The Sword And The Sorcerer cast: Lee Horsley, Kathleen Beller, Richard Lynch, Richard Moll, and Simon MacCorkindale director: Albert Pyun 99 minutes (18) 1982 widescreen 1.85:1 Anchor Bay UK DVD Region 2 retail Also available to buy on video RATING: 7/10 reviewed by Christopher Geary

One of the better low-budget films in the 1980s swords ‘n’ sorcery cycle, this was the directing debut of Albert Pyun, the uncrowned king of direct-to-video fantasy action and sci-fi thrillers. It may not have the generally high production values or macho intensity of Conan The Barbarian, but The Sword And The Sorcerer is still a fairly inventive and vigorous genre romp. With some deliriously hokey goings-on, and a whole mess of gory effects, this avoids all the pretentiousness of Excalibur. There’s no mythic resonance here, just prime grisly fun.

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Ousted teen prince, now mature warrior and general, Talon (Horsley), returns to his homeland intending to take back the kingdom that was stolen from him in the film’s prologue. He rescues spirited heroine, Alana (Beller), but then has to fight powerful enemies Cromwell (Lynch) and demon sorcerer Xusia (Moll). The B-list of supporting players includes MacCorkindale (from the final Quatermass TV serial), George Maharis, Robert Tessier, Nina Van Pallandt (who appeared in several Robert Altman films), and Joe Regalbuto.
There’s a gruelling escape from crucifixion performed by heroic Talon, that’s rare even for this sort of by-his-bootstraps adventure, and the final grand battle between freed prisoners and castle guards during the villain’s wedding banquet is appealingly crazy – despite failing to be quite as exciting as it should have been.
DVD extras: nothing much. Just two Dolby sound options, two trailers and a TV spot.