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The second film in Ed Fury's "Ursus" trilogy, (though there's little in the way of story-line to connect the three movies), begins with an obligatory setting-the-scene prologue which establishes the infant Ursus as the true heir of a kingdom overrun and conquered by a villainous barbarian. Though faithful subjects manage to smuggle the infant Ursus out of the besieged city in a basket, the basket tumbles into the lair of a pride of lions and the lost heir soon becomes nothing more than the subject of wistful rumor and legend. Mercifully the movie quickly jumps forward to the adult Ursus, now grown into a strapping though naive young man who learned his language skills from men in passing caravans. Up to this point the second "Ursus" movie has shown little promise, primarily because the lions which raised our hero look and act like lethargic, second-rate sideshow attractions rather than wildly magnificent Kings of the Beasts. Then we have a routine sequence in which Ursus acquires a slave girl from a passing trader. However, once the evil usurper learns that the rightful occupant of his throne is alive in the land, various elements of the movie finally come together to create a lively and entertaining entry in the sword-and-sandal cycle. One element worth noting here are the two "beefcake-bondage" sequences which are among the best such sequences to be found in the whole gamut of this genre. In the first, a peplum-wearing Ursus -- played, of course, by Ed Fury -- stands as a captive in the usurper's court. A length of wood, (perhaps too thin for this purpose), has been bound to the backs of his outstretched arms. Chains around his wrists and ankles are held by nervous-looking soldiers. Other soldiers guard him with spears pointed menacingly toward him. The usurper taunts him but Ursus remains defiant. Later, having been taken to a torch-lit dungeon, the sweaty Ursus stands with outstretched arms chained to the stone walls. That wooden pole has been removed from his shoulders but a metal ring now encircles his neck and a chain attached to this ring leads up to the ceiling. Two long pieces of wood are fitted around his ankles, preventing him from kicking or changing position. Fury, about 32 or 33 years old at this time, is only ever-so-slightly past his prime -- his waist looks a bit thick -- but he's still a compelling hunk of manhood and his bondage poses are of iconic quality. What's more, his nipples are dark and sharply-defined against his skin. Unfortunately, there's no actual torture here, unlike the other two Ursus movies in which a series of whiplashes play a symphony of pain on Ed Fury's bare back as he's forced to turn grindstones. (As other reviewers have pointed out, the print under discussion here has lamentably faded into muddy-looking sepia tones.)
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