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John Drew Barrymore,
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The ten gladiators are hired to travel to Arbela, a small country on the outskirts of the Roman Empire to learn if Parthia is planning to war with Rome. Upon arriving, the heroes decide to kidnap the beautiful Parthian queen and spirit her to Syria to serve as a hostage. Written by
The third film of the TEN GLADIATORS trilogy. It's flawed but it's great fun!
The TEN GLADIATORS movies are a rare breed of film: usually, the third film in a trilogy is always ends up being the worst. Think about all the trilogies made and the last one is always sucks so bad. Not with the TEN GLADIATORS trilogy.
The first film, THE TEN GLADIATORS, is the weakest of the bunch. Aside from the usual fun cast and being a comedy/action Peplum, the film has almost no memorable moment in it.
Then there's the first sequel, SPARTACUS AND THE TEN GLADIATORS, which is a vast improvement. The action is almost nonstop and the comedy works. It's a rousing Sword & Sandal that truly delivers.
The third film of the series, TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS, though not as good as SPARTACUS AND THE TEN GLADIATORS, is still filled with many memorable scenes: from the unforgettable opening sequence to the very last scene when the gladiators are walking together, TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS is an low budget orgy of action, comedy and fun.
I had a lot of fun watching TRIUMPH. The beefy cast in TRIUMPH clicks (even more than the preceding films). Everyone seems to have fun. Dan Vadis excels here: For a big brawny guy, Vadis is remarkably agile during the action scenes. He's not much of an actor but he does have star quality. And unlike the previous two films, the other gladiators have more screen time. We really get to know them better. The exotic Helga Liné is also back (the supporting cast is basically the same as in SPARTACUS AND THE TEN GLADIATORS but they play different roles). I've become a big fan of Helga thanks to these films. There are several stand-out set pieces, many of which are the nonstop action sequences, one of the best is when the gladiators brawl with 4 dozen soldiers at the inn. Then there's the moment when the ten gladiators throw spears at Helga Liné in defiance. The gladiators dressing up as women (not very convincing). And then there's the climax. The soundtrack is also very good. I can't get the Ten Gladiators theme out of my mind.
The film is far from perfect. At first glance, TRIUMPH appears to be better than SPARTACUS AND THE TEN GLADIATORS but it's not actually. Just slightly less better because of one main reason: the convoluted story needed of a lot scenes that exceeded the film's low budget and the producers used a lot of footage from other sword & sandal films for those moments. The excessive use of footage from other films (COLOSSUS OF RHODES, for example) really hampers TRIUMPH. At least a good 15% of the film is stock footage! There are simply too many moments when we don't see any familiar faces. This makes TRIUMPH look more sloppy than it should have been. If the story in SPARTACUS & THE TEN GLADIATORS seemed weak at first, in contrast to TRIUMPH, it's suddenly lean and mean and effective. And the acting is definitely uneven. As imperfect as TRIUMPH is, it's still loads of fun and it's well worth watching, much more than the first TEN GLADIATORS movie.
So how come the first TEN GLADIATORS film sucked so much but the sequels rocked? Because Nick Nostro directed the sequels. Though I haven't seen all of his films, the two TEN GLADIATORS sequels he directed are proof enough for me to know that Nostro had a true talent for action.
I really hope these TEN GLADIATORS films will be released on DVD with proper widescreen transfer.
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