Among the many remakes of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo – Willis’ prohibition-era Last Man Standing and the classic Western A Fistful of Dollars – this 1985 aberration has to be one of the worst.
A cheap straight-to-VHS exploitation flick, this straight lift of the Yojimbo/Dollars‘ script sees a grumpy David Caradine cast as the Dark Warrior, complete with leather gauntlet and a striped poncho, who walks into a generic fantasy-world town controlled by warring gangsters.
Rubber monsters and four-breasted belly dancers aside, the main attraction for 80’s teenage boys was the presence of Maria (“Chilly in here, isn’t it”) Socas as the soceress Naja, parading around in little more than a g-string for the whole movie.
It’s not that the cast can’t act – principal villains Luke Askew and Harry Townes give it their best pantomime performance – but it’s a movie so cheap and uninspired, directed so poorly by John C. Broderick (who?) that in tone and style it fails even to make either the So-bad-it’s-Good, or So-bad-it’s laughable categories. Even Eastwood’s Man with No Name had his laconic sense of humour. This had a humourectomy somewhere on page two.
Caradine, post Kung-fu and pre-Kill Bill, scowls his way through a sorry procession of dull scenes with the face of a man with gastric ulcers. Never an actor of huge range, his odd plasticine face serves the material especially badly, as if they only paid him enough to turn up in body, whilst leaving his charisma at home.
WatS includes some of the worst “action” and least realistic sword fight sequences ever seen, apparently choreographed by a blind man who’s never picked up a weapon in his life (self-proclaimed ‘sword master’ Anthony DeLongis is especially hammy).
And if you don’t believe me, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube, as several ‘fans’ put it up and no one has bothered to take it down.
The Warrior and the Sorceress (1985)
Director: John C. Broderick
Screenplay: John C. Broderick (from Akira Kurosawa)
Running Time: 83mins
Cast: David Carradine, Luke Askew, Maria Socas, Anthony DeLongis, Harry Townes
Related: Rise of the Shadow Warrior