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Hawk The Slayer Review

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After his father is slain at the hands of his twisted brother Voltan, the heroic Hawk sets out for revenge, especially as he is also responsible for the death of Hawk’s fiancée. Teamed up with an elf, a dwarf and a giant, Hawk endeavours to stop Voltan’s

★★★★

In these post-Lord Of The Rings days, it is easy to be dismissive of the rudimentary attempts to cipher Tolkien’s gothic stylings onto the cinema screen that became a post-Star Wars preoccupation in the early ‘80s. Silly medieval odes to the fantastical on a budget that would have trouble hiring a tea party magician like The Beastmaster, The Sword And The Sorcerer and Krull.

Out of this era, propped up by pre-pubescent boys obsessed with D&D, Hawk The Slayer stands as almost emblematic. It takes a heavily rose-tinted place in many hearts, even though it is entirely dreadful: wooden of script, shoddy of special effect and flamboyantly hammy of acting. Jack Palance as leery menace Voltan, unfathomably grabs a breath between every utterance — asthma inhalers were obviously in short supply in this muddled world of ancient magic, mystical creatures and vulnerable nuns.

Terry Marcel, who’d worked as a second unit director on extraneous Pink Panther movies, in the strained hopes of covering up the threadbare sets and silly-string effects, takes to using a lot of slow motion or sped-up film. Any time pudgy elf Crow (a pointy eared Ray Charleson, just like Orlando Bloom except for the grace, dexterity, dreamy good looks, even the acting skill) looses an arrow, the film blurs into high speed, like the chase scenes from Benny Hill.

Our intrepid cross-cultural team is made up of Hawk (John Terry, who can now be found in Lost), Peter O’Farrell’s tall dwarf, Bernard Bresslaw’s short giant and Crow the hyperactive elf. They are off to confront wheezy Voltan, and deal with the nun-napping, with the help of a nearby witch (Patricia Quinn) who provides magic mist and teleportation (whatever the effects boys can run to) in a world too damp and autumnal to inspire. There is a mulchy, depressing atmosphere that seeps into every frame.

But its woeful direction, appalling acting and really daft synth score all pale into insignificance compared to its dunderheaded self-importance. Not a joke is uttered across this contemptible universe, that’s if you ignore the fact the whole thing is a joke.

Oh dear...oh dear, oh dear...