Monday, 17 January 2011
Sword of the Valiant
SWORD OF THE VALIANT (1984)
Directed by: Stephen Weeks
Screenplay: Stephen Weeks, Howard C. Pen, Philip M. Bean
Starring: Miles O'keeffe, Cyrielle Clair, Leigh Lawson, Trevor Howard & Sean Connery
Every wanted to see Sean Connery as Treebeard? Well, here's your chance with this clunky but somewhat enjoyable sword and sorcery flick from the Cannon stable. Connery has what amounts to an extended cameo as The Green Knight and since this is from the early 80s and was made on a Cannon budget, he looks like a cheapo version of Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. Complete with glitter and berries in his hair! Seriously, he must have been getting paid a truckload of money for this but does seem to be having a lot of fun as the fabled Green Knight who sets Sir Gaiwain on a quest to find himself as a knight, solve a riddle and battle all kinds of magical and non-magical foes.
Good old Miles O'Keeffe (Ator, Double Target) does his best and makes for a likable hero, despite being lumbered with the most ridiculous hair-do and all kinds of shonky sets and sub-par fight scenes. Most of the budget probably went to paying Sean Connery meaning proceedings have a distinctively shoddy feel about them. But hey, this never stopped Cannon from cramming in all kinds of low-tech special effects, wobbly fights and ample amounts of silliness into their films: which Sword of the Valiant has plenty of. The fight scenes are particularly ropey, especially an encounter with The Black Knight which sees the dueling knights often having trouble swinging a sword, standing up straight and even walking. There's all kinds of cheesy effects including invisibility rings, disappearing unicorns and Connery's not so convincing severed head which he reattaches to his body complete with trademark smirk and Scottish drawl.
But this all adds to the cheesy fun of Sword of the Valiant. The makers may have intended it to be taken more seriously (or maybe not) but the flick is fun in a kind of 80s low budget fantasy kind of way. Plus there are heaps of cameos from the likes of Peter Cushing, John Rhys-Davies and Ronald Lacey and you get to see Sean Connery dressed as a tree. Awesome! To be fair the makers seem to have had somewhat of a sense of humour with gags including a scene where Gaiwain not used to wearing armour has to pee but can't figure out how to. He is then presented with a key by his loyal squire (Leigh Lawson) for unlocking a certain area of the armour, which they both have a good chuckle about, and then continue the scene while Gaiwan urinates. Priceless.
While it hasn't dated well, provides many unintentional chuckles and wont ever knock off the likes of Willow, Sword and the Sorcerer and even Krull from their fantasy pedestals, Sword of the Valiant is still undemanding fun with enough charm to see it through, especially if you are a fan of these types of flicks. Plus, it has Sean Connery dressed as a tree in it!