’re coming.”
”Right,” says street-level guy, and he goes off. Some other guy who looks mean strides up to yet another guy, while yet another guy on the wall calls down, “Open the gate!” All these guys! Must be Guyville. Also must be what they mean when they say, “It’s a guy thing.” Some town in Algeria.
The gate thus opened, the riders come in and dismount, and one who seems to be the leader strides off. We follow him. The music, by the way, is surprisingly good, a lot like Prokofiev. (I would have smacked the spell-checker if his name had been flagged, but Word knows who Sergei Prokofiev is.)
So, the Rider Leader strides off. And he goes up some steps and into a building, and he keeps going, and goes some more until he’s in a big interior hall. And he wanders about a bit more, until we see the Devil of the Desert! And Rider Leader goes up to him. They nod at each other and go off in opposite directions. Devil looks determined, as if some evil plan of his was about to bear fruit. Or maybe his pant are too tight. And Rider Leader walks out of the hall! I guess all he had to deliver was that nod. Man, that is efficient communication. Unlike this movie, which is a lot of walking around so far.
Rider Leader goes into a tent, and then calls to some guards to come in. When the guards come in, they are set upon and (offscreen) defeated, and Rider Leader orders his thugs, “Change clothes with them!” Which they do.
So here’s the setup, I guess. Everyone in this kingdom is happy (see the festive stuff), but the Devil of the Desert hates it when people are happy, so he’s going to use Rider Leader to help him take over, by having bad people impersonate guards. How many times have we heard that one before?
Well, anyway. Back at the hall, there’s some more procession-ing, and some old guy followed by a bunch of bearers approaches the throne. I suppose this is the Sultan. Conspicuously, everyone else in the hall is dressed in white, but the Devil of the Desert is all in black. You would think that would tip anyone off, but remember, these folks live in the desert and have not had access to years and years of television westerns. To them, black is just a fashion statement.
And the wise Sultan continues his slow walk toward his throne. Before he gets there, we cut back to the fake guards. They come out of the tent, kill a real guard, and get up on the wall. More guards are killed, and the signal is given to the other riders still out in the desert, who ride toward the city.
Inside, Sultan is finally getting to his throne, though he hasn’t sat down yet. We see some veiled chick (probably the daughter) and some other guy (her brother, maybe, or boyfriend?). Palace guards are suddenly and silently attacked and pulled out of the hall. And finally Sultan sits down. And he looks alarmed, suddenly, as he sees various black-suited types enter into his fine, fine hall. And veiled chick looks alarmed as well, but one dude who doesn’t look alarmed is the Devil. He looks pretty down with this, and since he probably is, that’s why he looks it!
He gives some kind of signal, and several archers appear and fill the Sultan with arrows. Damn, poor SOB never even got a line. The Possible Boyfriend gets very angry at this and rushes into the crowd of black-garbed assassins. And there’s lots of sword fights. Veiled Chick says “Father!” to the dying Sultan, and outside, more evil riders are coming into town, and the market stalls are already being broken or set on fire. Lots of fighting, but obviously the Devil’s guys are going to win, because this isn’t going to be a [checks] ten minute movie.
Kind of looks like the last Sons of Hercules film, when the Badites were attacking the kingdom of King Good-Guy and Second Banana. And there are riders in the hall who attack the good guys. Of course, since half the bad guys are dressed as good guys, it’s rather hard to tell this, but I feel safe in predicting that evil will triumph on this sad, sad day. For a while, anyway.
And Possible Boyfriend turns out to be Son of the Sultan, as he attacks Devil and tells him that he (Devil) “killed my father, to whom you owed everything! You’ll pay for this betrayal!” and swords clash. But Rider Leader tosses a dagger that impales Son of the Sultan in the chest, and he collapses. Knowing these movies, I’m not going to claim that he dies, we’ll just wait for confirmation.
And Veiled Chick, who isn’t veiled anymore (isn’t that very rude in Arabic circles) calls out to the dead brother, but she’s taken away while Devil reflects on just how evil he is. Result: pretty darn.
”You’ll never seize this city, Gammil,” Sultan Son says, “the people will rebel against you.” He addresses his remarks to Devil, so that must be Devil’s real name (after all, who names their kid “Devil”?) but he’ll always be Devil to you and me.
Devil orders Sultan Son taken away, and Veiled Chick goes to him, sobbing. But a hand, the hand of evil, drops on her shoulder.
”Don’t worry about your brother,” Devil says. “I’m sure you can convince me to spare him.”
She throws off his hand, and he signals that she’s to be taken away too. And he and Rider Leader nod at each other at a city well conquered.
Or so it would seem. Outside, a sort of Captain-ish-guy (another “guy”) tells some foot-soldier, “Now’s our chance. You must reach our mountain tribes. Tell them to get ready, we have to prepare for an attack!” Um. Uh, I think you’re already being attacked there, Captain, preparation is really closing the barn doors after the horses have run away. (Unless he means counter-attack, in which case he should say.)
Anyway, more attacks, including people being dragged behind horses for several yards. The rider stops before Rider Leader and congrats him on his strategy, which worked, so now Devil is king. Yes, the drinks are on me!
We see various folks being led into slavery, and then we cut to Rider Leader going to see Devil in his new digs as King. The fires are being put out and bodies carted away.
They all go (followed by some Rider Flunkies) to more private quarters, and Devil says, “You owe me an answer. I truly hope you haven’t forgotten—because I’m not in the habit of repeating myself.” And he goes closer, and we see Veiled Chick lying on a divan or an ottoman or a floungepizou. Since she’s not veiled anymore, we need a new name. I’m calling her Nancy.
”I loathe you, assassin!” Nancy spits at him.
”You seem to forget the kingdom is mine, Siriah,” he says. So I guess that’s her name. Thanks. She's still gonna be Nancy. “You will now obey me!”
”Without me, you have no legal claim to the kingdom,” Nancy says, and I have to wonder if killing bunches of royal people doesn’t constitute a legal claim. Or were the Vikings totally wrong? “No, [Devil], you’re helpless, and you know it. And you’ll wait forever before I give in to you.” This doesn’t seem apparent to me. Did Genghis Kahn travel with a bunch of lawyers, or did he just take territory by force? I think he did the latter and no one was able to stop him by pointing out various local traditions and administrative niceties that he might be violating.
Devil, though, looks stymied at this defiance. Then he says, “You’re wrong, Seriah. You’ll be my Queen with, or without your consent.” And she looks all fiery at him, and he kisses her and she struggles, so he slaps her and says that he’ll tame her by gum.
”I’ll never be yours, never!” she yells, and runs to a secret panel, pushes it open and jumps out! Before Devil can stop her, she plunges through the air, into…the river. Or a lake. Didn’t know they had one, being out in the desert like that, but learning is an ongoing process they say.
Devil looks after this like he is not happy—and our damned film stripe is back, probably in mourning for Nancy’s sudden plunge. “What happened?” says some offscreen person.
”She killed herself,” Devil replies, “she threw herself into the river.”
”I’ll have her rescued,” says Rider Leader. Rescued from being killed? How does that work?
”No,” Devil says. “I hope the crocodiles tear her to pieces.” He pauses. “She would never have obeyed. But it doesn’t matter now.”
And we cut to the river, or some part of it, and a bit of triumphal music appears and we see the head of someone holding a spear surface from the water. He’s rather in silhouette, but he has short hair so I don’t think it’s Nancy. I’m going to wager that it is, in fact, Antar. And if you don’t know who he is, well, I had to scroll back up to see his name too, it had been so long, I’d forgotten about him. Argolees appeared in the first few seconds of his film, Antar has to wait sixteen minutes! And there’s always the possibility that this is the Comedy guy, and not Antar.
And, in fact, it is Comedy guy! Wow, I guess this proves Mom always liked Argolees best. We pan across the water (damn line down the center of the image) to Antar, sitting on the shore, wearing tiny shorts. He calls out to the person in the water, “Hey, Mute! You’ve been in the water long enough now.” And the other person, who is very scrawny, scrambles onto the shore.
And it seems to be (sigh) a kid, maybe twelve years old. This is the first child I remember in a Hercules movie, and I’m thinking it can’t be a good sign. Anyway, he and Antar run over to a where a bunch of sticks are stuck in the ground, and Antar skewers something (a fish, I guess) on one of the sticks, places it between two other y-shaped sticks which are on either side of a fire. But then Mute spots something in the water—“It’s a woman!” shouts Antar. (Like me, Mute can only grunt and moan.) Antar dashes into the water to effect a rescue, which he does after some anxious faces from Mute on shore.
When the rescue is complete, Mute does several backflips. I guess since he can’t talk, he has to express his emotions somehow….
Antar carries the woman ashore, and shore enough, it’s Nancy. She’s pretty conked out so they carry her a long way to some different sand to put her down. Antar notes the “Seal of King Sandor” on a necklace.
Nancy comes around, and Antar introduces himself. She won’t say anything about herself, saying, “What difference does it make, when you’re only a slave?”
”Well, it can make a great difference,” Antar replies, “especially when the woman enslaved is a royal princess.”
She looks at her necklace like, oh, I forgot about that. Antar sends Mute off to get the horses. Nancy asks if the boy is a mute, and Antar confirms that this is so.
Mute runs off happily to gather the horses—and runs right into a crowd of soldiers! The leader of this bunch asks Mute questions, which of course he can’t answer, so another soldier strikes down Mute. “In this way we’ll know nothing, you idiot!” Leader upbraids the solider. “Forward!” he orders to the rest of the men. And they apparently just leave Mute behind.
Back at camp, Nancy is telling the story of her life, and she’s let the straps of her bra-thing slide down her shoulders rather considerably! Woo hoo!
Just then, the soldiers attack, and Antar is taken out in the first instant with a blow from behind. The others grab Nancy and leave. They go to Leader, who tells the soldiers, “Be careful! Can’t you see you’re bruising her? Get your paws off of her. You’re ruining a treasure!” He turns his attention (barely) to Nancy. “Have no fear, they won’t hurt you, you’re worth too much to us!” She’s then put on his horse.
Elsewhere, Antar comes to and demonstrates his fighting style, which seems to be grabbing guys and throwing them. But Leader and some others ride off and escape, looking pretty much like they don’t care at all what happens to the others, currently being beaten by Antar. Good thing too, as they’re all thoroughly thrashed. Antar watches the others leave, then finds the necklace. Hearing one of the thrashed moaning, he goes up to him.
”Talk, or I’ll rip your eyes out! Who was that man?”
”No, I’ll talk,” the guy says, saying that the Leader’s name was Morass, and he works for Arqueen, the slaver. Then he dies.
Antar goes looking for Mute and finds him, and picks him up. And carries him, for some time. Finally, he tells him to wake up, and he does. We fade as they hug, but like Batman I’m sure there’s nothing gay about this.
Fade in on more desolate landscape. Oh boy, I was hoping. Afar, we see some folks herding goats or sheep or some kind of small mammals, and then we go to a marketplace with camels and other sights of Algeria. People haggle over fabric and dishes and things of various kinds. As another caravan arrives, a man helpfully tells us “Another caravan is arriving!” and we get to see more of the arrival of the caravan. One guy has a rather fancy hat, and when he dismounts, a peasant says “Welcome to our market, your highness,” and the highness smiles indulgently. “Where is my tent?” he asks, and he is brought to it.
Some fat guy is spying on this, and he goes to a tent, after saying, “Lazy good for nothings.” Inside the tent is a dancing girl, dancing. He seems to find this pretty worthwhile to watch, but then he goes to some guy eating some pasty stuff (and not liking it much if I’m any judge of facial expressions).
Fat Guy calls this guy, “Ah-Cream!” and mentions that some royal customers have arrived. This is probably the slaver mentioned earlier. Fat Guy keeps telling Ah-Cream that there are all kinds of kings and things, but Ah-Cream is way more interested in gyrating female flesh, so he doesn’t even answer. Only his grotesque dough-chewing shows he’s even alive. Finally, Fat Guy gets discouraged and leaves.
He goes back outside. Someone else announces the arrival of some other royal personage, but I didn’t catch his name and can’t bring myself to care a whole lot. (sorry for being cynical, I didn’t get much sleep last night).
This new royal goes into some other tent. Some other guy tells Fat Guy that he’s going to have a great slave auction tomorrow, and Fat Guy says (when the guy walks on) “At least the Moon has wished us well.” Was that other guy the Moon? I didn’t recognize him.
And who should ride into camp now, but Morass and Nancy! She has calmed down considerably, but as soon as he takes her off the horse she starts up again. Morass takes her straight into Ah-Cream’s tent and shows her off. Ah-Cream sees who it is and dismisses the dancer.
”This must surely be the hand of Providence, Sure-Ad!” he says. And no, I don’t know who Sure-Ad is. (Fat Guy’s real name is Abdul.) “The flower to complete my collection!” He turns to some underling. “Juan! Go call Adonna!” (No idea who that is either.) Juan, however, turns out to be some no-one who goes off to do Ah-Cream’s bidding.
Nancy and Ah-Cream argue about whether he has the right to keep her here. Fat Guy takes the opp to sidle off, no doubt to nefariousness of his own. Ah-Cream’s not taking any of Nancy’s arguments, though, and says that tomorrow she’ll be sold at a price only a king could afford. So act fast while interest rates are low, at these prices, these slaves won’t last long, so why don’t you give us a call and come on down!
Juan returns with Adonna, who turns out to be an old lady dressed rather like a Spanish woman, but let’s let that pass please. Ah-Cream tells Adonna that she should, basically, make Nancy look reeeeeeeally nice for tomorrow’s slave sale. Adonna, who doesn’t speak, takes Nancy by the hand and leads her out of the tent.
Morass was apparently in the tent all this time, though I didn’t see him until he was addressed (as “Murad,” sheesh these people and name continuity!) by Ah-Cream. Anyway, Ah-Cream thinks this is a swell prize and asks where he found Nancy.
Morass says he found her “near the lake, with a giant, who took five of my best men from me.” I guess the “giant” part was so he could jack up the price, because Antar was just of ordinary size. Also unmentioned: the fact that Morass did nothing to help those five men, best or not.
Sure enough, “You’ll have to sell her at a high price to cover my expenses,” Morass purrs.
Ah-Cream turns to Fat Guy and tells him that Nancy has to be sold last, and at the highest price. And Ah-Cream and Morass drink tea to celebrate the big sale tomorrow. “Tomorrow’s market…shall be a rich market, eh, Abdul?” No one answers, but everyone drinks tea, and on this exciting tea-drinking shot, we fade to some more desolate desert landscape. Gosh-a-rootie, I was sure hoping we’d get some more desolation. Actually, I was hoping Antar might make an appearance or two more in HIS OWN MOVIE. In the twenty-seven minutes so far, he’s barely been in maybe five. Loser.
Well, in this desolate desert, there are two horse riders. Maybe they’re Antar and Mute, or maybe we’re going to introduce some more characters. Well, it’s hard to tell, but I think it—ah, yes, finally a relative close-up. It’s Antar and Mute all right, and instead of wearing just y-fronts, they’re properly dressed to go rescue slaves. Mute has a white shirt with a sort of half-vest, like chest curtains, and Antar has opted for just the vest part. They look out at something that looked pretty indistinct to me, but Antar says, “It’s the slave market!” so they ride some more. They tie their horses out in the desert and proceed on foot the rest of the way.
We pan and see what looks like the same bunch of animals being herded along toward the slave market. And then Antar and Mute run down the dune, and then they run some more.
And we cut to Fat Guy, at the slave auction. Nancy is standing there pretty stoic about it all, even when he moves part of her veil-coat to expose a bit of (G-rated) skin. “In all honesty,” he says, “I say, in all honesty, have you ever seen a more beautiful, more stupendous, more angelic creature? Lips like ruby wine, and then her eyes, green as emeralds, oh noble sirs. Though we’re in the orient, a more noble, and regal comportment, and then I ask you, to just imagine all of her hidden charms! And what is more, my lords, for just a few miserable Piastas, she can be yours, all yours, for the incredible sum of sixty miserable Piastas!”
”Sixty five!” someone shouts, before he can even get to the bit about the set of Ginsu knives and ordering before midnight tonight. The bidding goes on for a bit, with Fat Guy trying to goad the others (“are you going to sit there and let that Bedouin take this stupendous jewel away from you?”) as well as calling them all cheap misers. Finally she’s sold for three hundred Piastas (I think to the Bedouin after all, but who knows). “Take her if you want her,” shouts a poor loser, “I think she’s ugly!” Ooo, can you smell sour grapes? I can!
And the winner takes off with his prize, just as Antar shows up and stands next to a tent wall. On a tent roof, Mute waits until the winner passes by and removes the blanket covering Nancy. In the background, Fat Guy starts another auction (despite being told Nancy should be sold last).
Antar takes the blanket from Mute and wraps it around himself. Uh, as a disguise I guess. The two of them sneak through the crowd while the auction continues as background noise.
I’m kinda sorta thinking that maybe that slave WASN’T Nancy, though it sure looked a whole heck of a lot like her. It’s either that, or Antar and Company are idiots. Or both! Yes, that's a possibility too.
In the meantime, two “Nubians” are offered at this Middle Eastern eBay, and the bidding soon goes up past a thousand for the pair (which makes them more valuable than the first slave, sold for 300…was that Nancy? I’m all doubtful now). Then it goes up to two thousand, and it looks like the bidders might be heading toward a fight, when Ah-Cream settles the matter by splitting the pair up and letting each bidder take one. Gosh, this guy’s a regular Solomon of evil.
I suppose while this is going on, Antar and Mute are browsing other sections, like CDs or comic books or movie memorabilia. Ebay is a big place after all and there are a lot of tempting areas.
Anyway, the pair of Nubians gets divided up. And it’s DAMN IT time for the big event, the sale of Nancy.
SO all that crap typed up there is completely useless and futile and I hate this movie for all the redheads who look alike. This movie has dropped a letter grade and had better do well at midterms if it expects to live.
Anyway, some other chick tells Nancy before she goes on stage, “You will be sold now. And I can assure you that you will not help yourself if you rebel.” And without answering, Nancy goes to the curtain prior to going out on stage. And if this turns out to be another NON-Nancy, I will bust this disc in a million pieces. And this review will be over! Stupid movie. You see, you see? This stupid movie, stupid, stupid!
”I must run away,” says Nancy.
”But that’s impossible,” Random Chick says. “You will have an opportunity only if you allow yourself to be sold, then, maybe you’ll be able to run away. Not now!”
Outside, there’s a bit of a worry that one of the royals seems bored (I can feel his pain) but Ah-Cream assures the various flunkies that he is simply biding his time or something.
And Nancy strides out on stage, and in the distance, Antar perks up at seeing her. The royal guy they thought was bored now looks real interested. And Fat Guy says how can he possibly set a price, here, since Nancy is worth more than everything and plus an iPod. She sheds her cloak, and all the royals perk a lot, and Fat Guy asks them all to offer a price. He says it way fancy, like I typed all out earlier, but I’m not typing that sort of thing again.
Of course, the bidding starts at a lowly one hundred Piastas, but it goes up pretty quick. In fact, it goes up past sixteen thousand within a few moments! Aren’t you lucky, Nancy!
Ah-Cream tells some flunky, “Raise the price,” and flunky wonders if this isn’t risky.
The bidding keeps going, and finally Bored tops everyone with thirty thousand. Ah-Cream orders flunky to bid FIFTY thousand. Well, Bored is pretty peeved at this since he seems to know it’s a trick. But he bids fifty thousand and one. And he wins the auction. That is one smart eBayer! Great buyer, would sell to again, A++++!
Anyway, Nancy is brought to Bored’s caravan, as the intent is to leave immediately. Both Antar and Mute look pretty sad at this state of affairs. Pretty cool shot of camels rising from their prone positions to be ready to trek across the desert. And sure enough, Bored’s caravan leaves. And we fade to a quick black--
--then back to the desert, with the caravvan plodding along, and Antar and Mute watching from a distance. They decide to follow at a bit of a remove, to allay suspicion. Then they go to an oasis or something and tie up their horses. They spot a guard, but they sneak across a bridge right over this guard. Luckily union rules apparently prevented this guard from looking up at the bridge, or the movie would have been over just then. Stupid union rules.
And they cross the bridge and get to some shrubbery, where they see where Bored’s caravan has camped for the night. Inside, Bored is getting his face massaged by someone, maybe Nancy, though she’d better have a nametag before I start assuming.
Sure enough, it isn’t Nancy, as some other guy shows up and says that “the girl” has been “placed” in “her tent.” Yay go team Who Cares.
Well, Bored says that Nancy should be brought to his tent, instead. So she’s brought to Bored. And this happens. Yawn.
Bored tries to touch her, but she says, “Don’t. I’ll not be a slave to anyone.”
Bored asks why not, and she says, “Because I’m Seriah, daughter of King Sandor.”
”I don’t care who you are,” Bored says, “I bought you as a slave, and I’ll have you!” And he just grabs her in his arms, just like that! She protests, but he flings the both of them onto the bed.
Outside, Antar frees the caravan's horses somehow, by lifting the thing they’re tethered to, and he and Mute whip them til they run away. They cause a bit of a stampede and some fire on the tents, too. And some guards attack Antar but he beats them all up, with Mute’s help in a couple of cases.
In Bored’s tent, none of this news is penetrating, though he’s doing his best to try some other penetrating if you know what I mean. Finally, though, the noise and chaos attracts his attention and he goes out to watch his guards being defeated and his camp burning down. Antar signals to Mute, who cuts through the fabric of Bored’s tent and signals to Nancy.
Nancy grins and jumps through the opening. She and Mute run away to safety while Antar continues to fight the guards and other assorted folks. Then, having defeated everyone worth defeating, he joins Mute and Nancy as they cross the bridge again. Good thing someone put that bridge up, eh? Major bad on someone though if it was one of Bored’s folks. I imagine he will be due for a severe talking-to, especially since no one posted a guard. Not that it would have done any good, but you know.
And someone follows them on the bridge, but Antar grabs the rope support and yanks it til it breaks, and the bridge collapses and the miscreant falls to his death, or to his severe bruising and demands for workman’s comp, whichever comes first.
And having crossed the bridge, they all run some more to their horses And they mount their horses, and ride off to safety. And the music is pretty much telling us “It’s all over,” even though it can’t be yet.
And we fade to black, like it really might be all over. Except for one thing. Forty-four minutes. Not a running time for a movie.
And we fade in on some guy driving a cart into a city. He’s told to stop so his cart can be checked for escaped slaves (I am assuming, which is a bad idea with this film). Well, the cart driver doesn’t have slaves, but he has a whole slew of swords. “He’s carrying arms!” says the searcher, and the cart driver leaps onto his horse and rides through the gate before it can be closed to capture him.
Some archers fire at him, and he gets an arrow or two in the back. The gates are opened again, and some riders go out to apprehend the miscreant. He seems to out-ride them for a long time, and he goes into a narrow passage between some giant rocks. He then hides in a crack in the rocks, the arrow apparently not bothering him even a little at this point. The riders follow, but they don’t see how he has cleverly gotten into a slight bit of cover. They ride past him, and he goes back out.
But we pan down to a horse skeleton, in the sand, and get a big musical sting. Oh no, a scary skeleton! Lock the doors, call the gendarme! Well, he rides past the skeleton paying it no heed at all.
You’ll note I haven’t named this guy. I suspect it might be Antar, but he’s all hooded up so it’s hard to be sure; I dislike being vague. Speaking of unknown guys, where’s the Devil of the Desert? He’s apparently disappeared since taking over a kingdom and losing the King’s daughter in a river. He might be Morass (the slave catcher), or maybe the King who bought Nancy, but the Devil was dressed all in black and those chaps were wearing red. It’s unfair if they change their hats!
Anyway, I suspect we’ll get to him in due time. Speaking of time, after riding past the skeleton (reminder of time), Mr. Arrow in the Back rides over some mountains, and onto a plain, finally stopping at on oasis, where he collapses off his horse and crawls to the water. He drinks some water, and Antar comes to him and picks him up. “Who are you? What happened? Speak up, who are you?” And Mute and Nancy come running out of the trees to see this happening.
Nancy recognizes this guy right off as “Hessian” and he recognizes her as well. She says they’ll take care of him, and he says, “No. There’s no time for me. In the mountains of Berin, you’ll find Selin, and our tribes. Tell him I couldn’t get his message through to Diker.”
”Then Diker’s alive!” Nancy exclaims happily. Well, I’m glad she’s happy, I have no idea who any of those people are.
Hessian confirms that Diker is alive, and that Ganar (the Devil?) is holding him as a hostage so the people won’t be revolting. He then explains that he’s been smuggling arms to those loyal to the old regime. And, having delivered his exposition, he dies. Damn, though, that’s one tough hombre.
She’s sad that he’s dead, and so is the soundtrack. Antar, who is barely in his own movie, says “We’ll take his message through to Diker.”
And we cut to some knives being flung into a wooden headboard. From the various marks on this board, this doesn’t seem a rare occurrence. And we pull back and see it’s Ah-Cream doing the flinging. Gamal (not Ganar, please note), previously known as Bored, and now dressed in darker colors, comes in and demands his fifty thousand shiny pennies back from Ah-Cream, since the slave happened to be someone who shouldn’t have been a slave in the first place, being Nancy, daughter of King.
Ah-Cream looks interested at this bit of news, but asks how Gamal could know this.
”You’ll take my word for it!” Gamal says, also saying that all his money will be returned as well.
But Ah-Cream has an evil glint in his face, and this time it’s not damage to the film print (it’s okay in this scene). He wants to know where Nancy is.
Gamal admits she escaped on him, and Ah-Cream finds this amusing, especially since it was only one person who rescued her. He wonders how swell Gamal’s soldiers are if “one man” can defeat them.
”It was Antar,” Gamal says, and that stops Ah-Cream’s amusement cold.
”What are you talking about?” he says with rather a bit of (unresolved) anger.
”I saw him with my own eyes, set fire to the tents and destroy our whole camp!” Gamal counters. “He killed Rashid and took away [Nancy]!”
Ah-Cream looks concerned. Then he brightens. “And you expect me to swallow such a ridiculous story and give you my good money?”
”You doubt my word?”
”And why not?”
”No one has ever dared to insult my name,” Gamal says, “and much less the likes of a dirty, filthy, conniving seller of slaves!” He grabs Ah-Cream by the collar. “And now you’ll order that my money be brought here immediately, you miserable stinking blackguard, or else I’ll squeeze the very life out of you!” And he shakes Ah-Cream up a bit.
But Ah-Cream says nix on that refund jazz. Gamal raises his dagger to strike, but he’s felled by a dagger to the back. So, this whole scene was just there to paint the world of the film in richer colors. Or bore us to tears, reader’s choice. This movie stinx.
Sure hope there won’t be any repercussions from, you know, killing a king and stuff. Ah-Cream instructs his guys to break camp and prepare to high-tail it, just in case I suppose.
Cut to Antar, finishing up Hessian’s tomb, I guess. He and Nancy have this conversation about strategy, and how they really don’t have any. He’s going to go to Diker, but it’ll be dangerous, blah blah blah. They confess their love for each other (for some reason), and the music swells and we cut to some meat being cooked over a flame while the music comedies out for us. Yeah, it’s Mute, heating his meat. Antar and Nancy appear, and Antar calls to Mute referring to him as “Mosquito.” Oh great, another damned name to keep track of. Antar tells Mute he has “an important mission” to take Nancy to the mountain tribes where she’ll be safe.
As for Antar, he’s going to walk right into the city and foment revolt, that’s his plan. She advises him to be careful, and he rides off, leaving some vague details about meeting up at the river bend (or the River Ben) or, if he can’t make it, sending a substitute who’ll know everyone. And he gets on his high horse and rides off to his destiny. And gee, it’s only been over fifty minutes. Yawn, I say, yawn!
And he rides off across the scrubby plane, being careful to wave to those he departed from in case any spies wanted to know something.
And he comes to a miniature of the city of the Devil of the Desert, and he dismounts. He crouches down alongside the horse, until a jumpcut tells us the actor isn’t there any more. The horse then gallops toward the city gates. “There’s a riderless horse coming!” shouts an alert guard, and a small crowd of other guards at the gate watches this creature approach. “That’s my horse!” says one of them. “Open the gates!”
And Antar flings himself from the horse’s side, just as the horse comes to the front gate. And yeah, it would be really unfair for me to point out that there was no sign whatsoever of Antar in the previous shots. But then, I’m unfair, so I’ll point it out. The horse was alone the whole time, it was all camera trickery. Trickery! And tricks are for kids. Everyone knows that.
So, the guards raise the gate, and Antar grabs a hold just as they do. So he is raised up a bit along with the gate, and the guards all rush to the horse, except one slowpoke. So Antar kicks him, drops to the ground and dashes inside. He hides in a convenient hidey-hole. He grabs a torch, and as the guards cluster around the kicked one, Antar tosses the torch into a wagon full of hay. Naturally, this soon becomes a raging inferno and there’s lots of chaos for Antar to hide in.
He trips another guard, who manages to spill a big bowl of fire. No one seems to think this sudden epidemic of clumsiness in guards is anything remarkable, so they continue to fight fires as Antar goes further into the castle. Since the guards’ methods of fire-fighting seem to consist of sweeping at it, not a lot of (positive) progress is made.
Antar goes further into the castle and hides from another pair of guards. Ooo, that was almost exciting. No cigar, though. He finds a room with a door that opens, and seems to think, Well, I’ll go in here, and he does. He prowls about a bit. Then he hears a noise and ducks behind a curtain as some assorted folk enter.
”That’s not true,” someone says, “fires don’t start by themselves, I tell you!” Yeah, and movies don’t end on their own either. Don’t remind me. In fact, don’t bring reminders, let them all rock and roll.
Well, Antar manages to spill a bowl of fire (the things these people keep in their castles), and this alarms the assembled nobodies, who eventually put it down to the maids. If you could hear how prissily this one in-charge guy says this, you’d have no doubt he blames ladies for everything.
Elsewhere, some ladies are bathing in a pool that has lotus flowers in it. Great, great, shall we keep moving? I thought not. Antar spins between curtained columns, and no one seems to see him (except maybe, maybe the slave who advised Nancy, earlier, not to make a fuss).
Prissy enters and asks which of the slaves tried to escape, hmmmm? He seems to feel they’re treated too well and asks them to “move along” while Antar jumps up on a platform nearby. And Prissy tries to scoot more slaves toward Devil. One Slave Gal apparently knows that Antar is there, but she doesn’t give him away and the two grin at each other. It’s like a really quick “I love you” between them, but we know now that she’s doomed since he can only be with Nancy. Too bad, she’s cute and intelligent.
“Move along now,” Prissy says. “Aren’t you eager to know which of you finds his favor?” What, his party favor? Did he lose his whistle shaped like a duck, or his hat that emits sparks? Maybe his bib that says “Hulk STRAINS Peas!” Or maybe it’s just one of those flapping tentacle things that goes “BLAAAP!”
Anyway, the gals all show up and dance to some generic music, and we see a quick cut of Devil, giggling with some slave girl! Wow, he’s been pretty absent from our feature, hasn’t he?
And some guard walks through the display of feminine pulchritude, and goes up to Devil and says, “Ah-Cream wants to see you.” Well, Devil sits up and notes this, and also stands up and follows this guard. Devil is pretty mad that Ah-Cream came here, since this was indiscrete and all. Guard says Ah-Cream is hidden where no one will see him. “And no one will!” Devil affirms. Uh oh (for Ah-Cream). I scream (for ice cream).
Elsewhere, Antar is still on that little platform he found at the top of a column. Perhaps he has forgotten what the word “down” means, since all the slave ladies (and Prissy) left this room to go be slaves before Devil.
Actually, he goes through a sort of curtain, which I guess takes him into the ventilation shafts or something. At any rate, Devil meets Ah-Cream. Devil’s pretty peeved that Ah-Cream is here, since he shouldn’t be, but Ah-Cream says he was “forced” to come here.
There’s rather a lot of yakking before Ah-Cream gets to the point that he kinda sorta didn’t mean to but did…sell Nancy into slavery. From which she escaped.
Well, Devil is pretty put out by this news. And the film has the sound of a thousand angry bees on it, but I don’t think this is intentional. Mention of Antar is made, and Devil wonders where they (the good guys) are all going. Ah-Cream says all the “signs” point to the troupe escaping into…Devil’s city! Devil thinks this might be the miscalculation he’s been waiting for.
He then asks Ah-Cream, “Who else knows that [Nancy] is not dead?” and Ah-Cream makes the classic mistake of saying, “Why, no one, of course!” or words to that effect.
”Such loyalty deserves to be repaid,” Devil says, and motions Ah-Cream to follow him.
And we cut to Antar moving through the air ducts, or wherever he is, and he sees some set that looks like a laboratory set up by a spider, in that there’s a lot of what looks like equipment, but also a spider-web over the whole are. Well, as much as Antar can show any emotion, he looks shocked at this. As would anyone who knows the depths to which spiders and science can descend.
Back with Ah-Cream and Devil, Devil opens a door and bids Ah-Cream enter. “I’m always your loyal subject, and servant,” Ah-Cream says, and we can see the chamber of mirrors behind him. He walks in, the door is closed, and he is totally shocked to find himself with all these mirror images. In fact, he rather panics about it, while Antar watches from above.
This whole mirror thing really seems to distress Ah-Cream a lot, and even outside, Devil looks regretful and fingers a dagger. We see some more footage of Ah-Cream going a tad nutzoid (while Antar watches), and then Devil enters the mirrored chamber and laughs. Ah-Cream asks for pity, but gets none. Instead, he gets a dagger in the back. Well, turnabout is fair play and all.
”And now your secrets are also dead, Ah-Cream,” Devil says, and tosses the dagger down next to the cadaver. Um, so, he had that whole mirror room made up, and all he does is knife the guy? Sheesh, talk about having too much time on your hands. A few centuries from now, this guy would be a Bond villain. A bad one, though.
Anyway, up above, Antar finds a rope, and swings down til he is someplace else. He runs to a corridor and kills a couple of guards. Then he hides the bodies. And he moves stealthily along some walls.
And we cut to the dancing girls again, and Devil returns, but he’s no longer interested in feminine flesh.
”He’s come back,” he tells some guard. I guess he means Antar.
”Then he’s sure to seek revenge,” says guard, being all practical and seeing to the heart of the matter.
”We must capture him at all costs,” Devil says, being NON practical, as “all costs” can get pretty high, no doubt to the tune of several dead guards and ultimately, him too.
”If the people find out he’s here,” says Guard, “I’m afraid there’ll be no stopping him in forming a revolt.”
”And yet, they’ll have to accept my rule,” Devil says, raising the interesting possibility that…oh, the cat’s eaten it. “If I force Diker to proclaim me as King,” he says in a separate sentence which should be right next to his previous utterance. “Come,” he tells the guard and they exit screen left.
And we cut to Antar running down some steps rather stealthily. He finds a cage, opens the door and goes inside, and there’s Diker! He’s all chained up, but Antar shows him the amulet that Nancy had and they agree that escaping is a pretty good plan to have. But then there’s a slight noise, and Antar hides in a corner.
And it’s Devil and his guard, come to make Diker swear him in as King over everything and the rest of it too. “I’m sure you’ll be interested in knowing what my plans are, Diker,” he says, sounding a lot like a Bond villain. A bad one, though. “I will soon attack the mountain tribes and destroy them. I will spare their women, though. They will be sold in the market as slaves.”
Well, Diker takes exception to these plans, and says Devil will be punished for being bad (probably by Mom). Devil laughs this off, saying it’s too bad Diker’s about to be killed, “Unless…unless you’re still interested in saving your people. And yourself.”
Devil says that this will happen if Diker makes Devil the king of everything and then some. Catching a hidden signal from Antar, Diker says, “You’ll have your answer…by tomorrow. But I need more time to now consider it.”
”Naturally, you have every right,” Devil says smoothly, being again a bad Bond villain. “Consider it well, Diker, and make your decision a wise one.” He pauses and looks mean. “You have time until dawn tomorrow.” Then he and his guards leave.
Well, that seemed pretty fair all around, since Devil could have just had Diker tortured until he agreed to make Devil the King of All. How did he get the name “Devil of the Desert” anyway? You’d think someone of such an appellation would be cruel and wicked and torture people and such-like. Which perhaps this guy does, but he sure does it offscreen.
Anyway, Antar frees Diker while telling him that Nancy is safe with the mountain tribes. Diker tells him there’s only one way to escape the city: there’s a pool in the Harem Room that leads directly to the river. No, really, that’s what he said. Considering this is taking place a few centuries from the invention of the aqualung, I hope Antar has super breath-holding powers.
Of course, it may not be necessary, since I doubt the escape will be that easy. On the other hand, Antar unlocks the cell door by reaching through the bars and moving the deadbolt from the other side, so perhaps “security” isn’t a huge concern here in the kingdom. But on the first hand, this is the kingdom of the original kindly king-guy, so maybe all his people were happy and they only used the dungeons for the annual Halloween Spook-tacular. Anything is possible. (Except that we’ll ever see that cool tree monster from the credits of the other Son of Hercules film.)
Where were we? Oh, yeah, Antar and Diker escaping. In a nice bit of continuity, Diker clutches the place in his chest where he was wounded near the beginning of the film (when he was Sultan Son). It doesn’t seem to impede him at all, but, heck, they’re trying, right? Antar checks a closet where he hid the guards he beat up eariler, but they’re gone, so they need to hurry along before the general alert is sounded. So they run right into a bunch of guards, and there’s a sword fight, and Antar kills them all. So he and Diker run some more, and find some more guards and kill them, and Antar even does that thing where he drops an iron chandelier of candles on the guards. Then he locks the non-killed guards in some corridor by dropping the gate.
And running on some more, they find that a similar gate has blocked their avenue of escape, but Antar grabs the bars and yanks the gate right out of the wall—and he then throws it on a couple of guards who’ve shown up. And they run some more.
We cut quickly to the palace, and a guard yells that Diker’s escaped, then we cut back down to the fighting in the dungeons. Antar throws a table at some guards and they trip over it, but there are more guards behind them, so he and Diker run on, and they go through a doorway into some larger, well-lit room with guards coming through the other end of it.
”It’s hot here [sic], let’s go up!” Diker says, sounding oddly Germanic, and he ducks back through the doorway. Antar follows.
”Antar’s with them, after them,” shouts a guard, and they go to the chase.
Somehow, Antar and Diker are now on some balcony or something overlooking the Harem Room. (You can hear girls giggling and stuff, that’s how I know where they are.) Antar tells Diker the details about Mute waiting for everyone at the bend in the river, and so on.
”We’ll have to swim underwater,” Diker says, about the escape route, while I wonder what other kind of swimming there is? “Remember that the passage is in the center of the pool.” He grabs a rope and swings and drops into the pool (all the girls squeal). And he swims down to the bottom of the pool, goes through some kind of opening, and then comes into a larger tunnel where there’s actually air he can breathe. So no need for aqualungs, sorry if you brought yours but I did warn you about being anachronistic.
Well, Devil wonders what’s up with this squealing and he rushes into the Harem Room fit to be tied. He points upward. “Antar! Up there! Surround him, he’s all alone!” I guess that makes surrounding someone easier, eh? One quick-thinking guard cuts a rope which puts a cover over the Harem Room pool, thus cutting off the escape! I hope he gets a nice bonus check.
Antar jumps anyway, and lands in the pool. And a couple of guards very graciously help him out of that pool. These same two guards are able to hold him still pretty well, considering his super-strength. The Chief of Guards moves to either stab or strike Antar, but Devil says, “Not yet, Rob Beck.”
Well, Mr. Beck is pretty non-plussed at this order. “Why not?”
”I want you to take good care of him,” Devil says.
”Why should we spare him?” Mr. Beck asks angrily. (I think Mr. Beck is Rider Leader from earlier.)
”Do as I say!” Devil says, and I bet this is the way that all arguments end in his kingdom. Either that, or a knife in the back in a room full of mirrors.
Anyway, Antar is duly hauled off. “We’ll execute him in front of the people,” Devil says, “and end the myth of Antar, for all time.” And some stark drums on the soundtrack show us that this is pretty serious stuff, here.
Devil tells Mr. Beck to notify “all the provinces” immediately. Damn, more Bond villain stuff. “Why deny the populace, his [“raw” or “royal”] death.” And Mr. Beck giggles at this bit.
Once again, they exit screen left. And we cut to Diker, surfacing at the river bank. Mute is there, all right, ready to assist. “Are you the Mute boy that was sent here by Antar? Then you must take me immediately to [Nancy]!” Wow, he sure has the royalty thing down, doesn’t he? Mute dashes off to comply. We get rather a lot of footage of Mute untying the horses, then he and Diker mounting those horses, and then riding off.
And we cut to the dungeons again, where Mr. Beck comes to visit Antar in his cell. In response to Antar’s query, Mr. Beck says that Devil “has ordered that you receive a worthy death sentence, Antar of Patheia. It’s more than a mountain lad like you deserves. Now get up!”
Antar does, and asks, “How do you know my name?”
”Unfortunately, your arrival was pre-announced,” Mr. Beck says rather inexplicably. “Let’s go now, come.” And Antar goes off again, with those stark snare drums.
But we cut to Diker and Mute riding along, and they see someone signaling to them, and they go to meet these someones, who turn out to be Nancy and the mountain tribes. And everyone’s pretty happy in this reunion. Nancy’s told that Antar engineered the whole escape thing, and when she asks where Antar is, Diker says he doesn’t know. And this kind of casts a bummer on the party.
An even bigger bummer comes when some very distant guy rides up to the camp and shouts at the top of his lungs, “Gamer [he’s the Devil]’s men captured our women! They’ll be sold as slaves!” I realize this is a pretty serious situation, but it’s pretty funny the way it’s delivered in distant shouting like this. Film-makers, take note.
Well, Diker looks pretty damned put out by this news. He orders everyone to arms, they’re going to attack!
I thought Devil’s plan was to kill all the tribesmen, then enslave the women. Doing things out of order like this was bound to stir up trouble, and look, it has! Everyone jumps onto a horse and rides off.
But first, Diker and Nancy have a bro-and-sis chat. She confesses her love for Antar, and he says Antar’ll be okay, but she’s to remain here until they’ve “taken the city.” She may have grey hair by then, but whatever. He’s officially King now, so his word goes, and she stays.
And the mountain tribes ride off in pretty big numbers. And the music is pretty triumphal and so on, so perhaps there’s a chance after all.
And back in the city, we see Antar being…well, not dragged between two horses, but perhaps hurried along by them. And he’s brought to an arena, where some giant beast awaits to, you know, kick his ass and take names. Wouldn’t it be cool if it was the bear from the other film, and the bear says, “Hey, your brother and me wrassled, but we became friends, so I’ll team up with you!” Well, it might not be cool but it would sure be unexpected.
Well, it’s a rhinoceros anyway, so never mind. Antar backs away from this beast, but there’s a bunch of spears that tell him he can’t back too far. The rhino advances on Antar, and then strikes at him, and they wrassle some. And even Devil and Mr. Beck seem to think this is pretty ill. But of course it goes on, anyway, for rather a while.
Then, another guard rides up and yells, “The rebels are attacking the city!”
Well, this sets off a right panic as you can well imagine. Devil, thinking he’d rather not have two fronts on this war, barks out, “Have him killed, call the archers!”
But someone—I think it’s Mr. Beck—falls into the rhino pen, and others help Antar out. (Are the rebels there already, or is this the normally nice populace?) Mr. Beck gets smushed by the rhino.
Antar runs through the marketplace, upsetting carts (usually onto guards) and otherwise beating up guards like they’re fairly, um, not well trained. Of course, there is the possibility that these are the old kindly King’s guards, so they’re not putting too much effort into being evil. Hey, maybe.
And more fighting happens, and there are some guards on horseback who ride through the marketplace, and we see that both Devil and Mr. Beck are still around. So who was crushed by the rhino? Sorry, no clues here. But he was probably a bad guy, so don’t get all worried or anything.
And over the hill appear the mountain tribe horsemen! I thought they were already here, but never mind, maybe there are more of them. We hear Diker yell “Forward!” which is always a pretty good order to yell.
Back in the city, Devil tells Mr. Beck, “We’ve got to stop him, Rob Beck, before he can organize a revolt!” Uh, I think there’s already a revolt in progress, Devil. Haven’t you noticed the chaos everywhere? Well, at any rate, Rob Beck jumps onto a horse and goes to his revolt-quelling duties. Meanwhile, Antar is running along some rooftops. I guess that’s a good place for dancing or something.
But then there are guards who menace him, and he does some great backflips and stuff like there are hidden trampolines, but of course that couldn’t be the case, right? And he bounces here and there, until he comes to an area relatively free from guards. And he pushes a cart over on the ones who are there. I guess he has a problem with street vendors.
So he beats up some guards, and runs around, and some regular Joe of a citizen runs up onto a platform and upends a flaming brazier unto some guards. Well, the flames roar up like the guards wear uniforms of solidified gasoline, which for all I know, they do.
And Antar beats up some more guards. (Boy, I type that sentence a lot, don’t I?) And Mr. Beck rides in to survey the pretty poor score the home team has rung up (zero).
And we see even more mountain tribe guys on horses come over the horizon! Actually, it looks pretty similar to the previous footage but we can be generous and say it’s an alternate take. Of course, we see Diker shout “Forward!” again, so our suspicions remain. Archers on the city walls fire some arrows, but they completely stink at marksmanship and miss everyone.
Suddenly, Mute rides up and tries to get Diker’s attention, and Diker tells him he should be well away from all this fighting. But Mute will not be told no. He seems to have some plan in mind.
The archers continue to fire, hitting no one, and Mute runs to the castle walls. Some guy throws a spear which sticks in the wall, and Mute climbs up on this spear, until another guy throws one higher, and Mute climbs up on that as well.
And it turns out Nancy has ridden in as well. Mute continues to climb the spear-steps, but one spear breaks…about halfway up, so it’s still usable as a climbing aid, but Mute swings precariously like the director told him to stretch this out. But he rights himself, and continues climbing. And others begin to follow, and make short work of the archers.
I think I know what happened. Devil spent all his shiny pennies on slave chicks, and bought his guards at some big discount place, like Big Lots.
So, there’s lots of fighting. You certainly can’t say this movie scrimps on the action scenes, there are definitely a lot of folks here and they’re all fighting.
Outside the main gate, Diker says it’s all locked so they have to find another way to get inside the city. On the other side, of course, Mute unbars the main gate and opens it. Damn—Mute is pretty much just as useful as Antar, if not more so.
Seeing the open gates, Diker yells, “It’s the boy—attack!” which would really give you the wrong impression if you just started watching now. So all the good guys from the mountain tribes ride in, and Mute finds his horse and jumps on and rides too. Everyone who’s anyone notices that Antar is fighting guards, and Diker brings an empty horse for Antar to ride on. Antar notes they have to find Devil before he escapes. Don’t forget Mr. Beck, too!
Luckily, no one has. Some nobody we’ve never seen before (but he’s on the side of Good) fights with Mr. Beck and deals him a fatal blow, but the good guy is killed as well. Somehow, Mr. Beck’s dying causes some ropes to catch on fire. Well, I suppose that falls under the definition of “contingency plan.”
Of course, I spoke too soon, gosh darn me. It turns out the ropes held up a gate with spiked bits at the end, and when the ropes gave way, the gate came down and, well, rather pinned Mr. Beck. So long, Mr. Beck, you rotter.
And more fighting continues. We see some guy we’ve (I suppose) seen before, get run through with spears. Devil loses his hat, but keeps fighting and cuts down several good guys.
Antar spots him, though. “Ganat, your reign of terror has ended!” Devil looks like, Oh, I think not! And he runs away. Antar rides after him. And Diker dismounts from his horse, so he can run after him too, I guess.
Stealing a tactic from Antar’s handbook, Devil overturns a burning brazier, and the fire confuses Antar’s horse. Antar dismounts while Devil goes all craven and tries to hide and stuff. Antar does some gymnastics, then runs after Devil.
Outside, Nancy asks where Antar is, and Diker tells her that he’s fighting Devil. So they all run in after. To the exciting conclusion (here’s hoping). Oh and Mute runs in too.
And Antar and Devil are fighting in the Harem Room! Devil tosses some fabric at Antar, which confuses him and allows Devil to escape. But Antar sees where Antar escapes to. So he runs after, and it is into the mirror room! Antar grabs a torch and goes into the mirror room, where he sees a reflection of Devil saying, “Come, Antar, come into the chamber of death!” He then laughs and notes that it will be hard to tell who the real Devil is, and finishes up by asking where Antar’s courage is now, and then laughing some more.
Of course, smashing the mirrors would work great, wouldn’t it? I should think so. But Devil just laughs and laughs and laughs without pause, rather like a Santa Claus robot in a Mexican nightmare. He occasionally strikes out with his dagger, but laughing seems to be his main accomplishment.
Then, almost by accident, Antar breaks a mirror or two. “You stole from [Auda] the secret of reflection!” he says. “But you also inherited its penetration, Gomer!” Whatever the Hell that’s supposed to mean. Also, note another new name for Devil. And Antar smashes some more mirrors, which makes Devil stop laughing pretty quick and assume an expression of intense worry.
”Let me see you now!” yells Antar, and Devil weakly says, “No, no, Antar!”
”Have pity!” he adds, but Antar says “You’ll pay for all your bloodshed!” and he smashes some more mirrors. Man, this room will be pretty useless in a few more smashings. Except as, you know, a room.
Devil starts to talk about giving all his wealth to Antar if he’ll just be a sport, here, but of course Antar is having none of that, being an upstanding sort of type. ALL the G.I. Joes! “All your gold is covered in blood!” he yells. Then he smashes some more mirrors, and then the exit door is pretty much right there.
Devil exits the mirror room, while Antar talks about making Devil pay for all his badness, and then choking Devil until he’s all blue and worthless, and how his mirror room won’t help him now.
Devil, pretty much in total failure mode, manages to back away from Antar--and he backs through a window, where he falls to his death. And everyone who’s anyone runs into the mirror room to congratulate Antar on being great. And the guitars and voices of the theme song kick in, just then, as Antar and Nancy embrace and Diker and Mute look pretty happy at how it all turned out.
”Sons of Hercules!” sing the voices, as Diker tousles Mute’s head and leads him out of the mirror room, so Antar and Nancy can embrace in private.
They are there, when the needs arise
There to show that mighty mights still survive
On land or on the sea
As long as there is need--
There’ll be sons of Hercules!
And as we see Antar and Nancy smooching in the room of mirrors
(wow, kinkiness in history) it’s the end.
I thought the first Sons of Hercules film had its irrelevant moments, like the non-fight with the bear and the non-appearance of the Warriors of Iron. But this film takes the cake. It takes the cake but doesn’t eat it, it just lets it get stale out on the table. For the longest time, Antar is irrelevant to his own movie. And that whole slave-trade thing? Lots of time and effort spent on something which makes no difference at all in the end. Talk about not wearing your lucky underpants. Even the Devil of the Desert, our title menace, is gone from the entire middle of the film. Who dealt this mess?
The shame is, this one’s not badly put together. It keeps moving at a pretty good clip, and the action scenes are well-staged. Unimpressive as his output usually is, Anthony Dawson manages to make this interesting to watch, at least from a visual standpoint.
If only the story and characters didn’t wander around so much (in the narrative, not the landscape). This one really feels like an hour television program with a second show (the slave auction) stuffed right into the middle.
There’s no reason to watch this unless you’re a Hercules completist (that sounds like a pretty sad hobby), but if you’re stuck in some place and this is the only thing on, at least it’s not boring. And the Comedy Relief (Mute) never tries to be funny, but instead is pretty brave and helps Antar out a lot during the course of the adventure.
Painless and could be worse I guess sums this up.
They’ll be there
With giant thighs
As long as they eat
All those apple pies
--The Sons of Hercules!