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While Hammer Studios produced some fairly able historical adventures in the early 1960s - titles such as the serviceable FURY AT SMUGGLER'S BAY and THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES - they also made their fair share of stinkers, of which THE BRIGAND OF KANDAHAR is probably the worst. This is an entirely stodgy costume adventure, made on a low budget and with a script which feels like it was rushed out in a hurry.
The story is cheap and carries some distinctly colonial racial overtones, not least in the presence of anti-hero Ronald Lewis, blacked-up as a half-caste for his role. Lewis must be the singular most obnoxious heroic character in a Hammer film, a guy who I actually despised throughout much of the running time; were we really supposed to feel sorry for him after he swapped allegiances like that?
Elsewhere, it's sub-ZULU antics throughout, enlivened by a handful of larger-scale battle sequences which employ some dodgy back projection which saps them of realism. Once again Hammer has an eye for a distinguished supporting cast, but most of them are wasted here; the only ones who come out of it well are Duncan Lamont and Katherine Woodville. Oliver Reed is cast as the bad guy but I feel he would have made a much more compelling protagonist. In any case, this is as dull as dishwater and one of Hammer's weakest efforts.
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