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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ever likable B-movie star Miles O'Keeffe dons fur rimmed boots in this
the first of three films in which he plays the character of Ator
(although in the third movie it is actually debatable if it is the same
This is an interesting entry in the sword and sorcery genre in that it's screen violence is extremely mild in comparison to many of it's brethren. In fact it comes across in many ways as a sort of Conan for a younger audience. This is even more surprising considering that it was directed by the late, great Joe D'Amato, -an incredibly prolific director who is probably best remembered for filming both some of the most notorious 'video nasties' around and a very long list of porno films!
So what of the quality of the film itself?
Well, actually it's rather good in fact!
The numerous challenges that Ator faces as the film progresses, are each like miniature stories within themselves so the proceedings luckily never get dull. One particularly effective scene for instance, involves Ator and his sword swinging female companion being pursued by an undead army who are accompanied by an ever present and ominous fog (obviously inspired by John Carpenter's film) Another (this time rather amusing) scene has Ator actually battling his own shadow! But the very best bit is at the films climax when Ator battles a rather embarrassing looking giant spider which flails around in much the same manner as a fish out of water!
What can I say - the film is certainly no masterpiece, but it IS great fun!
Infamous Italian movie maker Joe D'amato (known for many porn films along with horror movies like "Trap Them and Kill Them" and "Buried Alive") tried his hand at a sword and sandal flick. At parts this movie could be mind numbingly boring and at others quite entertaining. That is to a certain extent of course. It wasn't too bad a movie, but not too good either. Look for delicious Laura "Emanuelle" Gemser in a supporting role as an evil Sorceress.
Miles O'keeffe as Ator, Joe D'amato behind the wheel...what can go wrong? Great sets, great fights, great story and epic as hell.
This rating is not a reflection on how "good" "Ator l'invincibile" is; admittedly, it's a cheap, cheesy 'n' clunky "Conan the Barbarian" Italian made imitation designed to cash in on the success of that film. The rating applies to the entertainment value, which is fairly substantial, unintended laughs and all. Beefy Miles O'Keeffe, then riding high after making an impression in "Tarzan, the Ape Man", plays the title character, a warrior who, it has been prophesied, will rise up and vanquish an evil ruler, the High Priest of the Spider, played by Dakar, whom you'll recognize from "Zombi 2" and "Dr. Butcher, M.D." The priests' henchmen have snatched Ator's luscious would be bride Sunya (Ritza Brown), whom he was led to believe is his sister (!). Fortunately, as he goes on a quest where he's never ever challenged to a great degree, he acquires an equally delectable travelling companion, Roon (Sabrina Siani), who's only interested in treasure seeking. From the predictably tacky special effects (we can clearly see the wires manipulating the legs of the giant spider at the end) to the skimpy costumes on the ladies to that hilariously ridiculous end credits song on the American print, "Ator l'invincibile" (or "Ator the Fighting Eagle" as it's known in the U.S.) is agreeable if not outstanding genre entertainment. It's obviously more for the kiddies than the older viewers; one can hardly fail to notice that it's really rather tame, which is especially surprising considering the other, very adult titles on director Joe D'Amato's resume. There's even a little shameless button pushing in giving Ator a constant animal companion in the form of an adorable bear cub. However, even though this is therefore not going to appeal to some people, it's still hard not to like, as it stumbles its way through its 93 minute running time. O'Keefe and Siani may not be the most expressive actors in the business, but when they look the way they do, it's hard to imagine too many people complaining. Adding to the fun are the appearances of other familiar faces from exploitation cinema: Edmund Purdom ("Pieces") as Griba, who gives Ator all important advice and training, and the ever stunning Laura Gemser as Indun, the temptress (annoyingly, this character is never properly paid off). They all make this easy enough to watch, even though this is also easy enough to forget. Followed by three sequels, with O'Keeffe returning for two of them. Six out of 10.
Conan the Barbarian you could say was at the top of the pile of these derivative sword and sorcery enterprises that were being churned out in the early 80s and the main influencer for these films. "Ator" was at the very bottom of the pile and was a quick cash-in on the former by notorious director Joe D'Amato. It's quite bad. More so in a banal and simple-minded way, this is unforgivable. What happens is second-rate and hasty in its execution and with little fun attached to it. A bemused Miles O'keeffe plays the title character and goes about things in a rather laborious manner (uneventful journey with plenty of strutting and flat sword choreography) although there are some amusingly terrible dialogue exchanges (the heart to heart talk about love with romantic interludes), a lousy twist and a battle scene with a slow moving gigantic spider but other than that not much to recommend. It's just risible more so than thrilling. Oh I did forget something the bear cub. I don't know what it had to do with anything, but its presence was a welcome inclusion.
"Break out the Kleenex!" I said to myself, ready to watch a Joe D'Amato
film starring Laura Gesmer and Sabrina Siani, and all set to pass out
from exhaustion around the fifteen minute mark, just like when I
watched D'Amato's 'Emmanuelle and the Last Cannibals'. Then I noticed
it was a PG film, but my disappointment was short lived as I discovered
that the guy prancing around looking like Ghengis Khan was actually
Edmund Purdom, mister Movie Gold himself. I almost needed those Kleenex
right there and then!
Purdom's never been in a bad film, be it 'Pieces', 'Don't Open Till Christmas' or '2019: After the Fall of New York', and here again he picks a winner, another Italian sword and sorcery film that's low on sense, but high on stupidity.
Miles O'Keefe (with a great hair-metal do) is Ator, son of some guy who tried to bring down the Spider King, brought up by step parents, with a bear for a sidekick and a sister he wants to marry. The high priest of the Spider or something, Dakkar (from Zombie Flesh Eaters), kidnaps Ator's sister and it's up to Ator and his mentor Ghengis Purdom to do...things!
Ator, his bear and newly acquired, violent sidekick Sabrina Siani, set off on many adventures to get Ator's sister back, be it meeting enchantress Laura Gesmer (with clothes!), or enduring the least eventful zombie attack in history, or robbing a whorehouse and killing the customers for no reason at all, or for stealing from blind people and killing them too, on and on and on until Ator faces off with the bad guys, one of which has had the stupidest plan I've ever heard in a long time and that's saying something.
Top it all of with a battle involving an extra from The Giant Spider Invasion and you've got yet another IQ dissolving serving of Italian madness. It doesn't top Fulci's Conquest (whereupon viewing Conquest does result in a feeling that Sabrina Siani has sucked all you brains from the top of your head), but Ator's daft enough to make the grade! Love that end credits tune too!
I have just watched this film and it is appalling. I am a fan of the science/fantasy genre and have seen some great some average and some very bad films of this type, but Ator has no redeeming qualities at all.Well OK Sabrina Siani and Ritza Brown are pleasant to look at ( especially ms Browns smile, but the plot, the acting, the direction are all dismal. Don't waste money getting this one! Alright I suppose the scenery is quite pretty, but the 'special (sic) effects are childish, the characters are wooden, the dialogue is banal, the gory bits are tame, there isn't even any sex/nudity to cause a diversion from the storyline.The tarantula is probably the best actor in the whole movie.Pass the remote!
That's all I can really say about this film, that it's better than it's sequel. Actually, this isn't all that awful, but it's not all that good, either. While the sequel was sickening and dull, this one manages to entertain us with it's amazing badness. The movie is pretty bad, but that's just it, it's not totally awful like some other Italian muscle-man epics. Many types of these films were released by Italian film makers in the early 80's, whether they were successful or not I don't know. To summarize: This movie is bad, but more watchable than other films of it's type.
An action-packed-fantasy-adventure that takes you beyond imagination. Reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Conan. Although this ain´t the same quality it´s very amusing to watch. Miles O´Keeffe does astounding things with his role as Ator and the work with little Keog must have been a difficult task. When you're watching this you really get that feeling of middle-age-fantasy. The story is within a well known concept but still strikes out with an original touch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just want to state for the record the the character portrayed by Sabrina Siani is not MOON, but ROON. I submit this as a potential "spoiler" because her name is not reveled until several minutes after her introduction. I think this is ridiculous that we have to write ten lines in order to submit a comment or modification to what has been written about the movie. If you want my opinion, it was not the best sword and sandal flick, but it was better than some of the Hercules movies that came out in the sixties. It has Miles O'Keefe in it who was a star in the eighties with his Tarzan the Apeman movie and Emmanuel of soft-core porn fame. So what does anyone have to complain about.
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