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Scariest Villain Ever... Proximates!!! What the f......... heck is it with all these negative reviews? It's a good movie. It sounds like these other reviewers didn't even watch the whole film and are just trashing it as Roger Corman based on internet rumors.
Don't worry, Roger Corman had little or nothing to do with this film, otherwise it wouldn't be good. Don't worry. It's NOT Corman.
Villains that truly frighten me to think such evil could exist in the human soul or on screen, have always been Chris Sarandon as a rapist in 'Lipstick', Jane Badler as Diana in 'V' and Louise Fletcher or Michael Ironside in ANYTHING.
Now make way for Frank Wolff (no, not my congressman) as Proximates! (Prox-ah-me-tays) Proximates doesn't start out as a villain, just a Roman style slime ball. This is why 'Atlas' has rather a slow start the first 30 minutes. Proximates hasn't shown his true evil.
The army of Proximates is involved in long siege of a plateau inhabited by a people whose leader Telekos wears a yamaka. This is obviously based on the historic Roman siege of the Jews at Masada.
Noble and just Telekos hopes to end the long siege, and agrees to surrender the city if any champion can defeat his son Prince Indros in a duel to the death.
Proximates has ten days to find such a champion. He uses this as an excuse to take some RR and attempt to get back into the toga of his former girlfriend Candia (Barboura Morris) at the Olympic Games, (or the Coliseum, or whatever).
There they meet a wrestler Atlas. (See he's strong. Get it?) Proximates and Candia set out to con Atlas into fighting as their champion but get a rude surprise. Atlas isn't just strong he's an educated stand up philosopher at the forum.
Yes, I too was reminded of Mel Brooks as stand up philosopher is 'History of the World: Part 1.' "Oh, a bullsxxx artist." Being intelligent, Atlas disapproves of wars of conquest, and killing in general. He accepts Proximates offer only to prove that he can win the duel and the city without taking any human life.
Sure enough Atlas defeats Prince Indros, sparing his life.
With the city now at Proximates disposal, Atlas sees first hand his true evil and the necessity for war. A war to free the city from Proximates evil grip.
As I said, it has a rather slow first 30 minutes, which why the other reviewers here just gave up on the whole film. But it really is a powerful story with powerful characters which makes up for the total lack of large scale battle scenes in the movie genre of large scale battle movies.
Frank Wolff as Proximates is something you have to see to believe. It's a great film! The best evidence for Roger Corman's lack of involvement is changing sets and locations. Throughout his whole "career" Corman's "film making" was infamous for not changing sets and merely repositioning the cameras around the same location claiming to was someplace else.
Remember, 'Teenage Caveman' where every village was always just the same rock filmed from different angles? Or 'The Undead' where a 12x12 set comprised an entire medieval kingdom? Or the wild western 'Gunslinger' where every town was just the same western set (complete with phone lines) filmed from different angles? I digress. None of this silliness is in 'Atlas' so don't be frightened by these false internet rumors. 'Atlas' is happily Roger Corman free.
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