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It's 1790 and British Naval Commander Redway is driven by greed for money and will stop at nothing to get it. His second in command, David Robinson, questions his allegiance when Redway kills his father and takes his brother prisoner. In order to save his brother and avenge his father's death David must join forces with a band of pirates, led by Captain Bernard, hunt down and kill Redway. Along the way we are treated to sea battles, blood-thirsty cannibals, and wall-to-wall action. Written by
Action-packed Italian costume adventure yarn which is a bit of a crowd-pleaser thanks to the fun characters, the ever-twisting plot which doesn't let up for a second, and the inclusion of lots and lots of battles, action, torture and bizarre plot devices like a savage tribe of bloodthirsty natives and a horde of man-eating killer plants! AVENGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS is a thoroughly entertaining old-fashioned affair of the kind they certainly don't make any more and I found it highly exciting entertainment.
The film begins on some tiny godforsaken island as slave workers fish for pearls and periodically are eaten by killer sharks. Into the scene comes the grandly villainous Captain Redway, who is played to the hilt by Roldano Lupi as a big, bear-like brutish man with no compassion for fellow members of the human race who is out for himself and himself only (later on in the film he kills his own girlfriend to be rid of her!). Redway is assisted by the heroic David Robinson, who can't bear to see his relatives beaten and whipped by Redway so rebels and is half-drowned in chains for his troubles.
To further muddy the waters, in comes a ship of good-natured pirates who drive the Navy ship away and rescue the slaves. Robinson and the pirate Captain join forces, but the Captain's daughter is captured by Redway. A fight between the two ships ensues with (wow! they had a budget!) lots of blazing cannons, massive destruction and men frantically fighting out to the death on deck. Unfortunately Redway escapes through the marshes and captures and kills the rest of the slave workers. Forced to give himself up after his brother's death is threatened, Robinson finds himself thrown into a torture cell where his body is swung through the air against sharp knives sticking out of the walls!
Meanwhile, the pirates are betrayed and their base massacred with only a few survivors taken. A small party manage to take the pearls into the swamps where they are butchered by a third party of savage natives. Redway agrees to exchange slaves in return for the lost pearls, and the prisoners are given over for sacrifice to flesh-eating carnivorous plants. Luckily Robinson manages to escape from his prison and arrives at the swamp to valiantly battle the killer plants, hacking them to pieces before returning for an all-out assault on the Navy fortress. Redway himself is finally captured and impaled under the spikes of a falling portcullis!
Peplum star Richard Harrison takes the heroic lead in the movie. A former magazine model in the '50s, Harrison's dependable strongman performance is one of the film's highlights as he makes for a powerful, charismatic lead. Roldano Lupi is excellent as the dastardly villain and Michele Mercier and Marisa Belli supply ample charm as the women caught up in the events. The film is pretty violent for the time with many scenes of bloody death, whilst the action is well-choreographed and always exciting. The cheesy scene of the man-eating plants attacking people is just the icing on the cake as we get to see Harrison hack the papier-mache creations to a pulp!
Although beset by sloppy editing and many plot holes (if Robinson wasn't the traitor who told of the location of the pirate base, then who was?), AVENGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS tries so very hard to be entertaining that it does its job admirably. Boosted by colourful photography and a rousing score, the film offers a thrill-a-minute pace and a plot which just about goes the whole shebang from beginning to end, starting with a one man rebellion and ending with an entire fleet destroyed, as well as a pirate stronghold and half of a slave base! Fine old-fashioned fun for all the family.
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