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Tuareg: The Desert Warrior (1984)

Tuareg - Il guerriero del deserto (original title)
In a desolate section of the Sahara once ruled by the French, two thirsty men stumble into the camp of a Tuareg warrior where they're given water and shelter. Soldiers from the new Arab ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gacel Sayah
Luis Prendes ...
Abdul El Kabir
Ritza Brown ...
Gacel's Wife
Paolo Malco ...
Capt. Razman
...
Sgt. Malick
Ennio Girolami ...
(as Enio Girolami)
Antonio Sabato ...
The Captain
Giovanni Cianfriglia ...
Mubarak - the Bedouin Guide
Claudia Gravy ...
Mubarak's Wife (as Claudia Gravi)
Manuel Pereiro
Romano Puppo ...
Soldier
Emiliano Redondo ...
Prison Warden
Massimo Vanni ...
Corporal
José Yepes
Mario De Barros ...
Gacel's Tent Guest (as Mario Barros)
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Storyline

In a desolate section of the Sahara once ruled by the French, two thirsty men stumble into the camp of a Tuareg warrior where they're given water and shelter. Soldiers from the new Arab government now arrive by Jeep and demand the two men be turned over to them. The warrior refuses, citing the sacred laws of hospitality. The soldiers shoot dead one of the men and carry off the other -- a political foe of the new government. The warrior mounts his camel and rides off to rescue his kidnapped guest. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Action

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

12 March 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Desert Warrior  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Gacel Sayah: A stone is the toughest of all desert plants.
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Connections

References Lawrence of Arabia (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Action Smacktacular!
28 July 1999 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

This film seems oddly more topical now with the French battling Tuareg militias in the Mali desert, especially as the plot concerns an isolated tribe dealing with a modern army (obviously patterned after Libya or Algeria, but never named). Mark Harmon (who actually does quite well even if he doesn't look the part) is bizarrely cast as the lead Tuareg, who must defend his honor by rescuing a refugee who sought his tribe's help. It turns out that the refugee (Luis Prendes) however is a major revolutionary figure whose existence could destabilize the country.

I remember seeing this film on TV when I was a kid living in Italy. Not speaking Italian, I still had a good enough idea of what was going on to get swept up in the energy of the film and the scene where Harmon drinks blood from a camel's neck has stuck in my mind ever since. Now as an adult and a huge fan of Italian action, I see a lot to appreciate this film and unfortunately lot to shake my head at. It's a welcome change of pace for Italian B-movies to delve into something more original and creative than another blatant ripoff of a Hollywood blockbuster as was the fad at the time. However this film is full of questionable plot holes, bad acting, silly posturing, and marred by an overall cheapness which detracts from a lot of the magic set up by the entrancingly story which brims with potential.

Director Enzo G. Castellari does here some of what he does best, which is to stage a few standout violent action scenes featuring his trade mark slow motion, stunts, and bloodletting (bridging the gap from Sam Peckinpah to John Woo). I don't know if it helps or hurts the film's meaningful overtones and messages, which focus more on the mysticism of the desert and honor with a much slower pace. The action of the film is weighted toward the center, leaving the third act quite curiously ponderous and jumpy, focusing more on Harmon evading guards than what any of the other characters (like a sympathetic captain Paolo Malco who enjoys a lot of screen time in the second act) in the dark with no resolution.

Markedly better, more coherent and ambitious than any of Castellari's other early 80's action films, this film unfortunately was a major financial risk and failed to recoup from its expenses, leaving Castellari's career to enter an unfortunate steep decline immediately. Meanwhile his rival Antonio Margheriti continued making relatively good action movies in the Philippines for years. Don't get me wrong, this film has some great moments, but the location filming and knock-em-out action scenes probably were far too expensive for the cheapo Italian producers to handle. The most egregious effect comes early on where Harmon's son fends off a leopard by shooting it in the head. In place of a real leopard they opted to use a stuffed animal which barely looks like a leopard at all!

Watch for a cameo appearance by Castellari as a prison guard who gets his kicks out of beating prisoners with his fists, plus frequent Margheriti collaborator Paul Costello as a villainous politician. Another awesome scene has Harmon single-handedly wiping out an entire fortress full of bad guys.


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